In the last blog (Good Luck), I discussed how people that had a negative and neutral outlook missed a lot. They couldn't see what others could see. I also shared pointers on how to train your brain to think happy.
But, I want to discuss a little more about HOW thinking happy gives you an edge. I remembered reading the research that Shawn Anchor "Mr. Happiness" (author and happiness researcher) did about the "broadening effect." The Broadening effect is the actual biological and chemical effect of happiness on the brain.
“It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” Dale Carnegie
When experiencing the broadening affect the dopamine and serotonin flood the brain, these chemicals amp up the learning centers of the brain. The same chemicals also boost how we organize information and retrieve it. Anchor's research showed that happy people learn faster, recall faster, see farther, and are more intuitive.
The key to the broadening effect is to capitalize on it. It's important to remember that happiness is a work ethic. Creating habits to keep yourself in the broadening mode is where it's at!
So what can you do to get into the "Broadening zone"?
Meditating before practice: helps get your mind in the zone (10-20 minutes is good.) it also signals the body to allow those good chemicals to get moving.
Have something to look forward too: Whether it is playing with people or just listening to people play, or even just grabbing a coffee. It boosts creative chemicals. (I have to work at this one myself because I'm a bit of an introvert, but the more I do it, the more comfortable and enjoyable it is)
Practice outside: (not everyday) Spending 20 minutes a day outside in good weather boost mood, memory, and cognitive development. (I love doing this)
Daydream: Well, don't totally space out, but think about what you're playing and your performing. You can do this during meditation. It releases serotonin and helps build working memory.
Being a happy musician is imperative to being a successful musician. But, understanding how will help you build realistic happy habits.