There you are, swaying in a hammock, already in a peaceful state of mind. Here are four ways to rocket your mood into a new stratosphere of happiness….and all you have to do is listen and relax.0
Happiness, positivity and joy are all rising stars in the academic discipline. In fact, achieving, maintaing and understanding happiness has become the stuff of pop psychology and culture phenomenon. Tips, tricks and insights on pleasure and joy have saturated our bookshelves, magazines and TV programs. Check out TED Talks(Technology, Entertainment and Design) for happiness lectures from psychologists, artists, academics, and spiritual leaders. You’ll find yourself curious and engaged- two major players in the happiness game, as you’ll soon find out. Start with Matthiew Ricard’s soothing talk, The Habits of Happiness, and then move on to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow, the Secret to Happiness to learn about the most optimal state of mind, and how you can achieve it.
There is scientific reasoning for why we love music: listening to your favorite tunes causes your brain to release dopamine, a feel good chemical involved in happiness, motivation, and even addiction. Even the mere anticipation of hearing those songs we love can cause a surge in this hormone. Check out the music that’s classically associated with joy such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Pachelbel’s Canon in D.
Laughter makes us feel better, this we figure out when we’re infants. Laughter is a natural reaction to an already happy state of mind. But did you know that you can create happiness simply by laughing out loud? If you don’t believe it can be that easy, check out the science behind it in this article in Time.) Laughter-therapy has become so popular that programs such as laugh yoga and laugh clubs, where strangers literally sit around and fake laugh until it becomes real, have sprung up across the country. What better place to give it a try than in your comfortable hammock? Download a few books on tape by humor writers like David Sedaris and Simon Rich and get giggling. For shorter pieces and stand up, check out the Comedy Bits and Pieces Podcast for a great sampling of funnymen and women.
Science, music and laughter abounds, but hammock time may be a rare opportunity to give your brain a rest. Allow yourself to detach and unwind for a little while. Try an easy meditation on nature to bring about those much needed feelings of peace and calm. Use the same practice to meditate on the world around you wherever your hammock is hung, even if that’s a loft of a busy city apartment. If you’ve only got a few minutes, simply observe the sound of your own breath in and out, the most basic and perhaps most powerful meditation available.