Combining neuroscience with cognitive techniques, Hardwiring Happiness examines how we can shape our evolutionary default brain neurology by taking charge of our mindset and readjusting our response to positive and negative stimuli.
Hardwiring Happiness Summary
Rick Hanson is a neuropsychologist with a lucid and easy to understand style. Drawing on his professional expertise and many years of experience in practice, Hardwiring Happiness offers a series of simple, accessible and practical suggestions for how to feel more happy.
Inviting us to HEAL by Holding a positive experience, Enriching it, Absorbing it and Linking it to a negative experience, the author sets out how we can hack our stone age neurology to deliver a more complete and lasting experience of happiness.
Below are some of the key insights from the book.
- Human neurology demonstrates an in-built evolutionary negativity bias.
- This works as ‘Velcro for the bad, Telfon for the good’
- As ‘neurons that fire together, wire together’ our state of mindset is shaped by the quality of our daily thought processes.
- Consequently, the best way to overcome unhappiness is to regularly take in happiness and use this to reshape the neural pathways of our brain.
- The brain was built in three stages (stem, subcortex and cortex) which relate to systems scanning for security, satisfaction and connection.
- When all three areas are sated, the brain rests in a ‘green state’ but when one area is not being met the brain will react and struggle for control.
- The HEAL approach involves a meditation to taking in the good (Hold, Enrich, Absorb and Link)
- Taking in the good involves holding or creating a moment and then engaging all five senses to magnify the impact on your neurological pathways.
- The most important stage is to link positive pathways with known negative pathways allowing the good to override the bad.
- You can use this technique to allow common virtues/hopes to override vices/fears. For example, feeling loved, cared for, secure, enthusiastic, content or at peace can be used to counteract loneliness, abuse, fear, apathy, boredom and anger.