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The Power of Virtual Reality April 19, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor, Mindfulness.
50 comments

Happiness can be boosted merely by the thoughts we think.

Especially if we imagine riding around town with a smiling monkey in a naval uniform on the back of our bright red motorcycle!

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Or visualize playing catch with a friendly frog!

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Or . . . insert your favorite daydream here.

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Research in the field of neuroscience demonstrates that we can expand our happiness through visualization, virtual reality, and daydreams:

Research in the field of neuroscience has shown that the part of the brain responsible for feeling pleasure – the mesolimbic dopamine system – can be activated when merely thinking about something pleasurable, such as drinking a favorite brand of beer or driving a favorite type of sports car. In fact, this research shows that people sometimes enjoy anticipating an activity more than actually doing it.

For example, reading guidebooks in advance of a big vacation and anticipating the food you’ll eat and the activities you’ll do while there could actually give you more pleasure than the vacation itself. In short, research suggests that we can be just as well – if not sometimes better – off if we imagine experiences without having them.  

So to increase happiness, spend plenty of time happily daydreaming.

If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Consider Time (Stanford Business)

You read that right.

Research suggests that enjoying a virtual vacation can make us happier than going on an actual vacation (with all the attendant hassles).

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Great news for armchair travelers with limited budgets!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Related:  Neural Pathways & Success (Find Your Middle Ground)