Friday, November 11, 2005

acc-cent-u-ate the positive

There was an interesting story on NPR this morning: apparently, the Dalai Lama is going to speak at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience this weekend, which is causing a bit of a stir among said neuroscientists.  I found this profoundly interesting, given that the Buddhist leader's talk will focus on actually training the mind to be happier. 


There are probably thousands of self-help books on the subject of positive thinking and its power to make us happier, healthier individuals; given that I've been engaging in negative self-talk for years (not just in relation to my losses), and have had difficulty focusing on possible positive outcomes in recent months, this idea really makes me think.  Could I really train myself to be happier?


My first problem with this is that I have had a difficult time training myself to do anything that requires a habitual focus.  I do not take to new habits well; I tend to forget to do even the simplest things such as using moisturizer daily, or copying the grocery list we keep on the counter into my PDA before I go to the store.


One of my past jobs was a clerical position in a psychology department at a university, and while I am no psychology major (I don't have the head for statistics that I'd need, as proven by my lackluster performance in my lone graduate-level course), brain function has always intrigued me.  During that job, I would often participate as a control subject in research studies for extra money. Several of these were studies that used imaging technology (such as MRI or PET scans) to observe the portions of the brain that are active during certain cognitive responses like simple word or picture recognition, or memory.  I often wondered whether my "normal" brain actually worked in the way that other control subjects' would, due to my frequent forgetfulness.


While I don't necessarily believe that I'm the type to run out and start practicing Buddhist meditation, this idea of trying to develop my positive side definitely deserves further focus.


Of course, let's see how long I remember this.  *smirk*


Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

A friend of mine recently was at a conference at a hotel where the Dalai Lama was staying. When he walked by, she told me, she could feel how peaceful he was.

I hope that his charisma and practicing what he preaches will help inspire the skeptics. There is so much of the brain we do not yet understand - perhaps he's managed to illuminate one of the dark corners in his own mind, and we might learn from it.

11/11/2005 1:52 PM  
Anonymous pixi said...

Could I really train myself to be happier?

I've thought about this myself. Of course, I feel it's perfectly normal and healthy to feel sadness during times of loss or hardship, but I wonder if there's a way to improve general happiness or maybe more specifically, happiness with one's self and one's place in life. I do, though, put the whole fertility thing outside of that. I think all of my sadness & frustration is justified in that arena. And most days (not all) I do a pretty good job of keeping my chin up. But I have a general angstiness that came far before all that. Back in high school, perhaps.

Anyway, I'd love to hear more about your efforts to develop your positive side. Let me know, if you find any good tips or resources.

11/11/2005 3:33 PM  

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