Friday, April 13, 2012

the hangover

is it possible to have a "happiness hangover"?

so far this year for me has been filled with changes, new experiences, connections, ... everything feels new new new. and while i am loving and embracing it, i am noticing a pattern of "crashing" after many of these new experiences or events. its like i have to gain my equilibrium after getting off the roller coaster.

i am the first one to say that change is good, and i prefer variety over sameness in my life. but constant change is a lot for the brain to handle and we need time to process new experiences. particularly when experiences change us, we need to get to know the "new self" and either incorporate it into our lives or find the pieces that fit and discard the rest. also we can go through a period of mourning for, or missing, a place/person/experience that particularly moved us. i often experience this when i return from a vacation.

brad pitt was asked recently if he's happy, and his reply was "happiness is overrated". at first i wondered if the implied message was that he's not. but i think his point was that its not happiness that he strives for or that he uses as an indicator for how he sees his life. that's actually a good thing, i think. no one is happy all the time. and is that really what we should be striving for? sometimes its our struggles that propel us forward or help us strive to improve. tension, even dissatisfaction, can be a good thing.

during a recent bout of feeling "down" and rather stuck, i found what i needed to cure my happiness hangover when my puppy crawled in my lap and looked up at me - i immediately felt better. it didn't change anything in my day, or the circumstances that i was struggling with in my life - but it did bring me back to the moment and make me realize that there is *always* something good to focus on -- and focusing on the present moment, as well as connecting with another being (human or otherwise) can take us out of ourselves and turn things around.

recently there was talk in the news about how "cuteness" affects our brains. looking at a baby/puppy/cute face activates pleasure centers in the brain. so next time you are feeling down, or crash after a high, take a look at this pic (or find your own cuteness cure):

and see if that doesn't help your mood...after all, isn't it in the simple things of life that true happiness is found?

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