Does Saying Pura Vida Change Your Brain?
When you ask a Tico, "Como le
they will invariably
answer, "Pura Vida:'We Americans ask, "Hi, how are you" and we
always get the answer, "Fine, thank you:' What's the difference?
According to a measure of Happiness, the New Economics
measuring how efficiently a country consumes
ecological resources to support a given level
picked Costa Rica to be number one. The United States
Translated, this index measures the number of years of a happy
life based on satisfaction and life expectancy.
Quite complicated, but this is determined by how much
one has or needs for one's source requirements and
CO2 emissions from the products used. Costa Rica
embodies a hap-py population that uses few natural resources.
Getting back to Pura Vida. You can ask a Tico anytime about
himself, and he will respond or end the conversation with Pura
Vida. They seem to know something we don't comprehend.
While the United States is based on consumerism, Tico's life is
like a recent parable I encountered in which a father took his
son on a trip to see how the poor people lived. Upon their
return, the father asked the son what he had learned from the
we had one dog, and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches the middle of our garden, and
they have a creek with
We have imported lanterns
our garden, and they have the
Our patio reaches the
yard, and they have the whole
We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields
beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
food, but they
We have walls around our property to
have friends to protect them.
AUTHOR: Rosemary Macgregor (t)
Some people are grateful for what they have and do not
worry about, striving for what they don't have. With the
advent of Kafka and the changes in the Tico mentality, we
see a shift in attitude. "Pura Vida" in San Jose is not said
as often as in the countryside. That is another article or
chapter on Social Change
Tibetan lama who has been dubbed "the happiest man in
the world;' I quickly connected to the Tico and his solving
all his problems at the moment by saying "Pura Vida:'
Yongey Rimpoche has written a book on "Joyful Wisdom:'
His background is one of anxiety and challenging times
in a re-mote Himalayan village lacking most amenities.
He suffered years of panic attacks and anxiety. Like the
Rinpoche has studied and practiced the art of well-being
where he can
being irritated or upset, anxious about an issue to
laughing, being happy, and instead enthusiastic. His
brain has shifted from high activation in the right
prefrontal lobe and amygdala, a region important for
hypervigilance typical of those under stress, to
increased activation of the left prefrontal cortex, the
upbeat, positive, engaging, enthusiastic, and energetic
of the brain.
I say "Switch" because, with years of practice, a
strengthening or increasing neural pathways can take
place, overriding and inhibiting messages from the
amygdala that drive disturbing emotions. With practice,
this switch can be a conscious choice, an ability to
override a negative. Is this what happens with years
and years of conditioning in the Tico, who very much
his left prefrontal "happy" cortex, smiling and
repeating many times a daily his mantra, "Pura Vida:'