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Joseph Callender, July 4 2024

Unlocking the Secrets of Happiness

Happiness might be a complex interplay of genetics, relationships, and emotional balance, or it might simply be a choice.  We can cultivate a more profound and enduring sense of happiness, by embracing all of our emotions, making positive choices, nurturing happy relationships, and allowing our heart to connect with the universal flow of love and energy. In doing so, we can unlock the true essence of happiness and lead a balanced, fulfilling life.

What truly makes us happy?

Science and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has much to say on the subject of understanding happiness. Let's delve into this multifaceted world and see if we can discover how genes, choices, and holistic health contribute to our overall well-being.

The Genetic Blueprint of Happiness

Scientists have uncovered that there is a genetic predisposition toward happiness, often referred to as "trait happiness." This genetic component can account for up to 50% of our overall happiness. Does this mean that some people are predisposed to being naturally 'happier', due to their genetic makeup?

While genes do play a significant role, the other half of our happiness is more within our control. According to research, about 10% of our happiness stems from life circumstances such as income and relationships. The remaining 40% is influenced by the choices we make on a moment by moment basis.

Choosing to act with integrity and kindness significantly impacts our happiness. Acts like returning a lost wallet or remaining faithful to a partner not only uphold moral standards but also enhance our sense of well-being. Researchers suggest that such positive choices are integral to a fulfilling and happy life.

The Importance of Relationships

Strong relationships are a cornerstone of happiness. Studies have shown that having close, positive connections with others can boost our happiness significantly. For every happy person in our life, our chances of being happy increase by 9%. This underscores the value of nurturing meaningful relationships.

Experiencing the flow state, where we lose ourselves in activities that combine our talents and interests, also contributes to happiness. This state of complete immersion and engagement often leads to success and satisfaction, further enhancing our overall sense of happiness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine's Perspective

TCM offers a profound understanding of emotions and their impact on health. According to its principles, different emotions are linked to specific organs, and maintaining a balance among these emotions is crucial for overall health.

Emotions and Their Impact on the Body

TCM teaches that balancing emotions is essential for health. Happiness, for example, can inhibit sorrow, while sorrow can inhibit anger. Fear can diminish happiness, and anger can disrupt thought and worry. Engaging in pleasurable activities, spending time with friends, and learning about what we fear can help restore emotional balance.

In TCM, the heart is more than a physical organ; it is the seat of all mental and emotional activities. It is associated with consciousness, thoughts, feelings, and even our connection to the spiritual realm.

Ancient Chinese philosophy likens the heart to a king whose primary duty is to remain peaceful and rule with wisdom and compassion. Just as a king should focus on being rather than doing, the heart thrives when it practices non-action, staying above the turmoil of everyday life.

The heart connects us to the limitless, unconditional love of the universe. Practices like meditation, Qigong, and yoga help open the heart, allowing us to communicate with universal energy and experience profound acceptance and love.

Embracing All Emotions

While happiness is crucial, TCM emphasises the importance of experiencing the full range of emotions. Each emotion has a beneficial short-term effect on its associated organ but can cause harm if experienced in excess. For example:

Balanced emotions lead to a harmonious life, while an imbalance can result in illness. Recognising and allowing all emotions to flow naturally helps maintain this delicate equilibrium.

References

Written by

Joseph Callender

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