How to “grow” happy | Mithu Storoni | TEDxHongKongSalon – YouTube



285 responses »

  1. Mithu Storoni gave a wonderful speech of “How to Grow Happy”. She first gave an example of a happy mouse going through social stress and loses its ability to feel happiness, which helps the audience understand better what her point is and also adds support to her argument. It was not surprising to me that the brain can shrink or enlarge due to our body activity or the way we think. I have heard about this from my high school teacher about how serious study of music will help to enlarge our brains.

    It was interesting to me when she talks about how human like to reason using cause and effect. However, happiness is never the “effect”, therefore, we will not success in trying to find the “cause” of happiness. We obtain happiness by gaining control of our brains, more specifically, our emotions. If we think more about the positive events that happened in life, then the emotion will go the same way.

    In my opinion, controlling my brain or emotion is very difficult. Sometimes it feels like our emotions acts as an individual and just wonders as it pleases. Therefore, I think practicing meditation is a good way to train ourselves to learn how to control our brain and emotions. As I practice meditation regularly, I hope to find myself being able to control my emotions and thoughts more easily.

    Jenny Tsang

  2. I throughly enjoyed this video for its comparisons of the human condition and nature, both in scientific and spiritual ways. The brain is exactly like a plant as Storoni says; I thought this was a truly perfect way to put it. Thinking this way provides a perspective on how the human condition arises from nature despite a contrary belief that it is something completely separate.

    We are constantly bombarded by information given that we are conscious. This means that to be happy, we must be present in everything we do; we must attain the ability to process this information and ciphon it into different parts of the brain. When we are the smaller mouse that Storoni tells us about, we are facing negative stimuli from our environment. I agree with the way she describes to deal with this negative stimulation, that being that we surround ourselves with enriched environments, allowing us the option to grow past these obstacles.

    Ultimately, this talk is a great formula for general happiness. For it to work, we have to be mindful of the variables our existence puts into this equation. We must know what the stimuli in our lives are, and how to process them in a way that benefits our space within and our external environment.

  3. In her talk, “How to ‘grow’ happy”, Mithu Storoni discusses the tug of war between our rational brain and our emotional brain. This metaphor reminded me of what I learned when I practiced Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, in high school. In my group, we often discussed our “emotion mind” and our “rational mind”. Many of us in the group, myself included, found ourselves often controlled and consumed by our emotion minds. We worried constantly about others thought about us and were easily swayed by our emotions. I was surprised when Storoni said that the key to happiness is to embrace out rational brains. I was taught that strictly following our rational mind can be just as damaging as solely following our emotion mind and that true happiness comes when we find a balance between the two and enter “wise mind”. I was taught that if we only listen to our rational mind and think purely in analytics, we lose sight of our emotions, which are a vital part of our existence. Storoni describes our rational brain and our emotional brain as mutually exclusive which doesn’t seem true to life.

    This being said, I enjoyed Mithu Storoni’s talk and I learned a lot about how our brains function. I had no idea that chronic stress could lead to less synapses. I’m encouraged by the idea that the more challenges and novelties we face, the more resilient we will become in the face of stress. I am drawn to the concept of our brains as living things that we need to nurture. I also liked what she had to say about our inner selves and our outer selves. I believe that if we don’t live our lives as our true selves, if we hide behind disguises, then true happiness will evade us.

  4. The video was a TedTalk from author and scientist Mithu Storoni, discussing her thoughts on “How to Grow Happy.” Storoni starts by discussing how a stressed brain shrinks, and how when one puts in the effort to overcome their issues, the brain can become permanently stronger. The most interesting part of the TedTalk, however, was when she talked about the expectations put on people by society, and how the inner self disguises them so that they can fit in. Storoni suggests that at the center of these subconscious disguises are our growing brains and inner child, who need to be given care in order to achieve the goal of happiness.
    The way she explains the struggle of the brain to maintain growth while also being at peace was very easy for me as a viewer to understand, and made total sense. She broke down the synaptic activity in the prefrontal cortex, and how stress creates a negative reaction very well. Storoni also gives hope, by ultimately saying that if we choose to focus on what we know is good for us, and not give in to the negativity, that we will be able to achieve happiness.
    Personally, I agree with much of what Storoni had to say. I think that making self improvements takes time, and hard work. It is something that requires focus and determination, as well as stepping outside of one’s comfort zone so that one can adapt to new situations. The mouse experiment example that she used in the beginning speaks to this strongly. One cannot improve their mind by simply avoiding things that cause them unease, they must learn to overcome them. That being said, one cannot be in constant unease, and must have a place of comfort, but should be able to rise to challenge when required.

    Josh Sandler, Monday 6:30 class

  5. Jelan Winston
    SUNY Purchase
    Yoga – Monday Session

    This was a genuinely intriguing Ted Talk. Everything she said made complete sense to me, if you are unhappy with your life, it probably has something to do with how you handle your problems. Feelings of negativity and discontent manifest whenever you feel like you are not doing your outmost in regards to work and your social life. And how we overcome these problems greatly influences our state of being at all times. A happy person is more likely a person that when faced with adversity is open to figuring out a solution and being proactive. Procrastination, laziness and general apathy plague all people and it’s the exceptional ones, the successful ones and the happy ones who tend to be the most at ease and comfortable in their day to day life.

  6. The biggest takeaway from this talk that I resonated most with is to never forget your inner child. I believe that society has an illusory nature to it, characterized by a set of values that we all adopt that don’t align with our true, authentic values. In other words, when we grow up we lose sight of our own desires and values and adopt a front, or fake personality in order to be accepted by society. For example, Johnny may have loved playing with dolls as a child. However, growing up, he learned from social cues that it was “bad” or “wrong” for boys to play with dolls. Johnny then puts up a front and pretends he likes other things that adhere towards standardized social values. I believe this is the biggest cause of unhappiness and strips individuals from their individuality. I believe everyone should take time to become self-aware about certain behaviors that they adopted in order to gain validation from society. The fulfillment of your inner child’s desires will set you free, not anyone else’s.
    Another point that I found very relatable was the notion that there is a constant tug of war game going on between the rational part of your brain and the logical one. An example of this can be understood when looking at the behaviors of a drug addict. A drug addict can rationally know that doing drugs is ruining his/her life, but the emotions will drive the person towards doing the drugs, despite the logical understanding. I find that I make the worst and most impulsive decisions when my emotions are high, and I am blinded by any consequence. Emotions can be illusory as well. For example, you may say or do something out of character or unethical when you are angry; But shortly after when your emotions settle back down, you regret everything you have just said because you are not in that emotional state anymore and are now aware of the consequences. Thus, the key to optimizing this tug of war is to focus on certain goals by detaching from emotions. By this I do not mean escaping from emotions by distracting yourself. I mean not giving emotions too much importance and making decisions from more of a rational, grounded head space.
    Lastly, the idea that chronic stress hinders neurogenesis caught my attention. I have been recently undergoing a lot of stress because of various events taking in my life. However, I need to change by perspective of these events by seeing them as challenges I can overcome, rather circumstances that are just beating me into the ground ruthlessly. Everyone experience stress, but how stress affects you is determined by how you deal with it or how you perceive it.

  7. I honestly loved this video. It all makes so much sense and the speaker does a great job presenting the information. It is very interesting to learn about the different parts of the brain and how they are in competition with each other (the rational and emotional). I also found the part about rest and good nutrition interesting as well. I feel as though we mainly associate a healthy diet and rest with our physical health; it would make sense that it would impact our mental health as well! I also really enjoyed the part about challenge, novelty and attention. I personally really enjoy reading in my free time, but sometimes I feel distracted by external thoughts and feelings (the emotional part of my brain as the speaker, Mithu Storoni put it). I think this is something everyone has experienced. I would very much like to get to the point where I can disengage the emotional part, so that I can put all of my attention toward learning and accomplishing goals. I think it makes sense that challenging ourselves would in the long run aid in our happiness. I think the hardest part is getting over the initial hurdle of seeking out that challenge.

    Matthew Alioto
    wednesday 8:30 am class

  8. Stephanie Poborsky
    Professor Julie Broglin
    Yoga Wednesday 8:30 Session

    Happiness, is a word I hear, it’s a word I use when asking someone, “are you happy?” There is a lot to take from this video, the fact that happiness really affects us and our precious brain in the long run. The example of the mouse was very eye opening, and it makes so much sense. Taking it into my own experiences, I can see how the emotional aspect of the cute little mouse, would go downhill from being surrounded by a grumpy mean mouse.

    My mother always told me, the people I surround myself with, will show in the way I act. If I surrounded myself with people who are rude or bossy towards others or even to themselves, I could adopt some of these characteristics. Surrounded myself with people who are angry and pessimistic, will show in the way I act, and this is why today, I surround myself with people that are positive, funny, and smiling constantly. Sure people will have days, where they might feel sad or not all into it, and I do believe that this is okay and also part of the learning experience of life, and what it could throw at you.
    The part of the video that got to me was when she states, “Happiness comes from our experience of the event” which makes sense. I went to my first Panic! At the Disco concert and I was so happy after the concert was over, … but I was also so happy to go see them before the event took place. There is that aspect of me, as a person feeling happiness not only after an event. I believe that surrounding yourself with positivity really makes up a lot of happiness that is brought forth in ones day to day life.

    • The lasStephanie Poborsky
      Professor Julie Broglin
      Yoga Wednesday 8:30 Session

      Happiness, is a word I hear, it’s a word I use when asking someone, “are you happy?” There is a lot to take from this video, the fact that happiness really affects us and our precious brain in the long run. The example of the mouse was very eye opening, and it makes so much sense. Taking it into my own experiences, I can see how the emotional aspect of the cute little mouse, would go downhill from being surrounded by a grumpy mean mouse.

      My mother always told me, the people I surround myself with, will show in the way I act. If I surrounded myself with people who are rude or bossy towards others or even to themselves, I could adopt some of these characteristics. Surrounded myself with people who are angry and pessimistic, will show in the way I act, and this is why today, I surround myself with people that are positive, funny, and smiling constantly. Sure people will have days, where they might feel sad or not all into it, and I do believe that this is okay and also part of the learning experience of life, and what it could throw at you.

      The part of the video that got to me was when she states, “Happiness comes from our experience of the event” which makes sense. I went to my first Panic! At the Disco concert and I was so happy after the concert was over, … but I was also so happy to go see them before the event took place. There is that aspect of me, as a person feeling happiness not only after an event. I believe that surrounding yourself with positivity really makes up a lot of happiness that is brought forth in ones day to day life.
      t paragraph should ha

  9. Mithu Storoni starts her Ted Talk by asking the audience if they think it would be amazing to live a life where you could always have fun and be happy. Everyone, to no surprise, answered yes. Through the Ted Talk Storoni talks about being happy and the chemical reaction that goes on in your brain to create happiness. She discusses the experiment she conducted on mice where she would take a happy and optimistic mouse in a cage with a grumpy unamused mouse. Through this experiment she discovered that over time the once happy mouse soon loses its ability to have pleasure and as a result, its brain shrinks. She talks about the importance of synaptic activity in the brain and we need that synaptic activity in order to be happy and the only thing that stops synaptic activity is stress. At the end, she reiterates the three things we need to do in order to achieve happiness which were that, we need grow, take control of our lives and don’t forget the child within you.

    It was really interesting learning about happiness and the science behind it. I have never really thought of being happy as a scientific experience however, now I have learned that multiple things have to go on in your brain just to feel happy. The mouse experiment was very intriguing, while listening to the experiment I did not expect the end result to be that the mouse’s brain shrunk, I was actually really surprised to hear that as the result.

    Taking a psychology class in my freshman year, we talked a lot about synaptic activity and the different parts of the brain however it was interesting to learn more in depth about happiness and the things that go on in your brain in order to achieve it. It makes a lot of sense that the only thing that really stops synaptic activity in the brain is stress, because when I think of times that I was really stressed about something, I was not thinking happy thoughts. Overall, she expresses a powerful message that I am glad I was able to listen to and I think this is something that more people should think of in order to live overall happier lives.
    -Ashley Pagan

  10. So far, this class has given me so many different tools and resources on working towards a healthier life. I have been focusing more on my health and living a happier life.

    When she talked about how happiness isn’t because of cause and effect but the experience, I thought about my life and how sometimes I use a smile and a facade of happiness to lie to myself about and try to convince myself and others that I am happy. And overall I think I am a decently happy person but myself, and I’m sure others, have had to use this mask of happiness at some point. I have noticed some patterns in my life as well that have made me either happy or sad. As I grow older and experience life a little more, I noticed that I had more long term events and experiences that have made me happier. When you are younger, you aren’t trying to please people as much. You are who you are meant to be. But as you grow, you start this never ending comparison to others.

    Recently though, I have been working and focus on my emotional and physical health. I’ve started running more and I’ve noticed that the adrenaline that exercising lets off is super beneficial. Your body and brain is lazy, like she said, and when you’re lazy, you don’t have any good energy flowing through your body. Yoga wakes up an energy in you. So does working out. And these to activities can help you live a happier life.

    I have always lived by the quote “Never lose your inner child”. I think children are the best kinds of humans. They are always themselves and will fight for themselves. I recently saw this video of these 3 children fighting over whether the water falling from sky was called “rain” or “sprinkling” because that was what their mom told them. They don’t know any better then to not go with their gut and believe what they believe and be themselves.

  11. Being happy is probably what 90% of the world’s goal in life is, to be happy and have a good life seem to go hand in hand with eachother. When we’re first born and are still babies/toddlers is when people are at their happiest because they don’t have any responsibility or care, they just exist and us trying to be happy is just trying to get back to the feeling of being a kid, I know that when i think of “happiness” the first images that come into my mind are of myself when i was 3-4 years old. From what she said in the video “each of us has a child in our souls” I feel that I’m pretty accurate with my thought process on this as, even if someone didn’t have an ideal childhood, they most likely have an idea of what a good childhood “should” be like from movies or tv shows, and try to capture the happiness portrayed by them.

  12. This video was about looking at happiness in a different way. Instead of viewing it as something to achieve once you do something or once something happens to you, view it as something you are innately regardless of external sources. It also looked at the way we respond to challenges, comparing us to a plant that grows as it comes across new challenges. New challenges create new synapses in the brain as we react to the experience and, once we overcome said challenge, have upgraded and grown our brain. This video talked about our “autobiography” going on in our head. It also addressed the group mentality complex that human beings face and the disguise it brings to us in order for us to fit in, which ultimately causes unhappiness.

    I think that last part especially is very important and relevant more and more as we all get older. We all want to fit in in early developmental stages due to surrounding pressures and, not that this becomes stronger *necessarily* as we grow, but we at least hang onto this idea from our younger years and it can at times mask who we are, our values, or our dreams, which stunts our growth and throws a wrench in our happiness.

    I am working on that idea that happiness is not something that needs to be waited for to be achieved, that you don’t need to wait until you get the right job, wait until you’re out of school, wait for the weekend. Happiness is something that buds inside of you and radiates to those around you, regardless of what is happening outside your self. My sister has always been good at creating that happiness within her. Sure, she gets frustrated or stressed out or upset like the rest of us, but when I am around her, she does not spend her time complaining of the awful things going on in her life, and I know that there are some awful things. She instead makes people smile and is grateful for where she is at, and I think we could all use more of that! It is true that challenges can make you grow and make you into a better person, but it’s not the challenges, themselves, but how you choose to deal with them.

  13. I think that it’s always interesting to learn about how our emotional state affects the brain. I thought that it was interesting seeing that this affect of stress is true in many different animals, like mice. Learning about the parts of the brain and how they function was also fascinating. I think it’s even more interesting to see how these parts affect the whole, and how the emotional brain tries to bring our brain to the negative.

    Realizing that stress and our emotional health can affect our physical being too was a bit scary! Synapses and brain cells not renewing growth as fast due to stress was something I had never even really thought of. The reduction of neurogenesis was something I didn’t even realize could happen, let alone happen in different ways depending on the conditions of the subject’s environment. The ideas of nutrition and rest are also really affective in the health of the brain. I don’t ever really think of my brain as growing or changing, or even an organ that is actively functioning.

    Overall this reminded me of the idea that when you get older you should still be active and keep your brain sharp, which is something my grandma always talks about. I also thought of the iPhone video games that claim to help work out your brain. This video made me wonder how well these kind of games and activity actually work, vs the “environmental enrichment” the video talks about.

  14. In our society we really never are questioning whether we are happy. We are given this type of guideline that consists of school, relationships, status, money, and so on. This video really hits close to home because the struggle to truly be happy is a constant in my own life and those who are near and dear to me. I like this video because it questions and asks us what brings joy and to understand how to view a situation and how it affects our internal and emotional state.
    It’s interesting because happiness to us may not always be so hard to achieve. We must think of the things that matter most to us, may it be family, love, friends, or any type of artistic outlet. But the truth is that we may struggle how to allow ourselves to experience or allow ourselves to welcome this type of happiness into our lives, especially in a world that is so incredibly fast paced and competitive. This video is a really interesting and helpful video but it also hits personal points for myself and I’m sure other who watch this video. The fact is that we struggle to maintain our happiness and find the right type of balance while trying to please not only our goals and inner self but those around us. It is the fact of being able to say, “I love myself”, and learn to put yourself first in order to make room for others in your life.
    This video is very helpful because it requires self reflection and questions that we may not always necessarily want to personally answer for ourselves or simply ignore. If a plant grows in a location where there is sun, positive words spoken to it and space, then why wouldn’t you give that to yourself? I like the connection with other living things because it can be so simple for those things while with us we tend to over complicate things.

  15. Happiness is very much a conundrum according to Mithu Storoni. I think a very common flaw amongst humans is that we tend to always want to make infinite things tangible. It seems to be in our nature to capture and simplify phenomenons that we find interesting or enjoy. When really we should be grateful for the moments that we do get to experience these things. Feelings like happiness are never meant to be caged and taken from whenever we feel like it or overindulged in to the point where we don’t appreciate its value anymore. Storoni explains the “mystery” behind what causes happiness and our obsession with wanting to apply whatever answers we come up with to everyone. This will never be achieved because 1)happiness is not simply just caused by singular things and 2) we are happy because of how we experienced something or how our various journeys end.

    When Mithu begins to explain how the experiment of the happy and grumpy mouse causes the happy mouses’ brain to shrink, something clicked. This further proves illnesses like depression are so much deeper than people like to admit. When we are unhappy or placed in an unhappy environment, it affects our brain. The constant tug of war between our rational and emotional brains can have very detrimental effects. In the case of someone’s brain who suffers from depression, I would like to think the emotional brain tends to win. Everything we perceive is inflated and will affect us in a way that normally it may not have.

    I also had the question of how do we make our brains resilient? How do we train our brains to grow and withstand heavy amounts of stress and not to shrink? Connecting back to the reading about mindfulness and practicing that, we must “water our roots”. If you want your brain to grow and become stronger, you must nurture it like a plant. We have to give our brain reason and challenge and motivate it to form new synapses and become a form of itself it has never been.

  16. “Are you happy?” you hear that question a lot. Mithu Storoni says ‘Happiness comes from our experience of the event.’ [1] Not the event itself.
    From what she says, to be happy and to stay happy you need to surround yourself with happy. So that when something negative is introduced into your surroundings you are able to react less negatively. To be able to deal with the issue or stress in a logical manner and return to your ‘happy’ much quicker.
    A tug-of-war is going on in your brain between your rational brain and your emotional brain, and the way she explained it surprised me and I am not sure why. We are programmed to react to negativity; the emotional brain makes us negatively interpret most daily interactions. So that means that the rational brain is always having to drag our psyche back on to a rational path. So whichever side of your brain is winning, colors your view of an experience, I have found this to be true. I have had the same ‘thing’ happen multiple times and have dealt with it in entirely different ways depending on if I am looking at it from a rational point or an emotional point. I have noticed that it is easier to move on when I have dealt with the situation in a rational rather than an emotional way.
    Mithu Storoni goes on to talk about people who meditate. ‘Meditators are happier people. Because as soon as they choose what to bestow their attention on, they disengage their emotional brain…’ [1] So it is up to us. We can choose to be happy, keep giving our brains new and different things to deal with, and work out different ways to deal with similar problems.
    We have to choose ‘where to shine the spotlight.’ [1]


    Polly Hunt
    Monday 6:30 PM Class

    • Yes I always say once you have experienced the yogic tools it’s then a matter of choice, to suffer or shift via yoga/kriya/pranayama and create and own your balance and peace, Namaste

  17. I love the introduction of Mithu Storoni’s “How to Grow Happy” TED talk. Especially when she mentions how there are some people in the world who simply always have a smile internally and externally, no matter what he or she may be going through. Happiness never comes from the consequence of the event, it comes from the happiness of the event.
    To test out this ideology, two mice were used, one of a happiness stature, and the other with an extremely grumpy attitude, put into a cage, and studied over a few weeks. Turns out, the results of the grumpy mouse, was that his brain literally shrunk, because he was unable to feel pleasure.
    Whether we know this or not, our brain absorbs everything we encounter. It is up to ourselves to not let the emotional part of our brain take over and control our rational side. Once this is mastered, true happiness can be reached.

  18. I have always tried to be a positive light when surrounded by people of any kind, regardless of how negative or positive they happen to be. Not in the sense of changing my emotions or reactions for other people, but just in the sense of trying to be the better person and build people up. I definitely have, however, felt brought down by other more negative people after a while regardless of my own mood.
    In relation to my own life, a certain person in my own life has been acting very negatively and has been very down. I try to help this person as best I can, but I have realized that surrounding myself with people who have a more positive outlook naturally, like I feel that I do, is more beneficial considering it is quite difficult to change a person’s point of view permanently especially if they are very stubborn and stuck in their ways, which this person is. If I start to take care of my own happiness rather than trying to adjust other peoples’ feelings, I can start being a better version of myself.
    She related happiness, also, to connecting with your inner child. I found this very enlightening because I often find myself questioning whether or not my carefree attitude is “mature enough” for people. This is also an issue of caring about others’ perception, which I am still getting better at, but I also think that relating happiness to your “inner child,” and emotions and feelings connected with childhood and everything that comes with that, including being carefree and happy, is very optimistic and a different way of processing what happiness is. As a child, we have many things that could lead us to be unhappy which are more simplistic and the more complex aspects of life do not yet impact us as much as they do when we come to understand them as adults. Therefore, true happiness comes a bit easier to children because because they are able to more easily brush off heavier topics, either because they do not yet fully understand them or do not care to understand them, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, regardless of age.
    If people utilize this sort of child’s perspective to find happiness and come to terms with these bigger issues that may be out of their control, in other words, coming to terms with these issues and understanding that it is not their job to fix everything, then people may find happiness in themselves more easily and focus on building themselves into a stronger person. I believe that through this mentality, people can more easily comes to terms with the issues that are out of their control and find acceptance in those things in their own way.

    -Daniel J. Tavares Zlock

  19. Purchase College
    Professor Julie Broglin
    Yoga – CRN 42496 – Wednesday 8:30 Session
    Ana Oliveira

    How to Grow Happy

    It is interesting how everything in life finds its way to us, or maybe we find our way to things. I am currently writing my Capstone, and my essay is on “Disney, the Culture of Happiness and the Power of Dreaming – Analysis of Disney’s Culture and Positive Values.” I decided to work on this subject because although for some people it might sound superficial, it is actually a very important subject. People forget how to have fun and forget how important it is to have fun. Years ago I was going through a hard time, and my sister introduced me to a program or a philosophy called “The Secret”.
    This philosophy is based on the power of the mind – the power of positive thoughts. There is a little clip of the video, called “Gift” – which is a collection of positive affirmations. One of them goes like this: “I take time to laugh and play every day”. I love this affirmation. It really struck me the first time I heard. Until that moment I always thought that life was not meant to be easy and if one didn’t give it all to work on his or her obligations, he would not deserve good results. That kind of thought could not be more ungenerous and unfair. Since that day then, I have to repeat this affirmation, I have been indeed having time to laugh and play every day (or at least most of my days).

    And this is the whole point of the talk presented by to Mithu Storoni – in my opinion. The neuroscientist explains that Happiness is never the consequence of the event. Happiness comes from our experience of the event. If we enjoy the event we feel happy, if we cannot enjoy, we feel gloomy.

    According to the Storoni, for us to be able to understand happiness we need to study the brain – physically. In the talk, Storoni explained that the scientists scanned the brain of a mouse during a joyful experience and scanned again after the experience gets negative and the brain no longer can feel pleasure. They then compared the scans which showed that the brain visually shrinks when the person is sad.

    Also, the scientist talked about the medial temporal lobe (the region in our brain that regulates emotions. One of the important areas in the medial temporal lobe is called the hippocampus- which is responsible for our memory. Hippocampus is where we store all our long-term memory and our emotions overall. What Storoni also mentioned in the talk was the frontal cortex, which is responsible for our cognitive skills, our ability to solve problems and it is based on memory too. Both areas are where the synapsis in our brain occur. Synapsis is responsible for keeping the electrical signals working in our brain. Her point with that was to explain that these two parts together act as a team and are responsible for our rationalization. When they work in sync, we can be rational about the daily situations and problems that we encounter daily. Stress effects and stops synapse and reduces the neurogenesis (which is the growth and development of the nervous tissue).
    In my opinion, this experiment is extremely important. It shows that emotions play a huge role in our lives. If bad emotions freeze the ability to think rational, shrinks our brain, and put us in a cycle of negativity and struggle, we have to make sure that we have healthy habits, such as proper rest, proper nutrition and exercise. Also, we have to make sure to keep our brain engaged and working learning things every day for that our brain sees challenges as nutrition and that nutrition maintains it healthy. A great way to keep our minds thinking positive is doing meditation because the brain cannot engage in two different emotions at the same time, and meditating directs our brain away from worries and negative feelings.

    Also, the Neuroscientist reminded us that we should keep alive the 2-year old that we have inside of us – so let’s work on making good memories and having joyful and positive experiences. Great argument to use on my Capstone, I guess. Disney is a great place to build happy memories with friends and family, so if you are looking for something that can make you keep your 2-year-old inner-self alive, I recommend a trip to Disney. : )

  20. The concept of happiness is a tricky subject, to me at least. I have struggled with the true feeling of happiness. It is still something I am searching after and have not fully understood, but I intend on hopefully being completely happy in the near future, or a genuinely positive and radiant human being. . Though, it was very interesting to learn about the physiological effects stress and happiness have on the brain and how fragile and vulnerable of an organ it truly is. The brain is capable of many amazing things, but to do so one has to treat it well. One of the points in the video that particularly stood out to me is when she talked about the brain becoming resilient in stressful situations, which I felt connected to because even though not the best method, I tend to do some of my best work, particularly for my creative writing major, in more stressful times. I’ve become more aware through these assignments that the body is like a temple, and my brain needs proper treatment to function well and improve my mental health such as overall becoming a more positive person.

    I was recently told by a friend who practices the religion of Islam, that God did not put us on Earth to be happy, but rather to serve him. I thought about this idea for awhile and it captivated me for a long time, because maybe people struggle with finding happiness, when they should really be searching for a sense of fulfillment. However, it is still massively important to take care of one’s self. The state of true happiness and the identification of being happy is just as the video states, a mystery. There is not a designated path that leads us to the true state of happiness, which is why this is a hard concept for me to completely understand. One must live and learn through one’s experiences and grow as a person.

    I found this video to be motivational because it emphasizes the importance of keeping a positive attitude and a healthy environment. The importance of a good environment, which I personally resonated with. If I am in a stressful or sad space I always find I tend to take on those emotions. At times I find myself slipping into a negative mindset, heavily focusing on what is going wrong instead of being optimistic. Though, through yoga I feel like I have started to grow as a person and have started to shift toward being a more genuinely positive person. Being in a new more positive environment may also have a large impact on this as well. Especially with the practice of the Isha Kriya; it is one of the very few times in my day where I can solely focus on myself and release all the stress I have built up since the last time I practiced and to also help me sleep, which I believe is another crucial factor in improving your overall happiness.
    Abby Collins

  21. I very much enjoyed this video, as it offered a new perspective to things that I have thought about in the past. The experiment with mice demonstrates how important happiness is to learning and growth. If you are emotionally compromised, you obviously cannot focus on the bettering of yourself and processing your emotions. The ability to choose happiness and letting the child inside you be exposed was impactful to me as well. Many people have a midlife crisis due to the realization that they are simply doing what they’re “supposed to” be doing, without a consideration for what makes them happy themselves. If people didn’t care about societal norms as much, then the world would be a far better place to live.

    I also enjoy the emphasis of this video on the importance of challenging yourself and exposing yourselves to new things. Whenever I’m not busy, I always find that I fall into a rut in terms of creating new things and staying happy. When I am surrounded by friends who do new things every day, or when I’m learning and creating new things as part of my studies, I am almost always happier by a factor of many.

    This video helped me to realize that happiness and growth are inherently linked. By choosing to be happy you can grow, and by choosing to grow you can maintain happiness. They create a snowball effect with one another, and lead to a development of you as a happy, healthy person. I will always do my best to view life from a positive lens, even with dealing with less than positive things, and hopefully grow from the various processes of life no matter what they are.

  22. Mithu Storoni shares with us a wonderful talk on the ideas behind happiness and where happiness stems from and the tug of war between our rational brain and our emotional brain, while including her own theories and scientific facts on how our brains work and are wired. She tells us that happiness is never the consequence of an event, it comes from the experience of an event. She then gives us the example of a mean mouse and a happy mouse in a cage. The happy mouse’s brain is healthy and fine to begin with but after being in the cage with the mean mouse for a while the happy mouse begins to keep to them self and becomes isolated, sad and depressed. If you look at the mouse’s brain after its experience living with the mean mouse then you can see that its brain has shrunk and the same is the case for humans! This structural change occurs because of what is occurring in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex and these two parts of our brain NEED synaptic activity. Because all that we know is in a synapse, and if anything in our life puts a hold on synaptic activity then these two areas are affected as well as out our learning and memory. One thing that hinders our synaptic activity is stress, chronic and intense stress stop synaptic formation (and in the mouse reduced neurogenesis, which is the formation of new brain cells. I think this is important to note because we are constantly put in stressful situations in life and can be easily overwhelmed by all that is going on in our lives. Wether its work, school, friends, family, food or our own mental and physical health we can easily become stressed out and if this goes unrecognized and we continue to put ourselves through stressful situations while not eating right or sleeping enough we can fall into a depression, because of the lack of synaptic formation. But Mithu doesn’t leave us here with just the facts behind how we can become depressed and why our brains shrink but she goes on to tell us how to “grow” our brain, just like a plant! Some things she tells us are that rest, nutrition and exercise increase neuroplasticity and how we have to think of our brain as a lazy creature and we have to present it with a challenge to rise to to create new synapses, as well as environmental enrichment. I love her imagery and comparisons and overall think this ted talk is super informative ( I forwarded it to some friends and family) and helpful in understanding depression and how to combat it!! Last but not least, one part that stood out to me was when she told the audience to never forget the little child inside of ourselves. This stood out to me because I have said the same thing, where I have gotten a strange faint feeling that reminds me that I am the same person as I was when I was young or that i come across that that young 5 year old inside of me. So I thought this was interesting that she said this! Namaste

  23. This video talks about numerous different things. She starts off by discussing the brain and the ways in which it grows and/or shrinks. If we use our brains in positive ways then we create new synapses that in turn will help us navigate through life stresses without “shrinking” our brains. She also discuses the ways in which we live our lives through a disguise. By living our lives in this way we are not fulfilling our true goals, and ambitions. We then come to the realization, sometimes too late in life that we are unhappy.

    I have been fortunate enough to have learned a long time ago how to be happy. It started by a saying I heard. “The goal is not to find someone to make you happy, but find someone in which to share your happiness with”. Although this saying is more towards relationships, I’ve used it in every aspect of life. Not looking for things to make me happy but being happy and enjoying those things because of that. I find that living in this way makes life a much more enjoyable thing. Happiness is something that comes from within, not something external.

    Boris Yanez

  24. This talk worked to uncover the mystery of happiness. As humans, we work through events in a cause and effect manner. When we know happiness is the effect, we want to replicate the cause that prompted it. But the speaker explains that happiness doesn’t come from an event soley, but rather our experience of the event. She references a study with mice, in which a healthy and happy mouse was removed from its fulfilling environment and placed in a new environment: a cage, with a solitary, bigger, and more hostile mouse. Over time, the smaller mouse loses its ability to find pleasure. Furthermore, on closer examination, it was found that the mouse’s brain shrank. To my surprise (and the audience’s) this happens in humans too! The hippocampus (responsible for intelligence ) and the prefrontal cortex (responsible for analysis) create the brain’s center for learning and memory and keep our perceptions rational. However, this rational team plays a constant tug-of-war with our emotional side of the brain that tends to pull the mind into negativity. The greater influence from one side or the other determines one’s experience. In addition, the speaker explains synapses, which are junctions between brain cells and hold all the mind’s information. Both emotions and rational thinking form these synapses. Stress pauses this synaptic formation, and in the mouse’s case, the social stress reduced neurogenesis which caused the shrunken brain. When the mouse was returned to its happy life, and then back to the life that presented stress, the brain no longer shrunk because the mouse recognized the stress and was able to better cope with it. In order to make the brain resilient in this way, we need to treat it like a living thing by providing ourselves with the right nutrition, enough rest, and enough challenge and novelty. Challenges allow us to form new synapses as we problem solve and assess situations that are unique. Novelty is about learning new information, and a new way of thinking, so synapses are also formed. Both of these require attention–you cannot concentrate unless full focus is provided and emotions are set aside to allow these rational thoughts and information grasping to be the truest story. This is why meditation is so key: we empty emotional pulls as we let go, focusing on the breath. She wraps up this talk by reminding us we were all children at one point, capable of expressing our thoughts as they came, honestly and spontaneously. But as we grew, we desired a place in a societal group, causing us to put layers and layers of disguise up to fit in. It’s why many adults have midlife crises–for so long we have neglected our true selves, and this disconnect becomes too heavy to carry and we must retreat.

    This article was incredibly helpful for issues I’ve been dealing with recently. For my senior project, I am exploring personal memories and my childhood with an installation of objects, drawings, and journal entries that are still represent my character today. Looking through all of these saved objects, I am nostalgic and confronting good and bad memories. The idea that I have the power to write my memories and allow rational thinking to guide a true and positive autobiography is such an interesting idea, as well as the future just being a projection of past experiences. I love that, I will definitely be referencing this video as I consider the thesis portion of the project. And too, I will be considering how I am interpreting my present, because I may return to these experiences happening right now, so i must consciously guide myself to seeking and recording truth.

    Pretty crazy, this article could not have come at a better time. Another piece of my research incorporates how my type of childhood couldn’t exist anymore with technology shaping the new way of growing up (interactive games, apps, etc.). I read an article in the New York Times about how important it is that children “stay bored” and learn to cope without the constant influx of stimuli that seems to be so essential to today’s young generations. This allows children to confront who they really are and develop their characters, which will impact their sense of awareness in adulthood. This ties in with the disguises we put up to fit in as we grow, but it is scary to think they could start as early as when the child is developing.

  25. Mithu Storoni talks about how our brain functions in regards to happiness. The example she gave was how when they put a mouse that was happy in a cage with a grumpy one after a week or so the little happy mouse started to become unhappy. This example reminded me of the movie “The Secret”. The movie explains how our mind and thoughts are the reasons things happen in our life. If you are constantly being negative and thinking bad things – everything will go wrong. The way the movie explains it is that the universe hears your thoughts so you get what you put out there.
    The explained having a vision board and putting things that you want in life on that board. I can truly say that I changed my mentality and things that I was asking for after months of thinking it actually happened to me. I think it is very important to stay positive and surround yourself with positive people. I actually stopped hanging out with a good friend of mine because of her negativity. She was always so miserable and complaining about everything and all she wanted was money that when I was around her I could feel that and I remember feeling grumpy and just found myself complaining. I had to limit myself from hanging out with her so I wouldn’t feel negative. For the most part, I try to remain positive and just appreciate what I have vs. things that I do not have.

    Mon 630pm

  26. This was a very interesting TED talk to watch. She explains that happiness is not the result of an event, but rather how we experience said event. She discusses an experiment where a mouse is forced into conditions that remove the ability to feel pleasure. Scientists discovered that compared to the mouse’s brain at the beginning of the experiment, its brain after completing the experiment was much smaller. This is due to the stressful conditions it was put under. The stress hindered the brain’s ability to create new synapses, and the neuroplasticity was negatively affected. This, along with the inability to generate new brain cells, is what caused the mouse’s brain to shrink. It was shocking to learn that humans also experience this structural change, specifically in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, which together are the center for memory. These two parts of the brain create our rational perception of the world. On the opposite end, the emotional part of the brain, centered around the amygdala, is in a constant struggle with the rational part. Once the emotional part starts winning, it draws our minds into perceiving the world in a negative way and we become unhappy. To enhance or encourage neuroplasticity in our brains, it is important to give it the proper nutrients, rest, and exercise it needs. Additionally, your brain needs to be challenged to think in new ways. Focusing your attention on one thing is also beneficial, as doing so forces your mind to exclude the emotional pull you may feel. Meditation is helpful with this, as when one sits down and chooses to meditate, they cognitively choose to focus their attention on a singular experience and empty their brains of emotional clutter. Lastly, the speaker discusses our DMN. This is a summary of our entire life experiences, internal and external, that is constantly being written and updated in our brains. The more negativity enters our brain, the more unhappy our lives will be. If we fill our DMN with positivity, the happier we will be.
    Learning about your own brain is an essential step to leading a happier life that many people overlook. Knowing what is happening biologically can be extremely helpful when trying to make a change. I acknowledge that I don’t give my brain everything it needs to be happy and healthy. I could definitely challenge it more in order to increase neuroplasticity and synapse creation. I can relate to what the speaker says about meditators being able to focus their attention on one thing. Since the beginning of this course, practicing my IK multiple times a week has forced my brain to empty itself of distracting emotional clutter, and the 12 minutes spent meditating is usually the only time of the day that I’m not trying to focus on multiple things at once.

  27. The human brain is truly remarkable. It does not surprise me that it can grow and shrink based on our happiness. The part of her talked that resonated was that we need to hold on to the state of happiness we experienced as a two year old child.

    Below is a video of Mo Gawdat talking about his book “Solve for Happy: Engineering Your Path to Joy”. He said that humans start out with a “default to happiness” – humans are happiest when they were children. He compares our default to happiness to that of a new smart phone at default settings; a phone that would work perfectly fresh out of the box…but then it is the additions of apps we add that might lead us astray. He asks us to find the intrinsic value to happiness. He said “happiness is the absence of unhappiness.” He said the common denominator of unhappiness is when an event in life misses our expectations. He created a formula – Happiness > Events – Expectations. Happiness is greater or equal to events of your life minus our expectations of how we think our life should be. A very thought provoking lecture and equally thought provoking book.

  28. When it comes to the way we as humans make decisions, ration and emotion are the two ruling forces. Theres a constant battle of power between these two because one can taught to think rationally and have a very detached connection to their emotional side when it comes to decision making or their actions. Then if someone is used to using their emotional mind to act, they end up being impulsive or irrational. There needs a to be a balance between the two to benefit us when we act because usually we are always to adapt to some type of false state of being to be adapted to society. We always end up forgetting to be self-aware and focus on our own needs and desires and not letting society structure and enforce those things.

    It becomes a struggle o try and align all of things to create a balance, though I believe the bets way is to be driven by both logic and emotion. If you become self aware of yourself and your emotions, you can act based on a grounded and logical actions. Our desires and emotions need to be acknowledged so we can better understand our selves and execute actions and behaviors to help benefit us. Usually when we ignore these things, we end up becoming a lot more frustrated with everything and it turns out negatively.

    The mention of chronic stress is very appropriate for this, because stress will cause negative emotions which affects us greatly. When we are under stress, our body is under a continuous strain, our brain is being worn out. We tire ourselves out and his results inn us not processing this well and negative moods. We all experience stress but we all deal with it differently. I myself do everything I can to never make myself feel like I’m rushing whenever I’m stressed. Once I’m done completing whatever task that had stressed me, I would take action to calm down and bring myself to a better relaxed state.

  29. This video talks about how we can be happy all the time. Happiness isn’t something that is a consequence of an event, but instead the experience of an event. What this means is that what you are doing is what is bringing you joy, not based off of the past of an event. The mouse experiment is a good example of how someone’s joy will decrease while in the presence of people who aren’t experiencing joy. It started pulling apart the mind and the rational over emotional sides of the brain and how the emotional side tries to override the rational side. With that, more and more people think about negative situations over positive situations, ultimately making people unhappy in a lot of situations. In order to “grow happy”, you have to take care of yourself such as exercise and relax. Next you have to have a reason for the brain to do something (aka challenge and novelty). Once it overcomes the challenge, it feels better about itself and brings joy. You also have to give the brain attention to something, you are forced to disengage the emotional brain which is what gives the stressors to whatever challenge they face.
    It is interesting to see how you have to disconnect the emotional brain from the rational brain, because for some reason I always thought things like yoga and meditation were the other way around. It made sense though when she was describing it, especially how all of our stress comes from the emotional side of our brain and yoga is suppose to help us relax. It would be rather counter productive.
    In the article “How to Control the Amygdala of Your Brain to Turn off Your Anxiety”, it brought up almost immediately what this woman was talking about and how you need to change the way that you are viewing things. It is saying how you need to prove to your brain that a situation isn’t dangerous and that it is completely normal. This goes along with what the woman was saying about how you need to understand the situation for what it is and not think about the past or the future of the event that may be causing stress but only the present.

  30. Georgia Cummings
    Monday Yoga 6:30-9:50

    It seems that often times the discussion of happiness in forms of media such as TED talks often leave out the effects or limits of mental illnesses, which are biological and, without any treatment, uncontrollable. While I understand that some treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy is based mainly on changing attitudes, it is not as simple as finding joy in little aspects of our lives.

    Mental illnesses often make overcoming “laziness”, stress, and overall gloom impossible. Without seeking help for mental health, we may not always be able to just become happy. While I do appreciate and fully advocate for educating people about how taking care of ourselves physically can lead to physical and mental health, I do believe that seeking professional help is not only helpful but often necessary.

  31. I am in a time in my life where so much is going on, that it is very hard to always focus on myself. This video was another reassurance that it is time, to start pedaling and never stopping on focusing on my true potential and my true self in order to not have to try so hard to just be happy.
    Our brains are like plants. We have to nurture the roots, for example, rest, nutrition, and exercise. Then, we have to think of our brains like a living creature. We can be very lazy, at times and it is important to notice this, and begin to give ourselves a reason to want to go out and do the thing we aren’t doing, such as nurturing.
    I find what is most important in this video is the fact that without a challenge it is very hard to grow and learn. I tell myself this everyday. If I am working out, or writing a paper, and simply having a conversation with someone, and it is challenging in anyway, I tend to congratulate myself being that, now I am learning something.
    What rose to my attention also was the child aspect of her advice on finding true happiness. The very ending hit me hard when she was giving her last conclusion which was grow, thinking of a child writing out autobiography, and that the more we dwell on negativity the less happy we will be; but mostly her last advice. No matter who we become, who society makes us feel, or where ever we end up in our lives, never forget that little child inside. This was very emotional for me to listen to because I often think about the little child in me. What would I say to her? What would I do for her? Listening to her say this, It only helped me realize that it is not to late to tell that little child inside of me. She is still there and always will be.. and thats important.
    I would like to focus a lot on these words being that I have been so stressed out lately. My IK has helped tremendously with taking the time for myself and giving myself that moment almost everyday, but also focusing a lot more and being more mindful on my happiness will be all the better. I have learned so much from this class already and I am truly grateful for this. Thank you.

    I am also adding in a link that describes a few more ways of being mindful of my own happiness. I added this because I would like to focus a lot more on this, and hope that others can grab something from this source as well.

  32. Kache’ Mumford
    Yoga Wed 8:30-11:50

    What is happiness? Where does happiness come from? This Ted talk explores what happens in a the brain when someone is happy or unhappy. The speaker describes that happiness connects with the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. When the rational side the brain loses the tug of war against your emotional side of the brain (the amygdala) negative feels and views became stronger. Therefore leading to unhappy feeling and memories.

    I found this clip super interesting. The study that shows that your brain shrinks in size when you are unhappy is crazy. I also didn’t know that the Synaptic Plasticity had so much impact on the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. I also didn’t know that stress could damage synaptic growth. The brain need rest, reason and attention. Growth in the need seems to be this most important thing. People have to be open to growth and challenges and through that happy memories and experiences will follow.

    In an article I found online it describes the seven ways to gain happiness. Most of the steps focus on a positive mindset. Not giving in to the negative emotional side. Choose to be happy. To do this you have to create a happy attitude as while as a positive mindset. The article also stresses the importance of knowing where unhappy comes from inside of you.

  33. People seem to be shunned for showing too little or too much emotion. We are taught that as people, crying makes you vulnerable while being quiet makes you seem hard-headed and unapproachable. Things, no matter what or who they are in the world, things go negative naturally because we just expect things to go that way instead of stopping it in the first place.
    Eating healthy is a huge part too, whether it is stopping the intake of soda for water, or have one meal with mostly vegetables in it definitely helps. Good carbs, good protein, and good fats are beneficial to your health, but people choose to ignore it mainly because of the effort you need to put in and the laziness. The brain doesn’t grow, but it does learn new things.
    The emotional state of our brain is the most important part of our selves when it comes to self-esteem, how you act to others and the people around you, even your own pets. There are such things where too much stress or too much emotion can cause a strain on the heart and the body. Stress, for example, can make you have migraines if you overthink, or even, if you don’t get enough sleep, your body reacts and asks for a few more hours. In antidepressants even, fake ‘happy’ chemicals go in your body instead of producing it yourself, and I feel like that’s the unhealthiest things. Sure, I used to take pills to make me happy, but I just got used to it, and I feel like it wasn’t working for me.
    That who I was actually, wasn’t me because of the pills. So I stopped taking them, and all my emotions collapsed at once, and things are getting better. I still like to stay in and not do anything mainly because I just like the comfort of my own room without having to deal with people. Our environment.
    As you get older, it is so important to keep your mind at the focus and in tune with everything, because dementia and Alzheimers are two very popular diseases that affect the older generation. Taking vitamins and keeping in shape can definitely benefit you when you’re older.
    Mackenzie Depietro, Spring 2019, Wednesday Class

  34. Watching this video since I understood that there are many forms of happiness and there are some people out there who are genuinely happy. In the video I agreed with several of the reasons Mithu Storoni gave for how we can look at happiness. One of her explanations that truly got my intention was her saying that if life is great continue paddling and if life is terrible to continue paddling even more harder.

    I can really relate to that, in life especially being in college there is a lot being thrown at us and some of that is sadly negative, which can dwell on the most. In that situation it will take a level head emotionally stable person to say that the negativity won’t slow them down and will keep paddling even more harder than before, which defines happiness. Another example Mithu gave was explaining DMN and how we are the narrator of our own stories. If we are in a place where we are happy it’s going to results in us creating happy stories and vice versa.

    In order to feel that endless happiness in your life you need to find a way that removes all that unwanted negativity from your life. For example, I love salty foods they’re so good, but in the end, I will be having blood pressure issues. One way I can reduce that is having some apple cider vinegar every morning. It really is interesting to metaphorically think about the brain as a plant that needs to be given food for our bodies to function, whenever it is given the right nutrition.

  35. “How to Grow Happy”, I find the title to be so appropriate just because it’s almost a childlike experience; “how to” and “happy’ are words and phrases that can easily relate to children and can be easily captured by them. And I find the title to be appropriate to what Storoni was talking about in the video. She began by illustrating the illusion of happy people and who we perceive them to be. She further elaborates on the mechanicals of our brain system and how certain functions relate to certain cognitive of our beings. She also illustrates this complex dynamic by using the brain of a mouse; the moue begins with much optimism and when put in a cage with a bigger mouse, the smaller muse retreats to himself and what the experiments show is how smaller is brain actually got during this process. The mouse was subject to chronic social stress and that stress led the mouse’s brain to shrink. Another aspect of what Mithu was mentioning, was how stress is detrimental to our brain activity. Unfortunately, we live in a society where stress is prevalent, in an unhealthy way that causes might anxiety and depression. This actually affects the synaptic activity in the brain. However, Mithu suggests that when changing the mouse’s environment, where he is engaging and his brain is being stimulated by logic and reasoning instead of the emotional side, his brain grows. This experiment is a primary example of what happens to our minds, and it functions and we can possibly make it grow.

  36. In the video, the TED talk author Mithu Storoni talks about how to “grow” happy. She talks about the brain and how it changes drastically. She also talks about how a mouses brain gets smaller when it’s stressed. She also talks about parts of the brain where your memories are. We sometimes forget to take a moment and be grateful for what we have. Our brain is made up of many things thoughts, emotions, negative thoughts, negative memories. When you start to think of those things you immediately get upset or mad. One thing that stood out to me is when she started talking about how the brain is a plant. I feel like growing up we always have different and negative thoughts in our head and we are feed all this negative information about life and about ourselves. One thing I realized is that with yoga I’ve been able to control my emotions more easily. If something is bothering me I either solve it or push it to the side and focus on the important things.

  37. Mithu Storoni talks about how we can be happy. When we see a person smile all the time and have pleasure from the smallest activities in their life, we call them happy. It is a mystery to us but there is a cause and effect. Happiness is the effect but what is the cause? She explains that happiness is never the consequence of an event but from the experience of the event. When a mouse in a cage experienced negativity and social stress its brain shrunk. The same happens with humans when they are under intense stress. Our brain conflicts with each other. The parts of our brain that sense learning conflicts with the emotional part of our brain, especially the negative thoughts take over. It is important that we make our brains grow resilient to negativity. We need to give our brain the right nutrition, rest, and exercise. We need to treat our brain like a living creature and challenge them. Our brain can learn new things or use old experiences to learn in a new environment. We have complete control of how we think. We have complete control of how stress can affect us. Yoga is linked to changing the way our brains think and having complete control. Yoga helps us to be at peace and positive with ourselves in body and mind and is a good example of something we can do to make stress resilient.

  38. Mithu Storoni gave a wonderful speech of “How to Grow Happy”. I remember in high school, when I used to learn about music, my teachers would tell mehow studying music was a good strong sense to enlarge our brains. I thought it was interesting how Mithu Storoni explains that we obtain happiness by gaining control of our brains, more specifically, our emotions. If we think more about the positive events that happened in life, then the emotion will go the same way. The reminds me of the finger holds practice I learned in Yoga class, which focuses on my emotions and chow to control them into a normal state of being. In the past, I found it really hard to convince myself to feel better after a hard particular scenario, but I’ve taught myself that “this too shall pass” and that I won’t be sad for long. I’ve learned to deal with my depression and anxiety and live through it with control. I’ve also learned how important my fitness goals and healthy lifestyle is to shaping my anxiety on the daily basis. It really helps to finally take time for myself and just focus on the good things in life.

    Kathy Mathews
    Wednesday 8:30 am Yoga Class

  39. Happiness is a mindset. People don’t realize that no matter how bad or good you assume a person’s life is, they have their own amount of traumas and different circumstances that they were exposed to that made them the person they are after the fact. This is why I could never wish for someone else’s life, instead I wish to grow myself, and have a happy mindset. It definitely is a process that requires persistence, but it is one of the most beneficial long-term practices.
    A happy mindset is being mindful and noticing that you cannot compare your life to others because everyone on this planet has had extremely different experiences than one another. People who are happy are people who took advantage of the bad circumstances they were personally given, and learned from it to help control their reactions and the way they handle situations.
    Ultimately, happiness comes from what you choose to do with the circumstances you are given. People who are not happy are usually the people who just wait for their life to improve whilst thinking about how their life could be better. People who are happy are putting effort into finding happiness, in a way that they have spent time to figure themselves out and use their circumstances in a beneficial way.

  40. How to grow Happy is a very touching video whose sentiment I connected with personally. The speaker was intelligent, friendly and engaging in their mannerism and speech, as well the message behind them. To take control of our emotions will allow us to achieve a more true sense of happiness feels more honest than the westernized concept of having to always be happy. I believe happiness is more akin to peace and tranquility, and that to achieve them requires a degree of emotional temperance. It is similar a message present in a TV program I am quite fond of, Stargate, which features groups of extraterrestrial entities who are hoping to achieve a form of transcendent being and that in order to do so they must expand the very nature that their minds perceive in order to gain the power to alter reality like one would blow out the flame of a candle. While obviously very melodramatic, the sentiments are similar in that achieving an impossible state requires more work than most would let on.

    Easily the best part of the video is the acknowledgement of the difficulty of growth. It is often presented in splits of time in which one can visibly notice the differences of progression, however true evolution is more subtle and gradual than the retrospective.

  41. There are people in my life who almost always seem joyful and cheery, whereas I have always had to consciously work to improve my mood. My lifelong theory was that some people are just born with more serotonin than others, which I’m aware sounds ridiculous but I never really spent much time thinking about it. This video is intriguing in the sense that right off the bat, Mithu Storoni discusses those aforementioned “always happy” people. She then brings up a rather interesting experiment involving two mice in the same cage.

    This lecture was very much pleasing to hear and I found it particularly fascinating learning about the brain science behind happiness. I’m taking away three main points from Storoni’s speech and they are as follows:

    1. Don’t take your happiness for granted. It is very easy for humans (especially myself) to feel that our current situations/feelings are permanent. If my life is going terribly then I find it very hard to imagine it getting better, and if my life is great at the moment then I tend to think that its smooth sailing from there on it. Storoni challenges that false sense of permanence by instructing us to keep “pedaling” through all times, both good and bad. She compares the brain to a plant, and compares negative circumstances to a mighty tree that falls on the plant. A mighty tree may, and will probably fall in lives several times over, making it our job to be spiritually resilient.

    2. We must be conscious of how we perceive our “autobiographies.” Storoni explains how our life stories and how we address them affect our happiness currently. If we reflect on our life in a negative manor, than all we will feel is discontentment. If we reflect on our life through a lens of triumph, then things will seem much more optimistic. We hold the power to our own happiness. I know that naturally we are prone to focus on the negative much more than the positive, so I personally always try to catch myself when I fall into the “whoa is me” mentality. We are our own narrators to our stories, and our happiness derives from how we choose to look at our shortcomings.

    3. We must never forget the child that lives inside all of us. We live in a harsh, harsh, world where innocence is often perceived as weakness. When describing adults, words like “childish” or “juvenile” are not often used, unless they are being hurled as insults. Somewhere a long the way, we lose touch with the child that we once were, whether it was from trauma or pressure from peers. What I love is that Storoni makes it clear that that child we once were is not lost, and still very much lives inside of us. After watching the video, I believe it is possible to reconnect them. The world is still the same dark place that it was when we were children, its just that we would never focus on its dark aspects, only the good. We can still do that if we please, but it will take a conscious effort on our part.

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