When most of us consider what it is to be happy it’s pretty certain we’ll be calling to mind experiences of positive emotion. Happiness simply feels good and we humans have been programmed to like feeling good for very good evolutionary purposes, but more on that later.
If you read the piece from Ed Diener in module one you will know that a substantial body of research has demonstrated that to be creating a truly rounded happy life, alongside the important factors of meaning and purpose, the other vital component is to be experiencing substantial levels of positive emotion. These are important not simply in order to feel good, but they also contribute to multiple domains of wellbeing.
as we’ll hear in the following clips with Professor Barbara Fredrickson from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, they bring a wide range of benefits well beyond that simple hedonic ‘feel-good’ factor.
And in the next clip Prof. Fredrickson discusses the second benefit of developing positive emotions.
So now we’ve heard a fair bit about the benefits, and you will also be introduced to the Loving-Kindness Practice in this week’s practice meditations
If you’d like to take her online Positivity Self Test then please go here:
You can find her lab here: www.positiveemotions.org
Now I’d like to introduce the neuroscientist Dr Rick Hanson. Outside of his clinical work Rick is one of the psychologists keen to marry the ancient mindfulness practices into modern psychological practice and in his 2013 bestseller Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, he manages a pretty good job of doing so.
Rick discusses at length our factory loaded predisposition to attenuate to negative emotion and goes on to offer some powerful practices to help cultivate and savor the positive ones in ways that begin to build and consolidate the neural real estate of positivity and positive emotion. This is what he means by Hardwiring Happiness. Rick has been a mindfulness practitioner and teacher of many decades and understand all to well the brains ability to grow and change for the better when we systematically cultivate these qualities within the framework of these extraordinary practices.
Well let’s hear Rick in his own words.