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Understanding the Key To Authentic Happiness

Do you think you know real and lasting happiness? If so, where does it come from?
Most people have a socially and culturally accepted concept of joy and happiness and the conditions that enable it. The question then is; why do people chase after it so much? Understanding the key to authentic happiness takes some perspective. There are of course two sides of the coin;
Desired circumstances
Self Efficacy
Most people think in terms of external happiness. They tell themselves they'll be happy only when they have material items like a home and a car. They'll realize happiness when they achieve financial abundance. And only when they experience events and wanted situations will they be happy. Ask yourself which perspective you've been living in. Realize that the second list, the internal happiness, is the one that will provide you the state of mind, emotion, resonance, and tools that will give you happiness no matter what is happening in your outer world.
An interesting fact about happiness
A review of various studies and literature on happiness was conducted by researchers, Kennon Sheldon, David Schkade and Sonja Lyubomirsky. They confirmed that while 50 percent of happiness comes from genetics, they also saw something interesting about the other 50 percent. Only 10 percent of that is determined by outer life circumstances like; our level of wealth, careers, marital status. However, the other 40 percent is derived from feelings, actions, words and habitual thoughts.
This tells you that you have the ability to raise or lower your happiness set-point. Meaning, even if you tell yourself you're not a naturally happy person, or your current life's circumstances don't provide any reason to be, you still have the capability to shift into a general happiness set-point.
Let me make a major distinction. Things are in reverse from the paradigm we've socially accepted. True happiness is something that you must bring to your outer experiences from the inside. Do not try to gain or extract happiness out of your outer experiences. That will make you chase it all your life. Being truly happy or eliciting the actual neurophysiological state of well-being is not dependent on external situations.
Qualities of Innate Happiness
Here are some ingredients of authentic happiness;
• Sense of flow or openness
• Having a passion or life purpose
• Fully present in the moment
• High energy or vitality
• Love for yourself and others
• Feeling a lightness and expansive sensation
• Being at peace with yourself
• The best for last: Gratitude for the things and people you do have.
Return to your natural state
I'm fascinated with how the mind and brain work. Having some basis and informal education in the matter gives me an understanding how we use the universe's most powerful computer. It turns out that shifting into that mental and emotional state is not just some feel-good idea. It's characterized as a distinct activity in the brain.
Science shows that an inner happy state results in greater activity in the left prefrontal cortex. This also triggers more neurotransmitters associated with well-being such as: serotonin, endorphins and dopamine. Those neural-chemicals are then released and flow throughout the body, and that produces the feeling you want to resonate.
The habitual behaviors and beliefs you've lived with till now created particular neural paths in the brain. It is how you've wired your neuro-net. The longer you fired those habitual, synaptic connections over the years the more they formed an identity. Now you have an opportunity, and a huge reason, IE: to be happy, to break those neural connections.
You can dismantle that wired neuro-net and rebuild new cell connections. You do this by practicing new habits of beliefs and thoughts. With the brain's ability of neuroplasticity, when you act, feel and think differently, it can re-wire itself. Researchers in the field of neuroscience have said that due to this phenomenon, happiness and compassion can be thought of as skills no different than learning to play an instrument or sports. That tells you that it is possible and within your natural ability to train your brain to be happy.
"... and the Pursuit of Happiness"
Let's go back to the real meaning Thomas Jefferson meant by "Pursuit of Happiness". Back in 1776 the word "pursue" didn't mean chasing after something. To "pursue" anything was to practice or make a habit of it. This is another crucial distinction. Your intent is to stop chasing happiness and start practicing and living it. You do this by practicing new habits and a new way of being every day.
Remember, authentic happiness is not a futile exercise in prying it out of your external circumstances. It is not an ideal that you must chase after or feel only when you reach desired goals or material commodities. It is a habit of new intentions to be happy right now. It is a practice of new beliefs and actions. You cultivate it from within with a renewed sense of inner peace, well-being and confidence that the universe is always supporting you no matter what your outer situations are.
Greg is author of Yes, It's All About You! Seeing First Yourself, Then the World You Create, and expert in Universal Laws. He's also studied the basics of quantum science and has knowledge in the Mind, "Observation" and the inner world that creates "reality".
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