submitted by Jessica Giesen; photo by Mike Engelberger
We are living in the information generation – constantly bombarded by new information and larger and larger amounts of data. In fact, the world is changing so rapidly that the future has become a complete unknown. That unknown is creating anxiety and interrupting everyone’s ability to live happy lives. Through his pursuit of the science of happiness, Dr. Niraj Nijhawan has uncovered specific root causes of unhappiness and developed steps that people can take to reprogram their brains and escape this crisis.
People need to allow their neural networks to thrive and to grow, which can continue to happen until the day we die. In order to support that growth, people must look to time, focus and emotion. The more feedback we allow ourselves to take in and tolerate on a daily basis, the more growth we will see.
Dr. Nijhawan spoke about our negative ties to self-esteem and the “social brainwashing” we have all undergone that tells us that we need to be X or do well in Y or choose career path Z in order to be ‘good’. We learn that status, money, power and educational degrees are the things that must be sought after and achieved in order for someone to be happy. However, according to Dr. Nijhawan, that is not the case and should not matter in life if happiness is the goal. Rather than look to external motivations – such as economic or emotional rewards or penalties, which cause stress hormones to spike and people to remain on “a roller coaster of destruction” – we must flip our mindsets to a radical growth mindset.
The solution is to become higher brain dominant, which can shift a person’s mindset within days and alleviate depression, anxiety and sleep difficulties while increasing psychological well-being and overall quality of life. The three steps Dr. Nijhawan proposes a person follow to secure their own happiness are to 1) Remove oneself from the roller coaster of destruction by realizing that self-esteem and “status” markers we are socially taught to exalt are not important, 2) Get on to the rocket ship of the higher brain and 3) Teach to others these learnings and ultimately . . . save the world.
If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.