People who are in bad moods—anxious, angry, depressed—have MRI images that show the circuitry converging on the right prefrontal cortex. People who are happy—feeling calm, enthusiastic, positive, loved—develop extra activity in their left prefrontal cortex. A quick way to sense a person's general mood range is to check out his/her baseline levels in these right and left prefrontal areas. The more the ratio tilts to the left, the more happy, calm and positive a person is.
When Dr. Richard Davidson, one of the world's foremost brain scientists, tested the brain of a senior Tibetan lama who was known for meditating many hours daily, he discovered this lama had an extreme left-to-right ratio in his prefrontal cortex—the MRI sign of a happy, relaxed mind.
Repeated research studies have shown how folks who meditate regularly have an extreme "left-to-right ratio" in their prefrontal cortex—and are happier! It makes sense that a baby's expanded consciousness is very similar to a meditating adult's expanded consciousness. After all, a baby is known for smiling and laughing far more than the average adult. Studies show that a baby smiles 400 times a day. And children up to preschool age laugh about 300 times a day. As adults, we laugh just an average of 15 times a day, if it's an especially good day. (I'm guessing less so on Mondays!)
With a practice of meditation, you can be happier, more connected and better able to solve problems—you can start thinking like a baby! Maybe Baudelaire had it right—"Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recovered at will."
Karen Salmansohn is a best-selling author known for creating self-help for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading self-help. Get more information on finding a loving, happier-ever-after relationship in her book Prince Harming Syndrome.
More Reading from Karen Salmansohn:
How to survive living in a state of flux
Does sexy have a size?
How to know and grow your potential
Here's how to be happy, dammit!