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There has been a newfound gush about keeping the mind and body healthy in the last decade! When we look around we see the popular "stay-healthy" campaign in a variety of ways. There are more gyms than before, more people running the treadmill at home, losing weight, more advertisements about foods like oats, whole-wheat noodles, healthy oils, low-cal foods, balanced diet and the list goes on. On par with these, gaining popularity are the spas, stress-busting techniques we get to read, yoga centers with power yoga, laughter yoga, meditation centers like art of living, techniques like vipassana. The buzz that's going around entails not just health, if we zoom in, we see that revolves around creating a state of well being and very fundamentally that which is positive.
So what is it all about staying healthy and happy? Is it really that important? Why is everyone engulfed in bringing about this positive bodily and mind states?! Am I a better version of me when I'm happy? Lets discover...
Positive states essentially mean your own subjective feeling of positive emotions like happiness, cheerfulness, excitement, joyfulness, liveliness, playfulness etc. When we experience these, it has far more implications than what's apparent. We'll see how. At the time when you feel these emotions or states, studies show that the horizon of your mind opens up. What does this mean? This open mindedness means the expansion of your thought processes such that you will be able to see things in broader perspective than you would have if you were not experiencing this state. Suppose you just got a compliment from a friend and then you were put in a maze and asked to find your way out, you are more likely to get out it faster if you were in a happy state of mind than if you were angry or sad. This opening up of your mind, thus, causes you to think of multiple pathways to get to the exit. You were quickly able to think and trace the alternatives you could take. This form of thinking in divergent ways was you being creative. The same creativity could be expressed while doing any other activity but with the pre condition of having a positive internal state. You would be able to find more than one outcome or way of doing it.
Now assume if this was a race and since you came out of the maze very quickly this was well appreciated, you are likely to feel motivated to do such a task again. Thus, you moved to a higher state of feeling worthy, accomplished and confident to do something. At the same time you also discovered the resources within you.
So here we saw that from an internal state of being just happy because of a compliment, you grew to become open in your mind, which enabled you to think in many ways and be enthusiastic and creative. However, it did not stop there, you were able to see your own potential, and again moved higher to feeling motivated, successful at the task and confident. Any positive felt state has a ripple effect, it causes you to utilize your own abilities better quite automatically!Now this maze could be replaced with any other problem in your life, be it in academics, relationships, family, financial or anything else. Just imagine how different your solutions or ways out would be if you thought through them in a positive and calm state of mind rather than aroused. Its more likely that these problems are closer to us and the associated feelings are intense. However, if you consciously choose to reach a better state of mind before thinking, you would be able to generate better workarounds. People who have done this repeatedly have shown to be able to cope with their problems better. They build a higher level of resilience .i.e. ability to recover quickly from difficult situations. When such recovery happens, they believe that they can do it again, thus creating the ripple effect. Such individuals are without a doubt more adaptable, courageous and accepting of any situation life can offer.
Studies also show that when a student evoked any positive memory in his mind before taking a test, he was likely do better. There are also studies which go up to the extent of showing us that positive internal states can actually enable us to look past racial and cultural differences between people. It broadens one's view and enables one to look at another person as an individual rather than looking for the dissimilarities. Now this can have great implications of fostering positive relationships between various communities which live together. It increases trust and empathy between them, decreasing rivalry and opposition and in turn increasing their survival rate!
More simply, the feeling a foodie gets when he eats good food, the feeling a player gets on winning a match, the feeling a student gets to see good grades, the feeling anyone gets on seeing their loved ones happy, the feeling a teacher or an employee gets on getting a quality feedback are all precursors and definitely convertible to greater feelings of contentment, serenity, purposefulness and empowerment! So the next time you're feeling all excited and perky don't let it go without escalating it!