Happiness: what is it, and how do I find it?
I've posted often on the science of happiness. I know what you're thinking, scoffers, but believe me, the science of happiness is real -- and it's spectacular. ;-)
We've all heard that life as we know it is made up of the mind, the body and the spirit. As I understand it, our aim should be to nurture each one of these aspects -- and then, if we're lucky, we experience moments when they flow together in perfect balance -- one elegant organism of life.
OK, we know about the mind, body and spirit. Now what?
I love to analyze things and to come up with guidelines to help me attain any goals I might have. In thinking about the mind/body/spirit thing, one day it dawned on me: what if I figured out a scientific way to analyze and calculate where I am on the mind/body/spirit continuum?
The next step I took was to see that every action I take on any given day affects either the mind, the body or the spirit positively or negatively. Many actions affect more than one of the three. But every action we takes affects our mind/body/spirit in some way.
So I started looking at very general and obvious actions.
Let's take something obviously good, like running.
As every runner knows, running clears the mind, strengthens the body and makes your soul soar.
So, if we applied a score for running as an activity, it would be +1 for the mind, +1 for the body and +1 for the spirit. That's 3 points total.
Now, let's look at something negative, like smoking. Smoking is -1 for the body, and I suppose neutral for the mind and spirit. So that's a total of -1.
There are lots of things that are good for either the mind, body and spirit. Any physical or mental activity gives you a +1 in that area.
So OK, OK, I guess I have to admit that even a video game like Candy Crush Saga is good for the mind (well, it's good for the brain, anyway), as experts agree that video games can and do prevent Alzheimer's disease. So you can give yourself a +1 there. But I might argue that excessive video game playing would give you a -1 for the soul...(there's a healthy debate to be had there, I'm sure). It's also neutral for the body. So adding up the total of the three, it adds up to a "neutral."
And if you eat a dozen donuts in one sitting, I think we can all agree that would be bad for the mind, body and spirit. That's a -3.