I love to read about our brain and the hardwired network of nerves that course through our bodies. I usually have several books checked out from the library at once. This allows me to have several books about the same subject matter while also being able to cross-reference sources.
I just finished a book called Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson. This book touches on the psychology of how we think, coupled with what is actually happening to the hardwired circuitry of our brains and nerves. Here are a few key points taken directly from his book:
In order for survival, our brains needed to be acutely aware of dangers, losses, and conflicts. Consequently, this developed our brains with a negativity bias. In other words, we look for bad news, react to it, and store the whole sequence in our brain. This makes us vulnerable to stress, anxiety, disappointment, and hurt. While this is great for survival, it’s lousy for quality of life, fulfilling relationships, personal growth, and long-term health. (p.30-31)
A person’s inner strengths include peacefulness, contentment, and love, as well as resilience, confidence, determination, and insight. These strengths help you cope with the hard things in life. Most of your inner strengths are developed over time. (p.15)
The book then discusses how the brain works and how to improve these inner strengths in order to increase happiness. Our brains need to focus on happiness and positive thoughts instead of trying to fix the negative emotions.
Dr. Hanson’s Outline to Hardwired Happiness
- All mental activity – sights and sounds, joys and sorrows – is based on underlying neural activity.
- Repeated mental/neural activity leaves lasting changes in neural structure.
- You can use your mind to change your brain to change your mind for the better.
- The best way to develop greater happiness and other inner strengths is to have experiences of them.
It is important to take time to pause and enjoy good, positive experiences and store them on your brain. Too many times we take them for granted. Just like the law of attraction, the more you focus on happiness, the more you will attract happiness.