Have you ever wondered what happiness looks like?

If so, you are not alone. According to my research, it’s a commonly asked question.

I chose to share this post and the emotional body map image with you at the request of a colleague, Jennifer Corcoran as we spoke recently.

I told Jennifer I use this image to remind me and my clients of what happiness looks like. Plus, the value of being happy.

This body map image shows you what it looks like when you feel happy, fearful, depressed, anxious, or angry.

Reference: Bodily Map of Emotions: Nummenmaa, Glerean, Hari, and Hietanen (2013/2014)

You too may have…

“felt blue”, depressed or low in mood.

Or maybe “got cold feet”. Fearful of doing something so you just backed out?

Perhaps your “stomach gets tied up in knots” when you feel anxious?

The body map images were taken from an experiment with up to 302 people who recorded their body sensations they got when reading a set of words.

Just look again at the body map images…

  • The depressed person. “Feeling blue”. low mood and depression really do have that blue colour sensation within us. 
  • The person feeling fear who has “cold feet” shows they are feeling blackened in their colour.
  • Or the person with anxiety showing a red-hot stomach from “being tied up in knots.”

Look at what happened to their body map when they read or associated with the word “happiness” and “love.”

These words produced the glowing orange and yellow body images.

Because these words and feelings were felt the most throughout their body.

This was in stark contrast to the words like “anger”, “contempt” or “shame.”

Interested to know more?

How to feel happier and why happiness is so important? How to top up your “health account” payments?

I have used the body map image to an enormously powerful effect to get someone out of an extreme crisis.

In a fast and easy way. You can use it too as well as a couple of other ways I will explain later.

No need to feel blue any longer.

This is what happiness looks like…

What happiness looks like

As I said, long term withdrawals will leave you in health ‘debt.’ This means you become ill or even die young.

This is easy to avoid and I will show you how in just moment.

The power of referring to this body map is incredible.

Here’s one example…

Has this ever happened to you?

I was once trapped in a lift with a client.

One of my client’s goals was to overcome her fears and to take the lift. The day she chose to do so, we got stuck!

Awful for anyone.

Even worse because I was trapped with a client who suffered claustrophobia, panic attacks and anxiety.

We were trapped there for forty minutes before being rescued.

To help prevent her panic, anxiety, and fear from escalating faster than a cheetah on Red Bull, I reminded her of this body map image, I had shown her during another session.

As she thought about the body map image, she was reminded of the negative impact emotions had on her body.

My client chose happiness instead of her panic, fear, and anxiety. In just a few minutes she turned her mountain of gloom into sunshine and seashores of calm and happiness.

As a result, we both walked of that lift as calm as an afternoon nap.

Much to the amazement of the fire service and her mental health nurse waiting for us outside.

You may be aware that we are all multi-sensory human beings.

Each of us feel emotions differently.

I know what you’re thinking – so what?

I don’t know about you – I would far rather live my life in a more constant state of joy, happiness, and love.

Because I know that it just feels better for me and all those around me.

When I feel happy and love my life then everything, including work, is far easier and effortless.

You may have heard the terms “flow” or “being in the zone”.

Life and work feel more peaceful, fun, satisfying and rewarding. Because of this, it brings me, my colleagues, friends, family, and others happiness.

New research proves that feeling happy and loving has huge benefits for our health, productivity, and longer life.

A five study by Dr Steptoe, a leading author and psychology Professor at University College, London, concluded that after that older people were up to 35% less likely to die if they reported feeling happy, excited, and content on a typical day.

Even if they suffered with chronic ill health or financial insecurity.

After reading this and looking at the body map, I am sure that you understand what happiness looks like.

The good news is that you can actually feel happier as well every day.

In a moment I will show you 3 easy ways to get that instant happiness glow. Just like the body map image.

To prove to yourself this works then I recommend that you score your mood.

Take a moment to notice your feelings and emotions.

Score yourself using the number 1-10 (10 = best it can be) or red, amber, and green with green= best it can be.

Your body map

You may want to draw your start and end feelings and emotions on your own body map image.

Use yellow or orange to draw on your body where you feel happy.

Use blacks or blues to draw where in your body you feel low, tired, or fearful.

Use red to draw where in your body you feel angry or irritable.

Time to get that happiness glow and feeling I wrote about earlier.

Here’s how…

You can pick one or do all three of them right now. Each one only takes a few moments. The longest is six minutes.

  1. Think of a time when you last felt the happiest. Spend a few moments connecting to that memory and time.

Go into vivid details.

  • What were you doing?
  • Who were you with?
  • What colours could you see?
  • What could you smell?
  • What could you hear?
  • What were you wearing?
  • What did you touch?

Now imagine turning that “happiness memory” dial up from low to high. Turn that imaginary dial as easily as flicking a light switch.

Really magnify that feeling. At least ten times. Just like zooming in on a camera.

Imagine that happiness feeling radiates outwards.

As easily and fast as pebble thrown into a pond. Your happiness feeling ripples throughout every cell in your body.

Now imagine the centre of your body and your heart is like a glowing light bulb. Pure joy and happiness.

Remember the happiness glowing body on the body map image:

Now smile, imagine that outer smile on your face is linked to that happiness you feel inside. Breathe slightly deeper in then out.

As you breathe out imagine your smile coming outwards from within your body. That smile is “glowing” brilliant yellow and orange. As shiny and bright as the sun.

Finally touch your finger and thumb together firmly. Or you can touch your right ear with your left hand.

This will help you “store” that happiness feeling deep in your memory.

When you need to get that happy glow and feeling anytime and anywhere just breathe, close your eyes for a moment, remember your special nature place and touch your thumb and finger or right ear with your left hand.

You will remember and get the happiness feeling FAST.

This is immensely powerful method to use because our bodies are mostly made up of water!

Here’s a couple of other ways to get instant happiness…

Take a walk in nature

Did you know just 6 minutes in nature or connecting with nature brings you health benefits that last a week?

 If you cannot get outside, then look outside your window at nature.

Or cloud watch. Look at images of nature or look at nature videos. Listen to nature sounds.

Or take a look at some favourite holiday photos that bring back happy memories. Do this for just 6 minutes.

Laugh and have fun

Either alone or with others. Laughter gives us at least three out of four of our natural happiness brain chemicals.

There is plenty of evidence for this. Too numerous to list here. Even if you do not feel like laughing.

Fake it.

So, watch a funny film or clip. Think of something funny that happened to you or others. Remember or read a joke.

Now, it’s time to see how you feel. Any different? Any changes to your scores?

Look at what you started with…

Rate yourself before and after.

In my experience, the majority of people always notice a change for the better on at least one mood.

Now you are more aware of your feelings and your senses. You understand how easy and fast it is to change any negative emotions to feeling happier.

You’ve just discovered what happiness looks like for others and for yourself. You have read what your emotions can do to your body and health over time.

However, a word of warning – just knowing how to change your emotions and body sensations isn’t going to give you a lasting “happy deposit” into your health account.

The key to lasting happiness is that you need to take repeated action on what you’ve just learned. That’s why I encourage you to refer back to body map image of happiness and love. Look at your scores to prove to yourself that this works!

Remember to practice at least one of the three ways I recommend getting your daily dose of happiness.

Because the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll get that lasting “glow “of happiness whatever life throws at you.

That way you can deposit into your health account every day more and more. And get that 35% chance or more of living longer.

Nature Nurtures

Now, to wrap things up, I’d like to share with you one of my favourite quotes from Dale Carnegie:

“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 it.”

Dale Carnegie

If this quote doesn’t help you to take action, then nothing will. And that’s why I encourage you to take what you’ve learned in this article.

Use it to be like Dale Carnegie. Because no matter who you are, you too can get that everlasting happiness feeling.

I am interested to know how you found my three ways to happiness. What you thought about the body map images? Did your scores or feelings change for the better? Please send me your thoughts and comments…

Maria Morris Naturepreneur

Maria Morris

Founder and Naturepreneur of Your Own True Nature

Reference: Bodily Map of Emotions from Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, and Jari K. Hietanen. PNAS January 14, 2014 111 (2) 646-651; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1321664111

Contributed by Riitta Hari, November 27, 2013 (sent for review June 11, 2013)

The Nature Fix. Author: Florence Williams