For years, scientists viewed the brain as a fixed organ with no potential for change. With the developing science of neuroplasticity, researchers gained a new awareness of our brains’ ability to change neural pathways and synapses. Rick Hanson’s new book, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence translates these theoretical findings into applications in our own lives. With examples and exercises, Dr. Hanson shows how we can take incremental steps towards a practice of happiness.
As someone who enjoys learning about neuroscience, I found the book interesting as it takes a detailed look into how are brains are wired to focus on the negative and not the positive and what we can do to change that so we can lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Hanson does a great job of taking very complex concepts from brain research and writing about them in a way that anyone can understand.
Our ability to hardwire happiness is all about focusing on the little things. The book focuses on events and feelings that you can pay attention to in order to build up the inner strength you need to face specific challenges. By focusing on positive experiences, you help yourself remember positive feelings more strongly, despite our brain naturally remembering negative experiences better.
Recent scientific discoveries have revealed that what we think and feel changes the brain. Hanson’s Hardwiring Happiness shows how to transform the simple positive experiences of daily life into neural structures that promote lasting health, feeling cared about, and effectiveness. Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, confidence, and peace.
Drawing on neuroscience, psychology, and wisdom from the contemplative traditions, Hardwiring Happiness shows you how to overcome the negativity bias and get good experiences into the brain where it can use them. By taking just a few extra seconds to stay with an everyday positive experience ─ the sweetness of a cookie, the calming of a single breath, the warmth of a friend ─ you turn good moments into a great moments and that gives you durable resilience and well-being.
Hanson’s book offers the tools we need to heal old wounds, increase our motivation, handle stress, develop our inner resources and, ultimately, transform our lives. As Hanson says, “In mere minutes each day, we can transform our brains into refuges and power centers of calm and happiness.”