How To Build A Happier Brain: A Neuropsychologist’s Bag Of Tricks To Rebuilding Your Cerebrum

by • October 25, 2013 • Inspiration, Neuroscience, Psychology, ScienceComments (0)6439

The term “positive thinking” is all well and good, but according to neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson, a member of U.C. Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center’s advisory board, and author of the book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, positive thinking is effectively wasted on the human brain.  In order to truly make that positive outlook permanent you need to wire it in.  Hanson tells The Atlantic: “When people are having positive thinking or even most positive experiences, the person is not taking the extra 10, 20 seconds to heighten the installation into neural structure. So it’s not just positive thinking that’s wasted on the brain; it’s most positive experiences that are wasted on the brain.”  Hanson explains how our brains are still structured for life in the Stone Age, and although the modern world has many comforting benefits that make our lives easier, our brains are wired to focus on the negative.  “For me, one of the takeaways from that is to repeatedly internalize the sense of having our three core needs met: safety, satisfaction, and connection,” Hanson adds.  “By repeatedly internalizing that self-sense, we essentially grow the neural substrates of experiencing that those needs are met, even as we deal with challenges, so that we become increasingly able to manage threats or losses or rejections without tipping into the red zone.”  There is much more to Hanson’s brilliant how-to guide to rebuilding your brain for more long term happiness, and you can read more about his bag of tricks by visiting  For more great stories about the human brain be sure to visit The Human Brain on FEELguide.


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