Good morning great maternity leavers! So in the spirit of growth, learning and always working at things, I am signed up for a course on happiness! I am taking Happiness Basics, a course designed by the Red Deer Primary Care Network and being piloted on the University of Campus. We had our first 90 minute class yesterday. I’ve had a rough time lately with feeling really down, like in a total funk for 2 months down. So I’m working hard at addressing this with all of the tools in my toolkit. It’s safe to say this is a priority right now.
We’re all experts on what makes people happy, right? (we could all list the major things.)
I know I can! But I was curious about actually signing up, sitting in a class, and engaging with others in discussion and activities. How would this be different from just consulting one of my gazillion books on happiness?
We live in a society that loves to learn. However, there is more to learning than just intellectual (logical) intake of information. To truly master something there are few more steps:
We must practice it and take it out of the mind, into our body space and emotional space.
It is then, that we become whatever we are studying.
In the classroom, I am learning about happiness by reading, writing and discussing.
But what does it mean to become happy?
What would it look like for happiness to move from my intellect (brain) into my body and emotions, so that I truly embody it?
It would mean that my self talk becomes more positive, my mood space feels lighter. It would mean that my posture and body move upward, and outward, and I walk with my old poise and confidence. I am not as fatigued. I feel in control of my thoughts. It means walking with lightness and a smile, but also being grounded in my steps; not rushed.
What does happiness feel like in your body? Ask yourself that right now.
I wonder, how do we help a bunch of concepts and thoughts in our brain literally float down from the brain, into our neural networks, and get distributed into our muscles and body. How does a reading on happiness, turn into a thought. How does a thought travel into our body and shift our posture, or our chronic pain, or our moodspace?
And this is precisely why this happiness course has lots of homework.
You cannot become something if you do not practice it.
How do you practice happiness?
We sat down and described an example in our lives where we have experienced each of these ten emotions. Just sitting down and taking the time to remember those moments, reconnect with the emotions in those moments, was in itself the most amazing mood boosting exercise.
For example, the emotion of amusement: I couldn’t help but laugh remembering back to the time I saw a person at a bus stop getting attacked by a tiny, very angry little bird. It took me right back to that emotion. The writing exercise let me go back there and feel it.
After stepping back into memories ten times and letting myself feel those ten emotions again, I can tell you I was in a much, much better state than when I first walked into the classroom.
At the end of the exercise we were assigned to intentionally engage in one of the ten emotions that week. Once a day. So I chose Amusement. My strategy is going to be to watch one hilarious video a day that makes me laugh.
This is the importance of homework.
When you sit in a class or read a book and experience a positive emotion once – for sure, you feel better. But the brain will enjoy it momentarily – and get back to daily life and routines. What if you make the brain experience it every.single.day.?
It will have to start sitting up and paying attention, building neural networks and start firing more of the feel good chemical messengers to facilitate those thoughts.
I’m excited to engage in such a feel-good form of homework and it will be interesting to watch how happiness is embodied this week, through practice. I plan to help facilitate this process by reading a bit more about the brain and laughter, to deepen my knowledge and immersion – as well as and boost my motivation.
In the spirit of amusement, I would LOVE if you share with me your favourite youtube video, clip, cartoon, whatever that you think is hilarious. I know you have a good stash out there 😉