Generating happiness, positive emotions and well-being
September 14, 2015
Abraham Lincoln once wisely said: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Turns out this is quite true scientifically! You can decide to take on a habit that literally “makes up” your mind to feel more joy.
One such tool for more happiness is Transcendental Meditation (TM).
What makes the brain “feel” good?
Research shows that people practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique feel more positive emotions and have a higher level of psychological well-being.
On the biological level, this happens because TM practitioners have higher levels of frontal EEG coherence.
EEG is a recording of electrical activity on the brain surface. Frontal EEG coherence reflects structural and functional connections between different brain areas, and correlates with:
- more positive psychological traits (e.g. emotional stability, security, high self-esteem, easiness with others, inner orientation);
- fewer negative psychological traits (e.g. anxiety). 
It has also been demonstrated that, compared to non-meditators, the practitioners of Transcendental Meditation produce around five times greater increase in clarified gamma output at the prefrontal cortical region. 
This is significant because clarified gamma output is associated most with the feelings of love and happiness, and least with stress and disappointment.
How long does it take to rewire your brain?
Luckily, research indicates that it does not take ages to “make up” a happy mind.
A longitudinal study of new Transcendental Meditation practitioners showed that after just 2 months of meditation, frontal broadband coherence was greatly increased – and not only when the subjects were sitting down to meditate. The same was true when they were simply resting or working on a task. 
This means that the positive changes achieved with regular TM practice become stable within an extremely short time. Moreover, the brain stays wired for well-being beyond the 2 x 20 minutes meditation sessions. 
Why does happiness matter?
Besides giving you joy and satisfaction in an emotional sense, feeling happy brings many crucial health benefits, too.
Being consistently able to feel good and content will, among other things:
- boost your immune system;
- help you recover faster from stress (or keep it at bay altogether);
- regulate your overall hormonal balance.
Would you really say no to all that? The decision, remember, is entirely yours: all it takes is to make up your own mind.