Happiness and the Human Spirit

People often ask me what is the connection between happiness and the human spirit. The state of happiness is something that comes from within the individual; it is not the result of circumstances happening outside the individual. As John Milton wrote in his classic poem Paradise Lost, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..” Modern science is learning so much about the human mind and emotions, yet there remains much to be discovered. Happiness and the human spirit is spiritual in its very nature.

The state of happiness is something that comes from within the individual; it is not the result of circumstances happening outside the individual. Happiness is a mindset. Mindsets are under our control.

Happiness and the Human Spirit: Emotions and the Spiritual Realm

Emotions are in the spiritual realm as are thoughts. Thoughts include beliefs and values as well as more specific ideas and processes. All of those things are immaterial. Emotions do manifest themselves in material ways as do thoughts, but they themselves are in the realm of the immaterial.

Happiness then is ultimately spiritual in nature. It becomes material when we experience it. Happiness is associated with four main happiness chemicals, which are serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. The chemical output can be controlled by our thinking. Our thinking is in the realm of the human spirit therefor happiness and the human spirit are connected by how we think.

Chemical production in the body is influenced by a host of factors including the triad of nutrition, exercise, and thinking. As I have stated in numerous articles on this website and other websites your thinking patterns, your mindset, is crucial for experiencing all the positive emotions such as love, ecstasy, and happiness. If you are not acting on feeding your body well and exercising, it undoubtedly is directly connected to your mindset. Thinking, then, can be what connects happiness and the human spirit.

Feed our spirit with happy thoughts and we will produce more of the happy chemicals. Happiness and the human spirit can be greatly influenced by anchors. Anchors are simply conditioned responses. Two powerful anchors we have available to us are music and aromas. Music may be the most readily available to us in this modern world and can be a powerful mood altering tool. Music too is in the realm of the spiritual. Yes, it obviously has the material component, but the idea behind a song is definitely spiritual. The power behind music is the spiritual component – connecting of the physical to emotional and the emotional to physical.

Happiness and the Human Spirit, Powered by Music

There is music for all situations. Powerful, heartfelt, melancholy songs can help artists express and let go of deeply held negative emotions and listening to them helps us empathize and feel the same emotions. It can be part of the grieving process.

There is a warning.

Constant listening to a genre that is by its nature melancholy, or violent, or angry can anchor and produce those emotions in the listener. Someone who is depressed may gravitate towards depressing, somber songs which reinforces the emotion. Listening to uplifting, motivating, happy songs will be more likely to uplift, motivate, and produce happiness. Happy songs can create happiness and the human spirit can be uplifted instead of depressed.

A tradition in funerals with jazz music was to march to the burial site with the coffin while a jazz band played somber music. Somber songs such as “Nearer My God to Thee,’ or “A Closer Walk with Thee,” would be played on the way to the funeral. After the funeral, more upbeat music to celebrate the deceased’s becoming glorified and in heaven would be played to uplift the mood of the attendees. Songs such as “When the Saints Go Marching In,” or “Didn’t He Ramble would have been songs played after the funeral. The music fit the purpose. Somber songs to produce a somber state and upbeat music to produce an upbeat or celebratory state.

Most people who have been exposed to a variety of music have undoubtedly favorite songs that pick them up or motivate them and songs that put them in a somber mood. We may even have songs that make us angry or fuel our anger. Sometimes the songs we associate with positively have little to do with the lyrics but are simply associated with special moments in our lives. Movie soundtracks can have an especially powerful influence as they also connect visual imagery. The Rocky theme songs have long been popular motivational workout soundtracks. Creating a go to music play list to uplift, motivate, and make you happy can be very valuable use of your time.

Music can profoundly influence your emotions and deeply connect happiness and the human spirit.

Happiness and the Human Spirit, the Power of Aromas

Like music smells can do the same thing. Smells may be more physiologically powerful but not as readily available. The smell of a morning dew, pine forests, the ocean, baking bread, frying bacon, brewing coffee are all indelible engrained in my being. They are happy smells.

Aroma therapy can have a powerful impact on mind and body. Different scents have not only emotional impact but physiological impact as well. Any smell you associate to happiness can be useful to use to help you change moods. Maybe the smells of the morning coffee are one of the reasons people gravitate toward the morning cup. It could well be the smells are associated with the mood they believe they need to start the day. Smells that connect happiness and the human spirit should be used regularly.

Happiness, Mental Health, and Online Training

One final note on happiness and the human spirit and happiness and mindset. They are connected. For all of you who have been a frequent visitor to this website know that while we are concerned about everyone developing the mindset of champion we are especially interested in the training of teens and college age students.

Our training programs are designed to do that. A study confirms that web-based positive psychology programs can be effective at improving the mental health of teenagers. The concluding sentence of the article states, “These findings are encouraging and suggest that the online delivery of positive psychology programs may be an alternate way to address mental health issues and improve youth well-being nationally.” While our program was not the one studied, it clearly shows that 1:1 or small group counseling sessions are not the only methodology to improving mental health issues.

For those of you interested, the University of Pennsylvania has a website called Authentic Happiness with lots of valuable resources. To access some of those resources you do need to register because some of what you can access is associated with their on-going data collection for the research they do on happiness.

Music is a Powerful Mood Managing Tool. Share Your Favorite Happy Songs

Will you be willing to share you favorite uplifting, motivating songs. Music creates moods. Help people by sharing the songs you love and maybe even a blurb about how each makes you feel - happy, joyful, motivated, powerful...

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