If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”—John Lennon
Lately I have been asking the question, “How truly happy am I? And what makes me happy and why?” We all grow up wanting to be happy right? Haven’t your parents said to you, “I just want you to be happy.” From an early age society on the whole teaches us that happiness is something we achieve, that we go after. Well, what if it’s our birthright —if it’s our true natural state of being, and, in fact, it is our own habitual behavior and ways of thinking that interfere with what our True Bliss is?
When we are happy the body responds. Happiness is function of constant information moving through the cortical and subcortical— conscious and subconscious brain systems. So can we control happiness neurologically, psychologically and physiologically? The fact that there are subconscious “happy” neuro-pathways fascinates me. This fascination comes out of recently learning about Vedic meditation* a month and a half ago. The benefits of this meditation are vast, but the main one I want to convey is the role meditation plays in stress relief. Meditating regularly allows the body to slough off immense amounts of stress chemistry that builds up in our brains and psychosomatic responses. It helps us interact and cope with the constant swinging pendulum of life, rather than react and manage when the going gets tough. Literally we can realign and reprogram our internal neurological pathways through a consistent meditation practice.
So what’s the point of all this meditation talk? Well, as we become less stressed and in touch with our true blissful nature by consistently meditating—we connect to a deeper, more authentic state of inner contentment and interconnectedness. This kind of happy place is not because the guy you like texted you back or because you got a raise, it’s because your body is in a deep state of rest, and in this place everything becomes lighter, more charming and happy! Why, you ask? Meditation calms the mind and gives the brain a chance to do what it knows how to do to get us back to our true bliss state. It subconsciously begins to release all of the negative stressful neurotransmitters and triggers the hypothalamus (the portion of the brain that is a crucial anatomical part in determining the emotional state) to secrete the necessary hormones that create that happy feeling.
Therefore, happiness can be created. It is both subconscious and conscious, which leads me back to my original question: “What makes you happy?” Researchers have measured happiness using these 3 components: pleasure, meaning and participation in life:
“Follow your Bliss and the Universe will open doors where there were only walls.” –Joseph Campbell.
*For more information on how to learn this type of meditation and it’s amazing benefits please visit http://thevedacenter.com or my teacher’s personal website, http://thomknoles.com.
Alexis Carra is an actress, dancer, choreographer, producer and writer in Los Angeles. She is member of The New Hollywood Group*, a women’s goal group dedicated to helping women achieve their goals, creating a community who support each other and are committed to enriching and donating to the world at large. For more information on Alexis please visit http://alexiscarra.com and “like” her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alexis-Carra-Actor-Director- Choreographer-Teacher/207134109320441.
**Please note that not all experiences, beliefs and ideas are shared by each member of the “The New Hollywood.” We are a group of shepherds, not sheep.