Spirituality and Happiness
While spiritual practices have been used for millennia, the study of how the regular use of those practices impacts our happiness began in the mid 90’s. Neurologists discovered that the human mind retains its plasticity for life – that is the ability to change and reshape itself. By changing your thoughts, you change your brain and how well it functions.
Spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, mindfulness and the inner work to discover the “authentic self,” have been the focus of research by behavioral scientists and neurologists because of their effectiveness at reshaping the mind and treating a variety of mental health issues. The results of these studies show that spiritual practices have a profound effect on happiness.
The impressive list of benefits from the regular use of spiritual practices into your day includes:
- More emotional stability.
- Anxiety replaced by a greater sense of calmness.
- An increase in the natural brain chemistry that supports happiness and well-being.
- A more alert mind with better cognitive function.
- A resistance to mental and physical aging processes.
- A natural healing of emotional wounds and trauma.
What’s most encouraging is that spiritual practices such as mindfulness, have a permanent effect on the brain that increases your ability to experience happiness. Unlike medications or traditional therapy, spiritual practices have the unique ability of actually reshaping the brain for healthier, happier functioning. Spiritual practices are 100% safe and have no side effects. They have the added benefit of having an immediate effect on feelings of calmness and well-being. In other words, they help you feel happier immediately, and the more you practice, the stronger these feelings grow.
Spiritual practices that have been safely used for centuries. They were originally developed to cultivate wisdom. Now they are being incorporated into therapy protocols to treat depression, eating disorders, weight loss, obsessive-compulsive disorders, trauma recovery, PTSD, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, bi-polar disorders, autism spectrum disorders, couples counseling and much more. Not only are they effective, they ‘re more effective than drugs or traditional therapy according to research from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and the University of Pennsylvania Center for Spirituality and the Mind, and the UPA Positive Psychology Center.
Spiritual practices create a mindset for happiness. Because they have such a profound effect on the mind’s ability to heal itself, they adjust what researchers call the set point for happiness, or the genetic temperament. David Lykken, PhD, University of Minnesota professor emeritus of psychology says this about spiritual practices:
“Happiness is genetically influenced but not genetically fixed. If you really want to be happier than your grandparents provided for in your genes, you have to learn the kinds of things you can do, day-by-day, to bounce your set point up and avoid the things that bounce it down.”
That’s where daily spiritual practices come it. You do not need to be a religious person. In fact, many atheists use spirit practices. All that is required is the belief that you are part of something more than yourself.
How to Create a Happier Life with the Enneagram uses spiritual practices that have been proven to be effective in developing happiness skills. The program takes 60 to 90 days of home study to learn the essential skills for a life time of happiness.