AN ESTIMATED 3000 PEOPLE will gather at the Entertainment Centre in Brisbane next month, to attend one of the greatest shows on earth, the annual Happiness and its Causes Conference. The brightest minds in philosophy, psychology, science, religion and the arts come together each year for three conferences held in three locations around the world London, San Francisco and an Australian city to explore the age-old question – “How can we lead a happier, more meaningful life?”
With depression now effecting 1 in 10 people in the western world, there is an ever increasing hunger for solutions to our suffering. The star of the show in Brisbane this year will be the happiest man in the world, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, happy not because of his external circumstances but the way he looks at life.
NEUROSCIENTISTS and endocrinologists don’t believe happiness is as simple as the Buddhists maintain. It isn’t just eating a chocolate, a romp in the hay, a sunny day, a holiday, a new love interest. It’s a chemical reaction that happens between neuro-transmitters.
According to Prof Helen Fisher at Rutgers University, when we feel happy or in love with something or somebody the body floods with pleasure. This pleasure is a rush of chemicals with a similar structure to amphetamines or Speed, including adrenalin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The heart races, the face flushes in delight as the neurotransmitters send chemicals into our nervous system.
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Happiest Countries In The World
THE UNIVERSITY of MICHIGAN’S World Values Surveys has compiled data on the happiest countries in the world for over twenty years. Their results are considered the most authoritative by happiness researchers. Here are the top 21. And it’s very surprising!
While the 2011 Happiness & Its Causes conference is not-for-profit, other conferences are very much about big bucks. Happiness has become a multi-million dollar business all around the world with spruikers selling bliss. The buyers are some of the most powerful corporate doyens in the world.
Such a conference was offered to businesses recently, sponsored by the Australian Institute of Management as 350 business leaders including from AMP, Macquarie Bank, MBF, and Toyota gathered at The Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney to listen to one of the great thought leaders of our time – father of the positive psychology movement, Mr Happiness himself Dr Martin Seligman PhD, (WATCH VIDEO HERE!)
Tips on How to be Happy
Buddhist Master, Sogyal Rinpoche, believes Stillness is happiness.
Professor Tal Ben Shahar, lecturer in positive psychology at Harvard University, who I recently interviewed at the Mind and Its Potential conference in Sydney, believes happiness can be created in the brain by sustained reframing. He keeps a gratitude diary listing the good things that happen to him each day; including his “blessings” such as a healthy family. His diary gives him a sense of meaning and lessons learned. He believes lasting happiness comes from realising the positives in the negatives and accepting our failures with grace. “Babies don’t just walk. They need to keep falling down, then they walk.”
“Babies don’t just walk. They need to keep falling down, then they walk.”
ABC’s recent series “Making Australia Happy” took a bunch of unhappy people and put them through intervention under the guidance of experts. The group of eight started with an average unhappiness level of 48 per cent which by the end of the filming had shot up on average to 83 per cent. Six months later the group average was still 81 per cent. So what was it that lead to the reversal in mood? And how can we lengthen the periods of happiness in our lives?
Take a look at this informative website and get more tips on how to find lasting fulfilment.