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And you will be happy: How to manage your own joy

PLEASURE – THE FEELING THAT MAY brighten even the most overcast day. Its important advantage is that a person can rejoice in very simple things: good weather, a new episode of his favorite TV series and a call from a loved one.    

Joy as a situational unit and happiness as a conditionally constant help us to hold on even in the gloomiest times, such as 2020 was for many . On this occasion we tried to figure out how to push the magic button to start the program of joy for the week before the New Year, and you need whether it is to do it.         

How happiness works inside the body

Any emotion is a cascade of processes in our body. It is known that pupils dilate when we look at what we truly love. Also, pleasure can be associated with salivation, sweating, fever, and even metabolism. And our appetite, when we are happy, can increase, or vice versa. This is all due to the smooth muscles that are found in the walls of hollow internal organs such as the stomach, intestines, and bladder.            

But the main thing here, of course, hormones – the four major neurochemical elements, which in the main responsible for the feelings and emotions. Endorphins are opioid neuropeptides that are produced by the central nervous system to help us cope with physical pain. That is why one of the non-painful (well, almost) ways to induce a surge of endorphins is sports.             

Serotonin – the most famous of “happiness hormone”, with which to antidepressants work primarily. It is a neurotransmitter that can be produced under the influence of things that are familiar to us. For example, bright (especially sunlight, but it and all) light.        

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter also known as the ” reward hormone “. This is because it begins to be developed when we realize that we have done a good job. Have passed the annual report, scored a goal or did something else obviously victorious.   

And then there is oxytocin – the “attachment hormone”, which is very actively produced in women during pregnancy and lactation . It is associated with intimacy and touch, so its production can be enhanced through hugs.         

Genetics versus circumstance

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalogram (EEG) indicated on the fact that the region responsible for the happiness lies in us somewhere in the left prefrontal cortex. Scientists suggest that some people are genetically predisposed to be happy due to its greater innate activity. This was confirmed by an experiment with young children : some were inclined to cry as soon as their mother left, others experienced the situation more firmly. With the help of testing, it was found that those who did not cry, could boast more prefrontal activity.           

Scientists say that while 50% of our happiness is determined by genetics and 10% by life circumstances, 40% is left to our daily activities. And although this idea is now and then criticized , no one denies that we are responsible for some (and quite significant) part of our own happiness . And this, you see, is inspiring news.              

So whether it is important to be happy 

Science still does not know exactly how mental states affect the body, but they do it, apparently, well. In a series of studies begun in 1998 , psychologist Robert Emmons found evidence that happy people are better at taking care of their health.         

In the experiment, he randomly divided 1,000 adults on three groups: the first led mood diary, estimating it at a scale of 1 to 6, the second one listed in the diaries of things that disturbed and troubled, and the third focuses on the fact of it was grateful passed day. In the latter group, according to the results of the experiment, not only did the level of happiness increase, as scientists expected. They also started exercising longer, getting more checkups, and taking more care of their overall health .                     

In another study, the researchers came to the conclusion that people with a higher level of happiness on psychological tests worked out to 50% more antibodies than with the average response to the influenza vaccine. And yet , it was found that the happiness or related to him the state reduce the risk or reduce the symptoms of heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, as well as colds and upper respiratory tract infections.            

On the other hand, scientists know for sure that emotions that we used to think of as negative can be beneficial in moderate doses. For example, some researchers think negative life events help us better deal with stress. But yet especially good these emotions in cases when they are combined with the emotions that we are accustomed to thinking positive.            

The remark “accustomed to counting” appeared here for a reason. Because all our emotions are necessary and important, so dividing them into black and white, experts say, is wrong. “It is customary for us to divide emotions into positive and negative, bad and good. If you are happy , it’s great, but if you are sad , it’s not very good and you must be bothered. But the truth is that any emotion is good, ”says Marina Fokina, a psychologist and associate member of the Federation of Consulting Psychologists of Russia.                   

The power of a fake smile and happiness for money  

Smiling is the most obvious act of expressing joy and happiness in the moment. It reduces the body’s response to stress by lowering heart rate, and it may also be associated with lower blood pressure and longevity, according to research .          

What about a forced smile? Perhaps it works too. A study by a group of scientists from Cardiff University in Wales found that people who could not frown due to Botox injections were slightly happier than those who did not receive “beauty shots.”      

As for the statement that happiness cannot be bought, then everything is not so simple with it either . While there is evidence that American Forbes are slightly happier than the average American, daily purchases can make a difference, too.     

For the study , published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science , scientists at the University of British Columbia gave 67 participants $ 20 each to spend on something tangible or empirical of their choice. So it was possible to find out that people enjoyed material acquisitions more often, but the happiness they experienced from the impressions was slightly more intense.             

The results correlate with other work on the topic, where it was found that many small purchases make people happier than one big one.   

Why do we tend to be sad before the New Year

To be sad on the holidays is not that normal (although it is normal, of course, too), but, let’s say, typical. On New Years Eve, people around the world are confronted with a variant of seasonal affective disorder, informally referred to as the ” holiday blues .” It is usually associated with unrealistic expectations, exorbitant spending and not the most pleasant memories. Although for each person, a trigger, of course, can be something of his own.          

“The New Year period is a dual period. On the one hand, this is the waiting time for a holiday, joy, gifts, maybe some miracles and a little vacation. On the other hand, just like before vacation, we begin to feel tired and exhausted, ”says Irina Krashkina , a psychotherapist at the JSC“ Medicine Clinic of Academician Roitberg ”, Candidate of Medical Sciences.        

“The melancholy that people tend to fall into before the New Year may be due to the fact that we subconsciously perceive such large public holidays as frontiers. By this time, someone makes a promise to themselves to lose weight, someone – to get a new job, and someone – to learn English. In each their priorities and planning segments, but the final point total. Summing up , many see that either not everything has been achieved, or nothing has been achieved, or it has not been achieved the way we would like it to be, ”says psychologist Marina Fokina.                 

Experts say that it does not improve the situation and that for many of us December becomes a hot time at work, when everything is done quickly and at the last moment. And specifically this year, the pandemic also leaves its mark on everything .          

Do need to force myself to rejoice and have fun  

Scientists say that we can feel better and happier if we do what we really enjoy. Simple activities like watching a good movie, taking a bath with fragrant oil, or meeting friends over a cup of coffee can work. Another question is whether this is necessary at all.      

“When we see that someone nearby is rejoicing and having fun, but we cannot do that, it is important to remember a simple rule: it is always unproductive. You can only compare yourself with yourself a month or a year ago. And when comparing yourself with others, you will only be able to fantasize how the external reflects the internal state of a person. Because no one really knows how many anxieties and worries there are inside the one who is now behaving so carelessly next to us, ”explains psychotherapist Irina Krashkina .             

According to the expert, if you really want to pull yourself out of the state of sadness, because you are uncomfortable in it, you should turn to the structuring of time. Or, more simply, in the evening of every day, think over a plan for tomorrow.     

“By the way, there must be something about the physics of the body in it. Because if we feel good physically, it brings psychological comfort. A cultural program will not hurt either . This can be learning languages ​​from short videos, reading, and even serials that make you think. Finally, create comfort around you. Tidying up your desk is known to help keep your head in order . In this case, we are not only talking about this, but also about the fact that now, when we all spend more time at home, it is important that we feel warm and good in this house , ”explains Irina Krashkina .                   

If the fun with all do not want it, and run nothing need. “Because if you really want to be sad, you have every right to do so. This is your emotion and your state that you have a need to experience. Not to mention the fact that any emotion requires strength, and if right now you are not ready to rejoice, it may be physically difficult for you , ”advises consultant psychologist Marina Fokina.                  

The main thing is to listen to yourself. In the end, this is not a sacred date, and not the last New Year’s Eve in your life. This means that it is quite possible to conduct it the way you personally think is right. And yes, even curled up in a ball under the Christmas tree in the company of Olivier. 

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