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Transient Pleasure vs Lasting Happiness FLOWCHART (Day 109)

This flowchart shows the pathways to two types of feeling good: pleasure and happiness. Both paths start with life hitting your body and creating physical sensations. The route to pleasure involves reactivity, whereas the route to happiness involves acceptance.

At the moment, we're looking closely at the 'I like it!' version of reactivity. We saw earlier how the root of reactivity is wanting things to be different to how they are, and that when we're in that state, we're getting motivating and positively reinforcing squirts of dopamine. In other words, we find pleasure – a type of transient happiness – in the act of wanting. But the moment we get what we want, our pleasure starts to diminish, until we find something else to want. This incessant cycle of wanting – focusing on what we don't have – is suffering.

The other pathway, leading to lasting happiness, comes out of acceptance. The emotional strength required to accept and not react is an expression of your resilience. As we've seen previously, reactions are monkey/thinking food, so when you don't react, your thoughts (beliefs and sense of self) will be more flexible and open to reframing and creativity. An innate, natural happiness – characterised by the neurotransmitter serotonin (the focus of many popular antidepressants) – is an emergent property of acceptance.


Keep building awareness and resolution on the neutral zone. What does it feel like? How is it different to the more intense emotional experiences on either side of it? What are you thoughts like when you're in it? What does your body feel like in it?

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