Brain Power

What is Happy According to Psychology

There are arguments to be made about what happiness is. Is it a state of being? Is it our perception and reaction to various events throughout our lives? Is it avoiding that which we might find displeasing? Some would argue that happiness is something that we must work toward as humans, some may even argue that we cannot attain real happiness in this life – that what we experience now in our mortal life is only a build-up to true happiness in the afterlife. Others believe that happiness is simply just a matter of how we see and engage the world around us.

There are several concepts within the field of psychology alone that suggest different means and different matters regarding how to attain happiness. One of the more prominent fields over the last several years is a study called positive psychology. The study entails examining ‘what makes living worth living,’ according to Psychology Today. What it aims in doing is validating the good in one’s life: that focusing on the good events that happen is as essential as using what is regarded as healing psychology to counteract the bad. Some have misconstrued the purpose of positive psychology over the years, but those who studied it and developed it suggest that positive psychology is meant to complement healing psychology, not to supersede it or suggest that positive psychology is more critical to one’s life than using healing psychology to sort through traumatic events. What positive psychology hopes to establish is that focusing on and acknowledging positive, beneficial experiences is just as necessary to one’s mental health as attempting to correct or mitigate the effects of negative, detrimental experiences. In short, it’s not just about avoiding or correcting painful things that happen in our lives; it’s also about giving weight to the good, pleasurable things that happen in it as well.

Considering the obvious subjectivity of happiness, as many different things have a wide-ranging emotional impact on many different people, psychology is also well-known for having developed several different scales used to determine one’s own measure of contentment or satisfaction with regard to their lives. The Subjective Happiness Scale, a 4-item questionnaire, is one such test, developed by Sonja Lyubomirsky and Heidi Lepper. While not necessarily greatly detailed or in-depth, the test itself is said to measure a perceived quality of life by the individual rather than a perceived quality found by outside sources, that being other people or psychologists themselves.

Many things influence our perception of happiness according to psychology, and there are a few prominent theories regarding the hierarchy or structure of these needs. Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchy of “needs” that all humans should observe in an attempt to attain happiness.

  • Physiological – the basic needs in order for a human to survive at all, including food, water, air, clothing, and shelter. These needs should be satisfied first and foremost, as all other needs are pointless without survival.
  • Safety – security against stress or potential dangers. Some of these safety measures come in the form of personal protection, financial stability, and avoidance of injury or illness.
  • Social belonging – the satisfaction of interpersonal relationships. These can come in the form of friendships, family, and romantically inclined relationships.
  • Esteem – the need for respect or acknowledgment from peers or those involved in one’s life. A lack of attention to this part of the hierarchy can lead to cases of inferiority complex or depression and can have a great impact on higher levels within the hierarchy.
  • Self-actualization – acknowledging one’s own potential and taking steps to realize it and accomplish as much as one can or feels he/she should within his power. Realizing this need within the hierarchy requires significant understanding and accomplishment within the baser levels.
  • Self-transcendence – relating one’s self-actualization to higher needs and goals no longer pertaining strictly to the self, “refers to the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness.”

Suggesting that one may be happy or unhappy in one’s life appears to base itself greatly within internal understanding as a result of a lot of external sources – how we interpret and react to the world around us, and how we can apparently adapt ourselves in living: not only to avoid the negative experiences as often as possible, like having a car that’s a lemon but to embrace, acknowledge and understand the positive ones as well.

What Are Endorphins?

Balance.

That one word has become a catch word in most lifestyle, physical and mental health and being successful in life.

Whether it’s having a balance between work and family, or a balance between vegetables and desserts, or a balance between feeling good or feeling bad, we are always looking to find that balance. Anything that is imbalanced is considered a disorder of some kind. And the unfortunate thing is that we often try to correct the balance with some kind of drug or treatment, instead of actually changing some part of our lifestyle in order to achieve that balance.

Depression is an imbalance between happy and sad feelings; obesity is an imbalance of weight which may be an imbalance of food consumption or an imbalance of exercise (or both); being exhausted could be an imbalance between work and resting at home with family.

The human body and brain have ways to counteract these imbalances, based on conscious choice and natural chemicals produced by the body to counteract an unnatural imbalance in the system.

Endorphins are natural chemicals that provide balance of mood by counteracting sad or angry feelings. Endorphins are released naturally in times of stress of anger or sadness to help balance and give equilibrium to the human body. Depression is a disorder where not enough endorphins are produced to counteract the sad feelings.

When endorphins which are naturally released are not adequate to provide balance, some people go to professionals for treatments to increase the release of those endorphins.

Endorphins are a group of chemicals (most noteworthy of dopamine and serotonin) which are produced in various parts of the body (pituitary gland, brain, and spinal cord are most common) in reaction to negative stimuli like pain or stress. These chemicals are neurotransmitters which come in contact with certain receptors in the brain, suppressing negative emotions and pain.

When you feel pain or stress for a prolonged period of time, many professionals have suggestions to help you be in control of agitating your body into creating more endorphins – and the suggestions range from having sex to getting exercise (endorphins are credited with “runner’s high,” which is the euphoria that regular runners seem to feel when they run a distance) to eating chili peppers to just giving and receiving a lot of hugs and touches from close friends and family, can all contribute to establishing feelings of happiness or a dulling of any physical or emotional pain. Just avoid sexual harassment.

Certain endorphins have the specific task of dulling pain, while others (such as dopamine) bring out euphoric or positive feelings.  The pain-suppressing endorphins come about when there are feelings of pain, while the others come during stressful periods to keep us calm or come during times of excitement or joy to help us feel happy and positive.

Our bodies are all about balance. Endorphins are about giving us emotional and mental balance, and it is our job to take care of our bodies with balance in order to maintain that mental and emotional balance necessary for optimal health.

Benefits of Daily Vitamins

For those who do not like to eat fruits and vegetables, the absolute least you can do is take a daily multivitamin. When you are skipping out on these foods you are not getting essential nutrients that help our bodies in numerous ways. Even if you do eat lots of fruits and vegetables, sometimes you still aren’t getting enough of certain nutrients, so there’s no harm in taking a multivitamin. Over the counter, brand-name vitamins do not have enough concentration to be considered toxic. So what do you have to lose?

Illness Recovery – when you are sick, your body is unable to function properly because it’s using its resources to fight off infections from bacteria or viruses. Taking a multivitamin which has Vitamin C and other immune boosting vitamins will help you recover from your illness quicker. According to Medline Plus, Vitamin C is used in the formation of proteins which can help heal wounds and form scar tissue and repair bones. There’s also been studies that show that Vitamin C can help lower the amount of time it takes to recover from the common cold.

Improve Your Brain – Vitamins such as Vitamin D which comes from the sun but can also be taken in supplement form help our brains from improved thinkings to improved mood! When Vitamin D is activated by enzymes in the liver and kidney, it acts as a hormone and releases brain chemicals that help our bodies in a variety of ways including regulating cell growth, increasing calcium absorption, and maintaining immune and cardiovascular health.

With more and more Americans being afraid to go out in the sun due to the development of skin cancer, and more and more Americans relying on fast food because it’s more affordable than spending a lot of money to eat organic greens, the very least you can do is take a multivitamin!

The Best Reasons To Become A Political Activist

Are you politically active? If you have an interest in politics, but aren’t actively involved, you may want to consider activism. There are many great reasons to become a political activist.

It’s Good For Your Mental Health

Studies have shown that activism can have a positive impact on a person’s health and happiness. People that get involved with activism report feeling happier and more satisfied with their lives.

When you aren’t politically active, it’s easy to become discouraged by everything that is going on around you. When you are active, you can focus those negative energies into something positive instead and become an advocate for something.

You Can Meet People That Share Your Values

When you become an activist, you’ll be able to connect with other activist. You’ll have the chance to meet a lot of people that share the same values as you.

If you get involved with activism, you’ll be able to make new friends and meet a lot of interesting people. You may wind up forming friendships that will last for a lifetime!

You Can Make The World A Better Place

The world is a better place because of activists. Activists were the people behind the civil rights movement; activists are the reason that people around the world have managed to achieve equality.

If you get involved with activism, you’ll be able to work to make the better place. If you’re worried about what the future holds, you should work to change it for the better. Every citizen has the power to make a difference.

As you can see, there are plenty of compelling reasons to explore political activism. If there is a cause that is important to you, then you should try to get involved. Don’t be afraid to speak out about the things that are truly important to you.

What You Should Know About Your Miranda Rights

As an American, you are most likely aware of your Miranda rights. Television shows and movies made it possible for a lot of people to know all about the protocol when getting arrested. However, most people only know one line of the Miranda warning, and that is to have the right to keep silent, and everything you say can be used against you.

Although the previous lines are imperative, they are only a part of your rights. You should also know that you can ask for your lawyer to be present while being questioned by authorities. Someone will be provided for you if you don’t have one. It is not only to know what is in your Miranda rights because understanding when you should enforce your right and when it should be recited to you will help you avoid trouble and make your case worse.

Everyone is very familiar when Miranda rights should be required. What most people don’t know is that there are still circumstances where it cannot be applied. For a police to issue you a Miranda warning, you should be in custody and under interrogation for the allegations made against you.

However, if you are not arrested formally and in police custody or being interrogated by an officer, they can’t give you a Miranda warning. This situation means that anything you say can be used against you in a trial. Remember that if an officer wants to question you and use your answers as a shred of evidence for your trial, he or she must read your Miranda rights to you first. If you want to avoid any more complications, keep your calm and don’t make hasty statements.

The first thing that might come to your mind when being arrested is to panic. People tend to give in to getting provoked when arrested which will only get you into more trouble. By knowing what your Miranda rights are and when you can use them can make things easier for you. Remember to be polite and to keep your cool to solve things quickly.  If you maintain your rights and your innocence, you will be able to get out of the arresting process much easier, which can only lead to increased happiness.