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What if…

In our world, people like to feel a sense of belonging, to fit into groups and into society. But there are also the people who want to be different (although that in itself is a category of it’s own). We all most certainly are unique in our personalities, experiences, emotional tendencies and triggers and, of course, intellect. In fact, no two people can ever be exactly the same. But let’s be real here. We can all be grouped as much as we hate to believe it. 

Just as animals and plants can be classified into species and sub-categories that describe their appearance, structure, functional and physiological behaviours, we humans can also fit into categories. In the broadest form, we can be separated into obvious  groupings of sex, size, height, eye colour, religion etc. all the way to more detailed ones that would be less visibly clear. These could be people’s food preferences, sports they like, or even how they react to situations – it all depends on what outcomes we are trying to learn about. But whatever the category, let’s be clear that this doesn’t mean that we can be judged by the categories we fall under

Let’s look at a very specific category, unlike the obvious ones above. 

What about groups where people strive to ‘feel good’ or generate higher emotions such as love, compassion and devotion? Or on the flip side, reduce negative emotions like hate, anger and resentment. All emotions we feel generate a chemical release from parts of the body, which in turn leads to a physical response. But at the same time the reverse is true – chemical imbalances in the body also trigger negative feelings and emotions. 

So how can we increase the positive emotions that we feel? This is by keeping our bodies in balance and inducing the appropriate releases of the “feel good” chemicals – endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. 

 

We all know that there are multiple ways to achieve the same things, not just with feelings but in all areas of our lives. But for feelings and increasing our ‘vibes’, here are some ways in which people can be grouped together to reach the ultimate outcome of ‘feeling good’.

1) Religious people

This  is regardless of type of religion and just people who belong to any organised group of higher belief.  Feelings generated are typically ones of devotion to one’s God (or Gods), compassion and forgiveness toward others, acts of kindness and mercy. In fact, a study in the U.S. showed that some religious activities activate the same parts of the brain as when people experience feelings of love and also when taking recreational drugs (dopamine – the feel-good chemical). Prayer also helps to clear the mind and detatch from stress, which regulates hormone levels and also allows the mind, body and spirit to connect. 

2) Spiritual seekers/yogis
Regular meditation practitioners tend to be calmer and have more regulated emotions. How do they do that? All meditation techniques aim to bring one’s awareness to the present moment, which leads to decreased stress and reduced anxiety amongst other benefits. In a recent study published in the world’s most cited multidisciplinary psychology journal, the Twin Hearts Meditation was found to be more effective in suppressing negative emotion and amplifying positive emotion than its Mindfulness meditation counterpart. In fact, the study showed that people were having a much more positive impact in the ability to regulate emotions even just after the first session.  It was also scientifically revealed that certain meditations that generated feelings of loving kindness actually increased the size of the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. This is the area of the brain that controls important cognitive skills such as judgement, memory and emotional expression. To read more about the study, click here
 
3) Humanitarians
Some people are driven towards a mission to serve humanity in order to alleviate suffering and/or achieve equality. This also releases dopamine from the brain which is associated with motivation, reward, and goal-directed behavior. Acts of kindness also help to raise vibrations by releasing oxytocin in the body.
 
4) Art/music lovers
Visual objects or sounds that stimulate and tantalise the senses to bring about a multitude of feelings – all to do with embracing the beauty and bringing about feelings of love. 
 
5) Star gazers
Those who are fascinated by the wonders and mysteries of beyond our world. There is a deep understanding that there is much more to our universe than we can possibly comprehend and some even have a longing to become one with the energy around us. These feelings can be associated with the already mentioned motivation, reward and goal-directed behaviour. There is a natural curiosity of the world and beyond and this leads to the trigger of the feel-good chemicals in your brain.
 
6) Health and fitness buffs
When you exercise, your body releases a chemical called endorphins. These trigger a positive feeling in the body as well as diminishes the perception of pain. Overall, benefits to exercise include better physical health (strengthens the heart, lowers blood pressure, improves muscle tone and strength) as well as emotional and psychological health by reducing stress, boosting self esteem and warding off anxiety and feelings of depression.
 
Healthy eating is also key to feeling good. Did you know that many carbohydrates will lead to the increase in serotonin levels? But this is also the reason why these foods can be so highly addictive – they make you feel good. Complex carbs are a better option to boosting serotonin levels, as are foods rich in L-tryptophan such as eggs, cheese, salmon and spinach. So your diet plays a huge role in your happiness – just remember to keep a balanced diet with keeping everything in moderation.
 
 7) Nature and animal lovers
Not only does the beauty and wonders of nature trigger feelings of love (dopamine release), sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of serotonin which boosts mood and helps you to feel calm and focused. Therefore, the lack of sunlight has the opposite effect and can cause people to feel depressed, especially in the winter months.
 
Animal owners are also experiencing elevated feel-good hormones, and sometimes even more so then those in loving relationships. When a pet is reliant on its owner, we tend to feel a sense of deeper caring and aspects of unconditional love.
 
8) Lovers and relationships
It almost goes without saying that people in loving relationships tend to be happier and experience positive feelings and emotions. In fact, the feeling of love stimulates all of your ‘happy chemicals’ at once. Each one is released during a different aspect of love, whether it is from lust, trust, touch or ultimately unconditional feelings of love. But beware – with love also tends to come the opposite feelings of jealousy, hate, resentment and despair. We all need to work on loving people without any ‘strings attached’, as expectation often results in disappointment.
 
Where do you fit in? It’s likely that an individual will fall into multiple categories as these groupings are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s extremely important that we all learn to experience different things as this adds tremendous depth and breath to our personalities and to our lives. And it’s through experiences, good and bad, that we can grow and evolve into more compassionate and loving beings – again, all adding to the ‘feel-good’ emotions we all strive for.
 

But what is this all for, do you ask? In history, we have witnessed and scientifically explained many evolutionary stages in living things. And when it comes down to it, change is a necessary constant in order to adapt and survive. So if we look at the categories given above, and the need for all of us to ‘feel good’ and to ‘raise our vibes’, perhaps the question we should be directing ourselves at isn’t just how we raise our vibes, but also why are we all doing it and to what end? All living things follow behavioural patterns that were not necessarily taught to them. They likely don’t even know why they are taking certain actions, but just follow their innate instincts. It is only the human species that create thoughts from the mind that analyses what we do, how we do it, when we do it, and so forth. From these thoughts we then feel emotions that eventually impact our physical bodies. Now, if we take all of the groupings and understand that they all lead to same thing, of feeling good, perhaps we are not fully aware of the actual purpose we all have, and it is our own innate instincts to seek out ways to raise our vibrations. At the end of the day, we all choose the methods that work for us – but it’s nice to see that although we all have different methods, interests and abilities to do this, it may all be to the same end (or beginning).

What if…

What now…