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Find out how a humanistic-oriented theoretical foundation for meaning in life mediates between mindfulness meditation and happiness.

With the strength of the link between mindfulness and happiness made, the next layer of research is to explore how exactly one moves from mindfulness meditation to happiness. How might a humanistic counselor conceptualize and use an in-depth understanding of the connection between mindfulness meditation and happiness? This article theoretically explores how mindfulness links to happiness through the humanistic construct of meaning in life.

This article theoretically explores how mindfulness links to happiness through the humanistic construct of meaning in life. First, mindfulness meditation is explicated in light of neuroscience
and humanistic theory.

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  • A Simple Recipe for Eudaemonia or Happiness from Affective Neuroscience (or why mindfulness and meaning should be inseparable)

    HYPOTHESIS: Dopaminergic activity will stimulate endogenous opioid systems when the latter are in a non-suppressed state.

    EXPLANATION AND ‘PROOF’: Activity that involves continuous positive act/outcome discrepancy or novelty (productive or meaningful behavior) while the covert musculature is inactive (a resting state) will result in heightened feeling of pleasure and arousal, or ‘eudaemonia’, ‘flow’, or ‘peak’ experience. This derives from the observation that neuro-muscular tension (or stress) inhibits endogenous opioid (pleasure) release, while relaxation accentuates it, the latter permitting opioid systems to be further stimulated by dopaminergic activity (arousal) elicited by meaningful behavior.

    The reason this explanation does not appear evident from general observation is that its counterpart as ‘flow’ or ‘peak’ experience is described through literary metaphor and not scientific language and obscures the independent and dependent measures that accurately describe it. The virtue of this explanation is that it is easily testable by anyone. Just get into a relaxed state (mindfulness protocols are the best way to do this) and then exclusively pursue or anticipate pursuing productive activity for periods of a half hour or so, and voila, you will have a flow experience. It is that simple.

    I offer a more detailed explanation in pp. 47-52, and pp 82-86 of my open source book on the neuroscience of resting states, ‘The Book of Rest’, linked below.

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/284056765/The-Book-of-Rest-The-Odd-Psychology-of-Doing-Nothing

    This above book is based on the research of the distinguished neuroscientist Kent Berridge of the University of Michigan, a preeminent researcher and authority on dopamine, addiction, and motivation, who was kind to vet the work for accuracy and endorse the finished manuscript.

    Berridge’s Site
    https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/berridge-lab/

    also:
    Meditation and Rest
    from the International Journal of Stress Management, by this author
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/121345732/Relaxation-and-Muscular-Tension-A-bio-behavioristic-explanation

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