Neuroscience is learning what Buddhism has known for ages: our happiness is determined by what’s going on inside our minds rather than any external factors.
Buddhists say that the key to a happy and content life is inner peace. New research in neuroscience is starting to agree and even suggests that adopting a few Buddhist habits can be beneficial in cultivating a happy life.
So I thought it would helpful to go through 5 common Buddhist habits and what the science says about each. Here we go:
1) Be generous
Buddhism has always emphasized the practice dana, or giving. In fact, in Dighajanu Sutta, generosity is identified as one of the four traits conditioning happiness and wealth in the next life.
Science backs this up. Research shows that you’ll feel happier if you spend that money on someone else, instead of yourself.
A 2008 study gave 46 volunteers an envelope with money where half of the participants were instructed to give that money to someone else and the other half were told to spend it on themselves. Sure enough, those who spend their money on others felt higher levels of happiness.