A good article from Facebook yesterday about training your brain to be "happy." Instead of "happy" I think of the word peaceful. Or positive. Anything but super painful or anxious over not being able to move without difficulty. The article interviewed "The World's Happiest Man," French Monk Mathieu Ricard whose brain was examined to learn about the physical effects of meditation. I have a hard time meditating -- sleeping, resting, artmaking: no problem. Trying to sit with a blank mind: forget it. This article was good because of the language it used. Instead of using pure meditation lingo, it suggested that thinking happy was a skill that could be exercised, like a muscle. Instead of meditating proper, Ricard suggested starting with thinking happy thoughts for fifteen continuous minutes at a time and working towards more. This makes sense. The synapses that wire together fire together, so repetition would make the "feel good" connections stronger physically and promote a positive mental outlook.
When I think of the numerous students that I have that have anxiety and depression, I wonder if this is something that can be taught. So many kids are struggling. At first you think that just thinking positively can't possibly have an effect on how things in our lives evolve, but the truth is in the pudding. Ask Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and many, many others -- positivity in the face of challenge works wonders. As does art. I plan on taking my stiff, sore bod to school today to engage kids in happiness. Hoping for more than fifteen minutes, and plan on practicing all day long. Cheers!