Happiness in “Psycho-Cybernetics”

March 3, 2013 Mental balance

happinessI’m not a big fan of self-help books, many of them have as only purpose becoming a best-seller. They are often made of empty words with no practical advice that could lead to a real change in the reader’s life. But I enjoyed dr. Maltz’ Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living out of Life very much, as I considered it is based on logical arguments that can really help us understand things better and make improvements.

He starts his chapter about happiness with a quote from dr. John A. Schindler: happiness is “A state of mind in which our think is pleasant, a good share of the time”. Later on, he argues that happiness is native to the human mind. We do everything better when we are happy – we think better, perform better, feel better and are healthier – even our body organs perform better.

These are not just words, there are studies which prove them right. For example, a Harvard study showed that there is a strong correlation between unhappiness and criminality. Moreover, it’s no secret that many criminals come from broken, unhappy families. Another study made at the Yale University showed that immorality and hostility towards others is caused by our own lack of happiness.

It is very interesting that although we often consider happiness something we have to earn or deserve, it is actually the state of mind when our thoughts are pleasant most of the time. As simple as this – not something we earn provided that…, that … or that…… This philosophy of looking into the future all the time is self-destructive. We never live “now”, but always postpone our happiness and never actually enjoy it.

Arguing that our happiness is influenced by the way we see reality, Dr. Maltz quotes Epictetus who said that “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them”. In other words, when we have a bad day when nothing turns out the way we expected, we tend to generate negative thoughts: “I’m not capable of doing anything right”, instead of “Tomorrow things will turn out better / I will perform better.”

Our emotions and beliefs tend to become our habits. When faced with what our brain considers to be a situation similar to something we had experienced in the past, it uses the familiar pattern. So, we have to be aware that we can change our habits through a conscious decision and then practice the new behaviour until it is completely assimilated by our mind. It’s not easy at the beginning but soon it will start to do its job and we will be able to experience the benefits of a new behavioural pattern, which allows us to be happy.