Creating a Happy Brain
Reviewed By: Open Floor International Library
Open Floor International Library
Recommended Reading Program: Therapy In Motion
Author: Rick Hanson, PhD
Language availability: English
CJ Liu Interviews the NY Times best-selling author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. Rick discusses “HOW” you can tap the hidden power of everyday experiences to change your brain and your life for the better. How do you define happiness? Why is it more than just have a momentary nice experience? Happiness can make you stronger, more resilient, more fulfilled. Why pursuing happiness is not selfish or self indulgent, but something that makes us harder to manipulate with fear, greed, and makes us more loving. Our brains are predisposed to be a Velcro for bad. How can we hard wire our brains so that we can counteract nature’s design? The HEAL process is a process developed by Rick from his college days. The acronym describes the high level steps on how to hard wire our brains to be happy: (Have a good experience, Enrich It, Absorb it, Link it). The basic ideas of HEAL are to: 1) Notice the good things in your life even the small stuff (e.g.- a beautiful flower) 2) Stay with that experience for 20-30 seconds and really feel it, and let it absorb into you. Rick offers 3 tips that can help you as you begin the process of training your brain to be happy. Training requires 30 seconds of time each day for a few times a day. Over time this HEAL process will become more natural and automatic, but here are Rick’s 3 tips to have a successful start to HEAL: 1) Look for good news in your life. Notice the jewels in your life (Look at realistic things to (flowers, eating a meal, starting the laundry). 2) Determine your key need in your life that you would allow you to grow? Just like a daily vitamin, determine what medicines you need to satisfy the longings in your heart. Think about what is your Vitamin C? Rick distills down our basic needs into 3 areas that map to the various parts of our brain: Safety, Satisfaction Connection. Tip 1: First get a sense of which of these needs are the priority (safety, satisfaction, and connection). Rick describes what each of these means. Tip 2: The goal of HEAL is grow within yourself these qualities by concentrating on the good experiences in each day. It’s a way to give yourself what you need in a resourceful way. SUPER secret tip 3: Open and receive your own experiences while not getting attached. Feed your life without grasping, craving, and cleaning to these good experiences. How is this work map to mindfulness? How can we authentically be mindful and experience hindrances such as greed, frustration, and balance those feelings by weaving good experiences so that you build your inner resources. Over time, you will notice that these hindrances or cravings will start dissipating. HEAL allows you to be mindful of the full spectrum of realities (challenging and magical). As Rick says, a bird needs 2 wings to fly Mindfulness and Cultivation. It’s about cultivating a wholesome inside (determination, resilience, discipline, and character). Being mindful is just one wing. Neither alone is sufficient.