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How to Make Your Mind Happy, According to Neuroscience by TIME


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Here’s how to use neuroscience and mindfulness to get Left Brain under control:

  • Notice Lefty at work: Listen for his interpretations. That’s not you. That’s him.
  • Correct him: Check his interpretations against the facts. Is he getting too creative? Going overboard?
  • Help Lefty be a better storyteller: Give him a new story. Give him better information. Do good to be good. Help him help you.

On rare occasions, Lefty gets completely overwhelmed by the good data the right brain is giving him — and that creates one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.

The amazingness of the moment hits Lefty so hard he’s at a loss for words to create a story with and he’s speechless. You’ve experienced this, actually…

You call it “awe.”

From The Neurotic’s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment:

Many astronauts have been psychologically changed by the experience of being in space, most notably Edgar Mitchell. In viewing earth from a distance, he had a radical experience that changed his life much more than walking on the moon. Here is his description: “What I experienced during that three-day trip home was nothing short of an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness. I actually felt what has been described as an ecstasy of unity… The thought was so large it seemed inexpressible, and to a large degree it still is.” Again, one can see the difficulty of shrinking awareness down to the interpretive mind and then finding words to express what is beyond it.

But awe is rare. We can’t all travel to space. (Note to Elon Musk: GET TO WORK.) But there are other methods to stick a sock in Lefty’s mouth for a while and really engage with life in a moving and mindful way. You’ve probably heard of this one, too:

Flow.”

Flow is a type of that “be in the moment” stuff you hear about mindfulness all the time. Getting Lefty to shut up and take a coffee break while you fully engage with reality.

From The Neurotic’s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment:

…described as “flow” by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He has used this term to describe the experience that someone has while being totally absorbed in the doing of something. He defines flow as: “Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

(To learn how to increase the amount of flow you experience, click here.)

Sometimes Lefty does a great job. He gives you accurate interpretations, sees insightful patterns and tells you a meaningful story about your life. But he needs to be kept in check.

Jokes aren’t funny when they’re explained. The magic trick doesn’t make you gasp when you’re told how it works. We don’t always need — or want — director’s commentary when we watch the movie of life. Sometimes we need to just be there in the moment.

Yes, you are now officially hearing voices in your head. But that’s okay. Just make sure they’re good ones.

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