Psychology of Happiness

The mind’s influence over mental and physical well being is a fascinating and powerful subject. If we could control our thoughts, we could become happier and healthier without any external change.Gary van Warmerdam has written an extensive article on how the mind affects happiness that explains the relationship between the physical world and the internal world of thoughts and emotions:

As humans we live in two worlds. There is the external physical world of work, family and friends that we travel in. Then there is the world of our mind and imagination. It is a virtual reality that can appear and feel just as real. When it comes to your emotions the virtual world of your mind can be more real.

He goes on to explain how internal goals and accomplishments make us happier than material success, and proposes some ways you can become happier by detaching from the external world.In a similar vein, the SharpBrains blog posted some ways to train your brain for happiness by controlling what you pay attention to:

Every second, you choose what to pay attention to. You can focus on the negative and thereby train your brain to focus on the negative. You can choose to watch TV five hours in a row, thereby training your brain to become a passive spectator of events. Or you can do the opposite. Attention works outwards and inwards: you can pay attention to your own meaningful emotions or try to ignore them. Many times we are not aware of the choices we are really making and their implications, which is why practices like mindfulness meditation can help.

Ask the Readers

Both articles make powerful suggestions for becoming happier, but how much can we really control? Is it possible to think yourself happy? If so, how did you do it?