This Sunday morning, in between cooking up some yummy apple pancakes, I reached for an old copy of TIME magazine (June 6, 2011). The cover story, “The Science of Optimism” by Tali Sharot, sounded intriguing – especially since I was planning to write about happiness psychology right after breakfast!
The colorful image of the human brain on the front cover of this issue of TIME depicts our brain divided into different segments, with thoughts including: “look on the bright side”, “this investment can’t lose”, ”I will live to 100 ” and “my kid is a genius.”
It turns out there is a certain section of the brain’s frontal cortext called the “rostral anterior cingulated cortext” (rACC”), which boosts the flow of positive emotions. This section is more active in optimists when they imagine a positive future.
In other words, when we use the rACC by imagining our desired futures, we are actually improving the flow of “happy emotions.” This process also leads to actually making these imagined positive changes to our future. So, “Imagine that!” frequently leads to “My dream has come true!”
There are some very interesting facts in this article which piqued my interest, each one backed by scientific research. Smart entrepreneurs can definitely benefit by understanding these facts, because in my own research in the field of positive psychology I’ve learned there are quite promising applications for business builders. I say this because I know we frequently get discouraged by all that we have to do and learn to get our businesses off the ground successfully.
So, here goes…Did you know that:
- Optimists (*another term for smart entrepreneurs!) work longer hours and tend to earn more. They even save more.
- When unfortunate or negative events occur in our lives, our brains have a neural mechanism that generates optimism, called the rostral anterior cingulate (rACC), without which all humans would be mildly depressed.
- Positive emotions and affect are useful, leading to better health and greater success. Also, happy, or positive, people are more successful in their work.
- Using all sorts of guided imagery exercises, self-hypnosis, relaxation and meditation tapes, listening to certain types of music geared toward stimulating the brain’s “happiness booster “ area – all of these activities are enormously enriching and contribute to improved productivity levels.
- Productivity itself helps to eliminate feeling unfulfilled, especially when we are truly enjoying the work we do.
I’ve highlighted below some basic information about the origin, focus and practical applications of Happiness Psychology:
- Neuroscientist, Dr Martin Seligman, who is known as the “happiness professor ” is credited with being the unofficial father of positive psychology, which focuses on the study of human happiness.
- Humanistic psychologist, Abraham Maslow, in his 1954 book about motivation and personality first used the term positive psychology.
- The field of happiness psychology attempts to complement rather than replace traditional psychology.
- Positive psychology asserts that while it is important to study how things go wrong, it is also equally as important to emphasize using the scientific method to determine how things go right.
- Scientists in this field study subjects like states of pleasure or flow, our values and talents, positive qualities, and how our social institutions (especially corporations and business leaders) can promote these positive states.
- Neurolinguistic Programming and Hypnosis are both effective modalities to assist us to access our higher, more optimistic states of mind.
To sum it all up, the more we stay in a positive mindset while completing the many business-building tasks we perform as smart entrepreneurs–from creating our web presence, doing online marketing to bring visitors to our site, building lists, writing articles and free eBooks –(the list seems endless)–the better chance we have of seeing our business goals and dreams come true!
So, hang in there, baby!
Always Going On Beyond,