Let's mirror depression and happiness and learn the simple truth underlying them both. Scientists know far less about positive emotions than they do about negative emotions and stress. But researchers have in recent years recorded remarkable results.

A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin recorded greater brain activity in the left prefrontal cortex after an 8-week mindfulness-based meditation program. Left-sided anterior brain activity is linked to positive emotions. Compared to the controls, the meditators showed significantly less trait anxiety and negative affect (Davidson R et al, 2003).

Mindfulness also proved to influence the immune system by producing more antibodies after flu vaccines were administered upon completion of the program.

A 2008 study supports the previous findings on meditation and the brain activity. Brain scans performed during compassion meditation recorded extreme happiness-related activity in brain regions linked to language and positive emotions.

In Stefan Klein's brilliant book, The Science of Happiness, Klein describes the most intense left-sided, happiness-related brain activity he had ever before recorded. This occurred during Tibetan compassion meditation.

One of the subjects, Michael Baime, an experienced meditator and physician who conducts stress research at the University of Pennsylvania, describes his experience as follows:

"There was a feeling of energy centered within me ... going out to infinite space and returning ... an intense feeling of love... I felt a deep and profound sense of connection to everything, recognizing that there never was any separation at all." (Klein, 2002)

There's NO mystery or magic involved in this process. From severe depression to extreme happiness, you see how logical both depression and happiness truly are?

Severe depression: Feelings of anger, fear and stress. Social withdrawal, isolation, communication break-down, reduced brain activity. Messenger protein withdrawal, cell death, and suicide.


Extreme happiness: Feelings of love, connection to everything, never any separation at all. Interaction, intense activity within the brain and communication between brain cells, energy, and life.

Severe depression and extreme happiness are simply complete opposites along the wide and fluid spectrum of natural emotions, and logical results of these emotions' long term effects on a person's mind/brain and body.

Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller D, Santorelli SF, Urbanowski F, Harrington A, Bonus K, Sheridan JF: Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2003; 65:564-70.

Klein, S (2002): The Science of Happiness: how our brains make us happy and what we can do to get happier. Avalon Publishing Group, Inc., New York. pg 227.

Author's Bio: 

An experienced meditator, Oz specializes in mantra and mindfulness-based meditation techniques rooted in the science of meditation and happiness. Learn the fascinating foundation of happiness and how to practice it in your meditation and everyday life at www.meditation-techniques-for-happiness.com