The Pixar movie, Inside Out, is a look at how different emotions compete for space in our brains. This article, written by Richard J. Davidson for Huffington Post, describes research as to why some people are more resilient than others. Is Joy your overriding emotion? or is it more likely to be Anger or Sadness.
There is growing neuroscientific understanding of joy and happiness, and one of the important things we’ve learned has to do with what might best be called “savoring” — the capacity to savor a positive experience and to allow it to permeate your activities and give a positive glow to everyday interactions. We’ve learned that while people with depression show normal activation in the circuitry of the brain associated with joy, it’s transient and does not persist.
People with the capacity to persist in activating these brain regions critical for positive emotion and who can sustain this activation more over time report higher levels of well-being and exhibit lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
One way to cultivate joy and to activate this region of the brain involves reflecting on what I’ve called “innate basic goodness”– the human propensity to desire happiness and be free from suffering. All humans share this same basic quality, and we bring this to the fore in all of our interactions. It enables us to respond to those around us in ways that maximize their and, in turn, our own well-being.