How Meditation helps to increase our Baseline Happiness

Happiness, the elusive fleeting sensation that seems to have a lot of adults chasing our tails in pursuit of. A sensation that is achieved via a temporary external situation that stimulates a sense of happiness.

You know, we just fill in the blank; I am or will be happy when (____________), let me throw up some suggestions:

  • When I get a new job
  • When I get a new lover
  • When I get a promotion
  • When I get a new car
  • When I go shopping
  • When I am with a good friend
  • After a glass of wine or beer
  • When the next season of my Netflix series comes out
  • When I get a lot of likes on social media

You get the idea

For a lot of us, happiness comes wrapped up in these moments of distraction. And sure, we do get a temporary rush of positive chemicals that flood our body from these interactions. Yet as fast as they come, so to do they disappear.

We get a brief respite from the default mood of our lives and enjoy these joyful distractions but once they are over, we fall back to our consistent state, which leaves us then looking forward to our next engagement with the happiness cocktail.

But what of the moments in between, when we just are in survival mode, scrapping through life and for some in between these great distractions its actual feels like suffering more than survival. Sure, for some their baseline is closer to happiness than others, but if we’re really honest a lot of the time, happiness takes a back seat to “Life”.

But what if we could this baseline?

Even if just by 10%.

It would be great wouldn’t it. And then we just slowly continually incrementally increase this default, until one day happiness is our natural default. Like a child, young and free from the accumulated stresses we all horde.

The good news is this is possible

Via meditation.

How so you ask

Via releasing the built-up residual stress within our nervous system. The reason we have lost our ability to feel “light hearted”. Science shows us, we store stress within our body, question that, then ask why is stress the biggest killer on the planet?

If stress was not stored within the body, when we get stressed it would simply disappear as fast as it came.

But not so. Stress leaves a trail of disaster, a cocktail of chemicals that takes its toll on our health and our wellbeing.

You see stress robs us from the ability to access the full potential of our humanity. Just think how you act when you feel stress, the pre-frontal cortex goes off line (the CEO) we say things we don’t mean – as our emotions are running the show – and happiness is a distant emotion.

Which all can be reversed, and the stress default altered so we can have the power to “Respond” rather than react to life.

Now back to happiness

When we meditate, we start to release the brain from the incessant 24/7 of our internal narratives. A 20 minute defrag twice a day. Giving the brain the ability – for some for the first time – the ability to be free to roam, to float, to free-associate and to go within. With this letting go, the mind goes into a deep calm state, where we start to get an increase of feel good chemicals (serotonin & dopamine) and in turn we start to feel good during and after our meditation.

As we continue daily to continue this practice, each and every day we are bathing ourselves in a state of being that is “stress free”, feeling a state of inner calm and happiness. Day in day out, and over time this happy feeling that occurs during our meditation starts to permeate our waking state.

Additionally, this reduction of being in a stressed-out state, in turn helps us to remove the unconscious habitual stress reaction to situations that are really just situations (it’s the meaning we apply to them that creates stress) and choose how we want to respond.  This is a huge step towards a happier and healthier you, as we break the stress cycle and in turn the negative flood of chemicals that comes with it.

How fast does this happen?

It has been shown (with the effortless transcending forms of meditation) that within a few weeks of starting this practice you will alter your brain waves (your map of how you react to the world), so it happens fast.

At first it may feel like a 10% increase, a small noticeable shift, but a shift all the same, and over time soon you will look back and realise that “wow, I am feeling really good for no apparent reason” more often than not.