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When we make tough decisions, it often boils down to the war between our head, which thinks one thing, and our heart, which feels another. You’ve heard it a million times: “Stop thinking with your heart,” a friend will tell you when he sees you getting carried away with your emotions. A moment later, another friend will say, “It’s not about what you think; it’s what you feel.” This age-old tug of war makes decisions a lot more difficult than they should be.

But what if I told you there is a third region that makes this head and heart matrimony easier and, when achieved, even more meaningful? There is. Allow me to introduce a third happiness pole into your joy journey: the “hara,” or the belly. When your head, heart, and hara align, you’ll gain membership to the 3H Club of Happiness and its exclusive life rewards.

In Japanese, hara is the word for your belly. But it also has a much more transcendent meaning.

The hara region is your soul, your center of gravity. As such, it’s also a major energy point in your body, where feelings from your heart and actions from your head are said to marry and transform into your character traits.

People in touch with their hara usually live life through courage, confidence, purpose, and integrity. In short, they have a lot more soul.

Western culture often makes us ashamed of our bellies, telling us they need to be perfectly shaped or otherwise perfectly concealed. But in the search for happiness, at least, the belly is a sacred thing. That’s why dancing is such an integral, spirited part of the world’s cultures: it engages the belly and awakens the soul that dwells there, which is said to provide enlightenment and joy. From the beginning of time, ancient cultures have viewed the hara as sacred—a mindset that we ought to rekindle for our happiness’ sake.

When your head and heart align, it gives your life a sense of harmony and peace. But the real magic happens when the hara gets involved. When we act upon our decisions with confidence, purpose, integrity, and joy, they gain a third, spiritual dimension that neither the head or heart alone nor the head and heart combined can fully reach. The next time you’re struggling with a decision, focus your energy on your hara. Listen to your soul and draw from the strength and energy it provides. Once you learn to engage your hara in your journey, you’ll reach new depths of happiness and joy. So strive to become a member of the 3H Club of Happiness and give whole new meaning to the phrase “trust your gut!”

Fellow happiness seeker, I’d love to hear about the ways in which you engage your soul on a daily basis. What does your hara mean to you?


Lisa Cypers Kamen is acclaimed for her engaging blend of positive and spiritual psychology coaching, workshops, and philanthropic projects. Through her books, radio show, media appearances, and inspiring documentary films, such as H Factor: Where Is Your Heart?, Lisa recently launched Harvesting Happiness for Heroes, a non-profit corporation dedicated to bringing integrated psychology coaching tools and mindfulness training to Veterans and their loved ones. She has been featured on The Huffington Post, ABC and CBS television, Yahoo News, and Money Watch. You can visit Lisa on her website, Facebook or Twitter.

*Photo Credit: Daniela Vladimirova via Compfight cc