We are physical mechanistic beings.  (It's ok if you want to add something else, like spirit or whatever, but the base is always the physical/mind machine.   Learn this or you'll be missing out on effectively managing the process to produce greater happiness!  Your Mechanical Brain/Body - Summary - See It For What It Is, Create It How You Want It To Be!).

Many people fail to realize that our circuits (neuronal pathways) are "reciprocal" circuits - they run "both ways".  We can send a message to our alarm system and not just get messages from it.  And in sending those messages we alter the amount of bad signals that harm us and which have no useful benefits.  An in altering those, we not only create happiness but we eliminate alot of the crap that makes us feel unhappy!!!!

We discuss this in the Emotional Management section, as intentional "signal sending" is a very effective way of managing those emotions, rather than letting them manage us!  (Of course, if we think about it, we would never want to be so stupid as to let them manage us.  To let them induce us to eat too much, to have to seek relief by distracting ourselves, to cause us to be scared, to cause us to be ineffective, to cause us to be unhappy...).

You should have a thorough understanding of the pieces in Rewiring The Brain - Very Practical And Very Doable!.

Basically, when the primitive mind thinks we are safe, it sends out signals that take us off of "alert hyper mode", relaxing us, to where we "feel good", breathe deeply and slowly (which is ok, since we don't need to hyperventilate to meet a threat), returns us to full functioning of the immune system and our other organs so that they can do their jobs in making us healthier.

The bottomline here is that, if we duplicate those end results, we send a signal back to the brain that we are safe, so the primitive brain 'thinks' it is at least safer.  (And we cannot be happy if we feel we are in danger and the body has to be reacting to return to Homeostasis - High Functioning Balance - that diverts our energy and attention, as a priority built into us due to evolution.)


Why do happy people meditate or vice versa why are meditators more happy?  Well, they do send the signal to the primitive brain that "all is well", from the slow, deep breathing.  In meditation, we also let go of the alarming thoughts, which of course causes us to be less alarmed! (Duh!)   And we also do some rewiring of our brain, literally changing the neuronal pathways and building up the thought screening/detection part of the brain (to where it automatically eliminates alot of the crappy thoughts that are no longer seen as valid - and much of this will be done without even getting into your conscious thought!  Now is that a benefit or is that a benefit?!!).


When we change the chemicals in our body from the stress chemicals to the endorphin chemicals, we automatically feel happier and less stressed.  Cortisol, from stress, kills us.  In the caveman days, we emitted the cortisol to get our rears in gear to save us from a threat - and then we did something that burnt off the chemicals or at least allowed them to recede. 

Physical exercise and/or simply movement help burn off the bad chemicals plus signal the primitive brain that we are in charge and intentionally managing our lives - a signal that causes the primitive brain to have less concern about being able to handle the future (the primitive brain evolved to get us n gear whenever there was any behavior that seemed to be counter to survival, such as passivity and/or not being effective - understand Evolution - And The Logic Of How Our Minds And Bodies Work).

And, if exercise rigorously, the body sends out chemicals for us to handle pain and/or excessive bleeding.   Endorpins are opiates that lessen pain - and they make us feel good.  If someone doesn't have other happiness causers in their life, sometimes those who discover the actual effect of exercise become addicted to the "endorphin high" and exercise too much.  However, moderate, reasonable exercise is what is recommded. 

And it will make you feel better not only directly but also because it gives you a more rhythmic pattern, which is also calming to the brain, because it signals that all is going well and that we are in balance and not threatened by sensing an out of balance, lower functioning state.  (See Maintaining High Functioning Balance.)


In like fashion, without going into alot of technical explanation, the following create a happier state (or at least a less crappier state):

Sitting up straight, standing tall.
Relaxing your cheeks.
Drinking water, at least a half a glass
Gazing with love at a person (to the primitive brain this is very positive)
Smiling (or even sticking a pencil sideways in your teeth, activating some of the same
Breathing slowly and deeply (as mentioned above, but doing it on its own)
Simply stretching and/or relaxing one's muscle.

In fact a major strategy that helps handle stress is so simple that it is an egregious strategic error or oversight not to use it.  We can skip remembering all the others if we only do this.  It is, of course, the wisdom taught from all the discliplines:  to alter the breathing and also the tension/holding in the muscles.  Become an expert at that (which is not at all hard!) and use it regularly (at least checking in hourly, but using it every single time you sense any stress that is not due to an actual emergency - in the latter, we need to move fast to handle the threat, but once the urgency is over, we should use the breathing calming strategy no matter how "bad" the situation is!). 

Also, these are physical in nature in their effects:

Rhythmic music that is close to the heart's rhythm (hard rock and asyncrous music is harmful to the mental state, increasing anxiety also - see Music And Its Effects On Our Bodies And Our Brains).


Although not perfectly, we mostly "know" what is a good physical thing to do to create a particular state of being.  See the example "From Exhausted To Being Strong, Well-Rested In A Few Minutes" in "Metaprograms - Multi-Component Ways To Deal With Things" (don't worry, it's not airy fairy stuff). 


Any "conversation" we have with ourselves that has us feel safer, more competent and powerful, and more appreciative  and/or less threatened will send a signal that the brain will heed.   And if we "practice" (repeat on purpose to program into a habit that occurs automatically and without conscious effort), we will have a "built-in, automatic" mood enhancer. 



"Too much of a good thing..."

Obviously, food is a "good sign" to the primitive brain, but it is an egregious error to not learn when to stop or what not to eat.  (Duh!)  Actually, if you eat healthily, the primitive brain gets a signal that you are actively in charge and managing the situation.  The primitive brain will dog you when you are doing the opposite, when you are not doing good stuff for better survival, and it will make you feel bad, as it tries to motivate you out of the believed survival threat.  The problem is that we also evolved to stock up on certain necessary survival foods since we might not be able to find any soon, as the cavemen did not have a regular supply.  (Duh!)   So we are motivated to have things be tasty (salt up, baby!), to eat fat to store away the energy for famine times, to eat sugar to get energy (and to store away the excess by converting it to fat).  But, I would suggest that you will not starve to death or have any lack of supply.  Therefore, you should be "smart" and stop eating to save yourself from famine, to stop killing yourself by misusing food in the short term.  It is pure substance abuse for us to idiotically miseat and to kill ourselves with bad stuff. 

Of course, to not miseat, we need to learn other strategies that work to placate us.  And the key one, which is quite easy, is just to stop and breathe for a bit, until your stomach says you are sufficiently full or the primitive urge dissipates (takes 90 seconds or up to 12 minutes in certain cases - so just wait it out). 

When we are "upset", sending salt, fat, and sugar into our system helps calm or satisfy the primitive mind that you've stocked up as necessary to avoid famine.  So, we "feel good" (and become overweight and often obese - 2/3 of us in the U.S.) because we have been distracted from our anxieties plus stimulated a neuronal pathway that "feels good".    But notice that the body is then thrown out of balance and that it will go into a panic when the high blood sugar level must be lowered, or the harmful gushing of the blood from high blood pressure (harming the vessel walls and creating tears to cause heart problems), or the liver is bogged down with an impossible task of handling the sludge of fat (etc. and etc.).   So the irony is that we do something to "feel good" that then makes our bodies "feel bad" - and then, even if we try to suppress it, we get a "feeling" that is bad since we've signaled that we are out of control (we criticize ourselves, thereby stimulating the danger alarm system).  If a Martian came down and say what we did, he would say "dude, that is really, really, really stupid and idiotic"  and when he saw how we consoled each other and said it was not really our fault , he would add "geez, is that idiotic to do, conspiring in behaviors that will kill you early - how can you be so stupid to give away many years of life!!!"  But, would we hear him?

The bottomline is:

1.  Use food to make you happy.
2.  Don't use food to make yourself unhappy or to later feel really crappy. 

The irony is that once a person gets rid of the extra salt, sugar, and fat, healthy foods begin to taste better, because the taste buds become more sensitive and work better. 

We just need to ask ourselves "will this make me feel bad later?"   And then heed the answer!