- Written by Garth Schmalenberg
One of my favorite things to do is to study. I love studying!
But studying has more than just the knowledge you are learning to offer. Besides getting more knowledgeable, it is likely that you are also getting smarter.
Yes, when you study, you give your brain a workout. This helps you to develop not only new synapses in the area of the brain which stores the new knowledge, it gives your brain a workout in the area which requires you to focus. The more you learn, the more you also train your brain to work and to focus on taking in new information. It's sort of like increasing the size of the well, the water level, and the pumping capacity all at the same time. As a result of neuroplasticity, parts of your brain actually get thicker. And guess what, that also suggests that parts of your brain might get thinner. In other words, since you are not focusing on less important things like TV, dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, or other miscellaneous distractions, you are probably losing some of your interest in those parts of your life. And that's actually a good thing.
Having said all this, studying is not easy. It never has been and never will be. But it's worth the effort. It not only makes you more knowledgeable and smarter, it can actually make you happier. That is because when you focus intensely on anything, you will be in the present moment and that leads to happier feelings.
So take my advice. If you want to be happier, if you want to have better brain health long into your life, try studying more. You might find it difficult at first, but keep doing it, and your brain will get used to it. It will get better at it and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
If you are not sure what to study, here are a few recommended sites with free on-line university level courses. There is surely a topic that will interest you:
Wishing you good studies,
- Written by Garth Schmalenberg
One way to be happier is to learn how to focus on the present moment.
Really, what does that mean?
Research shows that we are happier when we are focused on exactly what we are doing on a moment to moment basis vs. focusing on the past or future and allowing our mind to wander. When you focus on the future, you are speculating about what might happen. When you are thinking about the past, you are generally worrying about something that went wrong (self-blame or blaming others), what someone thought or what they meant (speculative and usually negative), and occasionally on something pleasant. The surprising finding is that even when you focus on something in the past that is pleasant, you are generally less happy than when you are focused on the present. Counter-intuitive right?
Researcher Matt Killingsworth tested the cause of peoples happiness (trackyourhappiness.org) by sending thousands of project participants text messages on a regular basis asking a few questions.
1) How do you feel on a scale from very bad to very good?
2) What are you doing?
3) Are you thinking about something other than what you are doing? (a test of mind wandering)
The results showed that they were almost always happier when they were thinking about what they were doing even when compared to thinking about something pleasant in the past or future.
So what is happiness anyway?
It might be described as a state of consciousness through which you experience pleasant feelings and gratitude for life on a moment to moment basis and you are focused on all the amazing things that surround you.
We often fall into a state of unhappiness when we are focused on those aspects of life that we judge to be unpleasant. It might be an argument you've had with your partner or spouse, a misbehaving child, an unpleasant colleague or any number of other of life's many incidents. But can we avoid having our minds wander and learn to focus on things which are happening right now? It turns out that we can. We have the capacity to change the way our brain thinks as a result of something called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to build chemical bridges and through repetition, build new synapses from one neuron to another. This process literally rewires the brain and changes the way that you think. It has the ability not only to help you be happier, it can actually provide healing for many types of neurological afflictions. A great book to read on neuroplasticity is Dr. Norman Doidges book, "The Brain's way of Healing".
Another way is to learn Mindfulness.
Mindfulness utilizes neuroplasticity in a particular way that causes cortical thickening on the left side of the frontal lobe of your brain and the increase of the ratio of left activity to right activity which coincidentally correlates with an ability to focus on the present and leads to greater happiness. Mindfulness has proven to have many positive physiological and psychological effects.
The point is this; if you are unhappy (and in this case I'm not referring to clinical depression, which is something quite different), if you are having a difficult time in your life, work or relationships, there is something that you can do about it and if you don't want to do it on your own or don't know how to start, feel free to give me a call (1-289-201-3292).
I am always at your service.
MA, B.Eng, CPCC
- Written by Garth Schmalenberg
To all my past clients,
You knew my company in the past as HBI Leadership or HBI Coaching. I'm starting up again under the new and more accurate name of Caledon Coaching or at least that's the name of my web-site. I'm a entrepreneur or solopreneur if you wish.
You may have missed me. After a long hiatus, I have decided to re-start my coaching practice. That having been said, my hope is to fill my time with local clients. I value you all and I don't mind coming to visit, yet I am striving to be environmentally friendly, to work locally and avoid long distance travel.
In any case, I'm glad to be back and I have a new focus. Yes, I'm focusing on happiness. Now you might say, well isn't that what coaching is all about. And to that I would say "Yes" or "Sort of". Coaching is about a lot of things, finding balance in your life, achieving greater performance, meeting goals. But you can do a lot of those things and still not find happiness. So I'm incorporating happiness as being a priority in my coaching work because if your not happy about achieving your goals, you'd really have to question why you are trying to achieve them.
For now, that's all I'll say.