28 Aug Some brains might be wired for negativity but all brains can be re-wired for more positivity and happiness!
by Jane Porter from FastCompany
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could hack into our own brains and rewire them to be happier?
Science has shown we actually can thanks to a phenomenon called experience-dependent neuroplasticity. "It’s a fancy term to say the brain learns from our experiences," says Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of the book Hardwiring Happiness. "As we understand better and better how this brain works, it gives us more power to change our mind for the better."
Hanson assures he isn't just talking new-age mumbo jumbo. "This is not just 'smell the roses,'" he says. "I am talking about positive neuroplasticity. I am talking about learning. … The brain is changing based on what flows through it."
Understanding how our brains function can help us better control them. Here are some key takeaways from Hanson on how our brains work when it comes to wiring for happiness:
RECOGNIZE YOUR NEGATIVITY BIAS.
Our brains are awesome at overlearning from negative experiences. "The brain continuously scans for bad news," says Hanson. "As soon as it finds the bad news, it overly focuses on it."
Think of where we've evolved from and this starts to make a lot of sense. "Our ancestors evolved in really harsh conditions," he says. Negativity bias is really good for animals surviving in the wild. It's what Hanson calls the "eat lunch don’t be lunch" mentality. But these days, we aren't exactly running from predators, yet our brains are still functioning as if we're in the wild.
THE BRAIN CONTINUOUSLY SCANS FOR BAD NEWS; AS SOON AS IT FINDS THE BAD NEWS, IT OVERLY FOCUSES ON IT.
Try not to overlearn from your negative experiences. That means if you get a performance review from your boss, for example, and he tells you countless positive things about your work and one bit of criticism, don't obsess (as we often tend to) on the one negative thing. "The brain is like a garden, except its soil is very fertile for weeds," says Hanson.
DON'T JUST THINK POSITIVELY. THINK REALISTICALLY.
There's a lot of good stuff happening in our lives, but we don't always let ourselves stop and notice it. Rewiring your brain for greater happiness isn't simply about positive thinking. "I don’t believe in positive thinking," says Hanson. "I believe in realistic thinking."
Realistic thinking means noticing the good things that happen to us as they occur and letting ourselves experience them. "We tend to not even notice a good fact when its there," he says. "The boss actually said 19 good things about you, but you're obsessing over the one bad thing."
…keep reading the full article HERE