How To Live A Happy Life In The Angry 21st Century — Part Two
By Glenn Fisher, Editor at Creating Wealth
That’s what links it all.
It’s the chemical that leads directly to happiness. When you fire serotonin into your brain, you feel good, you feel happy, you feel fulfilled.
So, to live a richer, wealthier life… it’s not money you need more of… it’s serotonin.
Two of the best ways to increase the release of serotonin is to exercise and eat well.
But I’ll be honest…
I like to talk about things from experience and on the basis that I don’t have a great diet and find exercise very difficult, I’m going to recommend you seek advice elsewhere for those two.
They’re hard work. Essential. But hard work. If you figure out the secret, let me know.
I’m more interested in advising you on a few other ways to increase serotonin and make yourself feel happier.
One is cutting out as much negativity and time wasting from your life as possible… and the other is reducing your stress levels by working smarter.
Serotonin Suppressors: Three Evils Of The 21st Century
All those things we spoke about in the first part yesterday:
- The fact that the mainstream media is set up to instil a sense of jealousy and resentment in us all (and not just the news, I’m talking about TV entertainment too).
- The fact that the vast majority of our politicians have been forced into self-serving isolation, and any open-minded honesty is likely to be met with derision or hostility.
- And the fact that the dawn of 24-hour social media means you have a live running reminder that while you’re stuck earning money for your family, someone else is out having fun.
They all lead to you thinking negatively. They lead to you being stressed out. They lead to you feeling depressed.
Eliminate Negative Thinking
I know, it sounds crazy…
But even the simple act of thinking of a nice thing that’s happened to you in the past can help release serotonin and make you feel better.
Many of the walls in my home are filled with pictures in the Parisian salon style, in other words, a load of paintings and pictures hung closely next to each other and on top of each other.
I like the look, it chimes with my nostalgic dream of living like a bohemian in 1920s Paris…
But it also has another advantage: on passing any of these walls I’m able to pause and quickly find a picture of a positive memory of something fun or interesting I’ve done and that in turn helps release serotonin and cheer me up.
The more important point to make is that to increase your production of serotonin, you need to start by eliminating negative thinking.
I personally believe you can take an enormous step to doing this by cutting out a lot of the crap that mainstream media put in front of you…
Yes, I’m talking about Britain’s Got Talent and all that junk (as I suggested in Part One)… and I’m talking about ignoring needless stories about political pratfalls… I’m talking about cutting down your use of social media.
All these things create a murky quicksand of negativity that will eventually drag you in and drown you. Sure, in the short term it’s funny and you get a little hit of amusement, but that’s just masking the fact that it’s ultimately pointless and a waste of your time.
Stop Being Stressed
I realise that the power of thinking alone, as a solution, might seem like a stretch. But it’s true.
Still, something I’m sure you can immediately understand is that being stressed is another suppressor of serotonin.
It makes sense.
Some argue there’s good stress and bad stress, or that they thrive off stress.
Stress is bad. Fact. And those that think they ‘thrive’ off stress are getting mixed up. In such circumstances, that person is thriving off their ability to ‘control stress’…
It’s the opposite. It’s the very fact that they are not stressed and are in fact in control of the situation that is giving them a good feeling.
(The good feeling is actually down to the release of dopamine, a chemical similar to serotonin, which gets released when you achieve something.)
So, being stressed is not good in any circumstances.
And wasting your time watching crap television, getting angry at politicians and events out of your control, or flitting your life away on Facebook is all eventually going to lead to you being more stressed.
More stress = less serotonin = not happy.
Are you starting to see my point here?
My biggest advice for reducing stress is changing the way you perceive work and shifting your work-life balance.
The Horrible And The Miserable
In one of his most famous films, Annie Hall, Woody Allen explains to the lead actress, Diane Keaton, that he has a real pessimistic view of life…
He says there are two kinds of people, the horrible and the miserable. The horrible are terminal cases, people with no hope. The miserable, he says, are everyone else.
The punch line has a quirky positivity to it: when you go through life, you should be thankful that you’re miserable.
I can only assume this is why people watch shows like Coronation Street. It’s so horrible, that I assume people think, at least that’s not me.
Still, I would argue that if you’re looking to live a wealthier life, it’s these ultimately depressing programmes that you need to mark off your schedule first.
The time taken watching them and making you feel down, filling your head with negative scenarios of Phil Mitchell killing his fiftieth wife or the inevitable spectacle of Ian Beale being battered in one of his own deep fat fryers in a live episode. These things are not good for you.
I know you don’t want to hear it, but it’s the truth.
Mainstream media and entertainment, the modern political circus and our addiction to social media are all not just drains on your time, but they are biologically affecting your ability to live a happy, wealthier life.
Do you agree… disagree?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject — drop me a line at the usual address (email@example.com) or just hit reply.
Also, you should watch this video from thinker Simon Sinek, as it further explains some of what I’m talking about this week.
He frames it in a conversation about leadership, but the chemical element of the argument is well explained.
It’s quite long, but worth the time.
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