People often say that happiness is a state of mind. But is it really? The mind is merely a collection of thoughts, memories, and experiences. How can this produce happiness or joy?
Our body has an immune system to protect us; endocrine glands control our metabolism; heart and blood vessels to supply nutrients; lungs to take in oxygen and a brain for perception and action. And we also have a reward or pleasure system in the brain.
The pleasure system is connected with neurochemicals and neurohormones such as dopamine, serotonin, anandamide, DMT, benzodiazepines and endorphins. Once our pleasure system is stimulated, neurochemicals are released, bringing us the experience of happiness, joy, and bliss.
The mind can work as the activator of this pleasure system in the body if for example, we achieve success in the world, fall in love, stay close to nature, become creative or go through spiritual experiences. But if the body's pleasure system is not functional, our mind’s activation won’t work. In situations like these, many people opt for drugs to give themselves pleasure and happiness. The mind works more as an activator but is not the cause of happiness and joy. It is the body that creates a state of happiness and joy.
In a child, the body is fully active and functional, and this leads to a child being able to feel spontaneous happiness and joy. But after the age of eight to ten years, as culture, social rules and education are imposed on the brain and the body, the pleasure system stops fully functioning, leading to a lack of spontaneous happiness. An adult needs constant external stimulation to experience anything resembling happiness and joy.
Somatofulness is the process of activating the body and brain’s pleasure centres to experience happiness and joy naturally.
Somatofulness is the process of activating the body and brain’s pleasure centres to experience happiness and joy naturally. One of the tools to achieve this is through somatic awareness. Somatic awareness is the process of paying attention to our body and its energy while carrying out our daily life activities such as walking, cooking, connecting to nature, eating, bathing, gardening, or playing. We focus on and engage in those activities that increase our energy and bring about feelings of bliss. With diligent practice, a critical breakthrough point may come in our lives when happiness and joy become our natural state and we can experience them spontaneously, without effort.