Case Study: Energy for Happiness

by Mike Sententia on June 27, 2012

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

I want to share another new technique I’m excited about. Like heating myself, this simply worked my first try, and it’s pretty useful.

This technique makes me happy. Literally, that’s what it does: I was feeling kind of down for a few days, so I used magick to make myself happy. I can’t teach you the technique because it involves a lot of things we haven’t discussed yet, but I can tell you the gist of it, and the results.

The Details

I was in a funk for a few days. Not a serious depression, but definitely going in that direction: I was unhappy for no particular reason, didn’t want to work, just stayed home most of the time. And as you know, thinking, “I’m going to be happy now” doesn’t help.

I was thinking about the mental posture work I was doing: I’d connect to areas of my mind, adjust their state, then get comfortable holding my mind in that new state. Could I do something similar to the parts of my mind causing the depression, to put them into a new state?

It turns out, you can. And I did. I connected to those areas causing the depression and turned off that mental process (using the same mental muscles I’d been using to learn the mental postures). I felt non-unhappy within seconds. I was surprised that I didn’t actually feel happy, but it makes sense: I’d only disabled the things causing the unhappiness, but hadn’t yet enabled anything to actually cause happiness.

So I asked those mental muscles to put those areas into a happy state, and it worked again. I got cheerful, but that wasn’t all. I’d only expected to be more cheerful as I thought the same thoughts, but instead, my whole perspective changed. I focused on different things (opportunities and potential connections to new friends, rather than my worries from before). And when I thought about the same events, I interpreted them differently — the friend who cancelled lunch isn’t avoiding me, she’s just busy and needs support. I wasn’t thinking or trying to change my perspective like this, it just happened on its own, but it was dramatic, and reminded me of how some people describe their first days on antidepressants.

An hour later, I’d become accustomed to the new happy state. In my notes, I describe myself as “still non-unhappy, a bit happy even,” but not “actively happy.” So I tested it: I turned off the effect, and within seconds, my funk started to return. Then I quickly turned the effect back on, and felt happy again. (By the way, this is how they verify that psychiatric drugs are working when they can’t do a proper placebo control: They verify that the patient’s mood goes up and down as they administer or remove the treatment.)

Other posts in this series: If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

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