In his book Hardwiring Happiness published in 2013, neuroscientist Dr Rick Hanson shares about the hidden power of taking in the good, which will naturally grow more joy, calm and strength inside us in everyday positive experiences to change our brain and therefore our life for the better.

The inner strengths we need for well-being, coping, and success are built from brain structure. However to help our ancestors survive, the brain has evolved a negativity bias that makes us remember bad experiences over good ones.

To overcome this negativity bias, we need to learn which positive experiences can meet our three essential needs for safety, satisfaction and connection to build up inner peace, contentment and love for a sense of wellness that’s not based on external conditions.

Our brain is the most important organ in our body and what happens in it determines what we think, feel, say and do. Studies have shown that our experiences are continually changing our brain one way or another. His book shares how we can get good at changing our brain for the better.

Re-wiring the brain for happiness

In his TED talk, he shares steps detailed in his book on how we can re-wire our brains for happiness by overcoming our brain’s negativity bias. These steps can be easily remembered using the acronym HEAL:

  • H Have a good experience, activating the brain’s record of the experience
  • EEnrich the experience, installing this experience as a neural trait
  • AAbsorb the experience, importing the experience into your neural structure
  • LLink positive with negative material, soothing and replacing the negative (This fourth step is optional)

By gradually accumulating throughout the day, we can re-wire our brains to cultivate the experience of happiness inside ourselves.

#happiness #neuroscience of happiness #re-wiring brain for happiness