Jan 22, 2016

Happiness is Physical and Emotional

Japanese researchers have mapped, using MRI where happiness emerges in the brain. The study, published in Scientific Reports, paves the way for objectively measuring happiness and provides insights on a neurologically based way of being happy.

A team at Kyoto University has found an answer from a neurological perspective. Overall happiness, according to their study, is a combination of happy emotions and satisfaction of life coming together in the precuneus, a region in the medial parietal lobe.

People feel emotions in different ways; for instance, some people feel happiness more intensely than others when they receive compliments. Psychologists have found that emotional factors like these and satisfaction of life together constitutes the subjective experience of being happy. The neural mechanism behind how happiness emerges, however, remained unclear. Understanding that mechanism will be a huge asset for quantifying levels of happiness.

Their analysis revealed that those who scored higher on the happiness surveys had more grey matter mass in the precuneus. In other words, people who feel happiness more intensely, feel sadness less intensely, and are more able to find meaning in life.

"Several studies have shown that meditation increases grey matter mass in the precuneus. This new insight on where happiness happens in the brain will be useful for developing happiness programs based on scientific research." Am thinking my precuneus must be enlarged, especially on a Happy Friday.

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