Thursday, February 28, 2013

"HAPPY" :)  
A Documentary with a Wealth of Information showing that Happiness Doesn't come from Wealth.

I watched a documentary today, called "Happy" in a place where many of you might think it is ironic, because it was at my dentist's office.  My dentist, Kory Blythe, has television screens on the ceiling above your massaging dental chair, and you can pick from a wide array of current movies and listen through the headphones.  For some reason, I chose "Happy."  It seemed like it would be a light comedy.  Much to my surprise, it was a documentary with a wealth of information, showing that happiness doesn't come from wealth.  They explained that the brain chemical Dopamine starts to decrease in our teenage years and continues throughout our adulthood, and the lack of Dopamine can lead to Parkinson's disease.  HOWEVER, there ARE things that we can do to increase our Dopamine, and thereby, our HAPPINESS.  There's intrinsic and extrinsic happiness.  Extrinsic happiness is what people are trying to achieve by fame, or buying things. The documentary showed studies where people who were wealthy were not always happy, and likewise, people who were very poor enjoyed life, filled with so much true happiness. Intrinsic happiness is what truly makes you happy.  They described it as "being in the zone" or "totally forgetting your problems for a while."  For those moments where you completely immerse yourself in something that makes you happy (playing the piano, surfing, creating art, etc.), your Dopamine is traveling through your brain.  Exercise, especially aerobic or conquering a mountain that you thought that you could not climb increases your Dopamine in the brain, and results in happiness.  The other things that they mentioned, having to do with intrinsic happiness, were when you do things for others, or even pick up a piece of trash, this is actually effecting those brain chemicals.  Social networking is a powerful way to increase Dopamine.  Of course, laughing with close friends would be the greatest, however any type of social networking is so powerful that they said it can be compared to the high one gets from cocaine; that is the Dopamine effect.  So, even Facebook has it's very positive effects!  :D

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