Nashville, TN – The choice of practicing happiness may be the best inoculation if you’re experiencing FMD (Frequent Mental Distress), says Elizabeth Power, human resources development and performance improvement specialist with a bent for helping people “hike up their happy.”
“Often individuals face multiple barriers to reducing stress, like joblessness, mild depression, or the presence of adverse experiences out of their control,” Power said in a recent interview. “The one choice they can make, and even train themselves to practice like an athlete, is getting happier.
“Little by little, additive choices relative to choosing feelings, mastering internal self-talk, modulating and managing feelings, and increasing positive relationships may be a big key in self-directed behavioral change for the better.”
Resilience as a learned skill? Happiness as a discipline? Cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology, mindfulness and the “socially viral” nature of happiness all point to the potential of “self-directed behavioral change” as an antidote to the stress and distress of our times. The American Psychological Association Help Center offers tips for building resilience for multiple audiences, and UPenn’s www.authentichappiness.org offers a number of articles on how to increase one’s happiness. Research demonstrates that even short programs in mindfulness meditation produce demonstrable positive effects on brain and immune function. More and more is being learned about how neural pathways that lead to specific patterns are created and how brain training can change them.
“While many of us cannot choose some of the changes we face, we can choose how we handle them—and there are many ways to do that.” Power explained, “Most of us just don’t know, and when we do, it’s easy to forget to practice, even though this is where we have the most power.” Power uses tools such as the technology-based programs MindHabits and Lumosity, both of which are evidence-based games for improving mood and brain functioning, and experiential learning activities. “Training our brains for happiness is as critical as regular training is for athletes who wish to compete on an international level—and it is likely one of the best countermeasures for the FMD so prevalent in our times.”