Finding Everlasting Happiness in 2020—and Beyond

Let’s face it… We could all use a little happiness boost these days.

2020 has been so disorienting and stressful that truly feeling happy can feel downright impossible at times.

But I promise, it IS possible—and in ways you might not expect.

In fact, you can enjoy a little happiness right now—safely and naturally.

All you need to do is flip your “happiness switch.” And today, I’ll show you how to do just that.

Beware of false happiness

Unfortunately, Americans are constantly bombarded by subliminal messaging, trying to convince us that material things are the key to happiness.

A new, shiny watch can elevate your status. A seductive fragrance can help you find insatiable romance. The right jeans can give you that confidence you’ve been craving.

And for the short-term, they might be right.

Acquiring new “stuff” triggers a little bit of the euphoric chemical called dopamine. (You might have heard it called a “shopper’s high.”) But the thing is, after the novelty wears off, so does the euphoria.

What we label as “happiness” in these cases is really just a small hit of a feel-good chemical.

But if you want real, lasting happiness, you have to look beyond external things. Because true happiness is literally within you—and you can access it anytime you want. The key is in activating a specific bodily system.

Turning on your “feel-good” chemicals

Fortunately there are all-natural ways we can use our bodies to feel good—like exercising and slow, deep breathing.

And I encourage you to do those things. (You might be surprised at how much a few minutes each day can help!)

But if you really want to increase your happiness—and your health—I recommend trying vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

This technique is one of the best ways to strengthen vagal tone. And when your vagal tone is strong, the positive effects ripple into better mental and physical health.

You can stimulate your vagus nerve and, in turn, strengthen vagal tone simply by singing, chanting, or humming along to your favorite song. Most times, that can be enough stimulation to release a cascade of happiness-inducing chemicals throughout your body. These “feel-good” chemicals include:

  • Acetylcholine: Your body’s most abundant neurotransmitter. It serves as a natural tranquilizer and inflammation suppressant. It also regulates your arousal response.
  • Dopamine: A neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.
  • Endorphins: Chemicals produced naturally in the body to help manage pain or stress. These neuropeptides are known for a morphine-like euphoric effect.
  • Nitric oxide: Known for its anti-inflammatory effect and ability to relax the blood vessels—allowing them to stay wide and flexible, increasing blood flow and circulation.
  • Oxytocin: A social bonding hormone known for creating a feeling of safety, affection, and well-being.

And if you want to take your happiness to the next level, I suggest combining this physical boost of “feel good” chemicals with a very simple, but very specific, mindset shift…

Happiness is a result, not a goal

From my experiences over the years, I’ve found that perceiving happiness as a goal to achieve is an unhelpful and potentially damaging thought pattern.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  • “Once I make X amount of dollars, THEN I’ll be happy”.
  • “If I lose 20 pounds, THEN I’ll finally be happy with myself.”
  • “Once this virus is gone and I can get back to normal, THEN I can be happy.”

In this type of thinking, your happiness is determined by events in the future that may or may not work out the way you hoped.

Instead, I suggest thinking of happiness as a result of consistent, aligned thoughts and actions in the present.

“Aligned to what?” you might ask…

To the closely held values about how you live your life.

For example, if you believe that it’s important to be a kind, compassionate, and helpful person, then actually behaving in those ways toward someone else immediately creates feelings of well-being, purpose, and happiness in that very moment

For some people, this is an instant joy-booster—chemically, emotionally, and even spiritually. (I know it is for me!)

Plus, this type of thinking and behavior can also unlock those same “feel-good chemicals” I mentioned earlier, so combining it with VNS gives you a double dose of happiness.

Your two-ingredient recipe for true happiness

The bottom line is that lasting happiness is a result of two main things:

  • Consistent actions that are in line with your values—especially when the action helps someone else.
  • Regularly acting upon your body’s innate mood boosters like exercise, deep breathing, and VNS.

To learn more about all the ways all-natural VNS can boost your day-to-day happiness and health, I’ve got just the thing for you…

I recently released my InnerSound Method—a weekly video program where I introduce you to the most powerful sound-based techniques for optimal health—both mentally and physically.

Each week I’ll teach you something new, while also helping you to refine the basic foundations of VNS. It’s almost like having a private health coach!

But don’t worry—as powerful as the techniques I’ll teach you are, I like to keep things fun and easy.

Click here to learn more about my InnerSound Method, or to get started today.

Come on, let’s get happy!

come on get happy
IMAGE SOURCE: Amazon.com

SOURCES:

“Brain imaging shows how vagus nerve stimulation improves depression symptoms.” Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, 5/16/13. (https://www.bbrfoundation.org/content/brain-imaging-shows-how-vagus-nerve-stimulation-improves-depression-symptoms)

“The vagus nerve in appetite regulation, mood, and intestinal inflammation.” Gastroenterology. 2017; 152(4): 730-744. doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2016.10.046

“Does singing promote well-being?: An empirical study of professional and amateur singers during a singing lesson.” Integrative psychological and behavioral science. 2003; 38(1): 65-74. PMID: 12814197

“Exhaled nasal nitric oxide during humming: Potential clinical tool in sinonasal disease? Biomarkers in medicine. 2013; 7(2): 261-266. PMID: 23547821

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About the author

Jim Donovan M.Ed., is a professional musician and educator. He's an Assistant Professor at Saint Francis University where he teaches music and how the power of sound can help you experience a healthier life.