Learn How To Boost Your Happiness With A Simple Tip To Change Your Brain
Do you want to bring more happiness into your life? It’s important to savor and expand those positive moments you experience in your daily life.
Why does our brain tend to remember all the negative things in our lives?
The Negativity Bias is an area of research in which scientists say the brain preferentially scans for threats and negative information, and stores that information and retrieves it preferentially.
“The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, and Teflon for positive ones,” says Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Love, Happiness and Wisdom.
Positive experiences that are rewarding get embedded in our brains, and they shift to what Hanson calls implicit memory. Implicit memory is where the action is in terms of the mind and the brain.
Hanson says to level the playing field it’s important to focus on the good that is around us.
As we go through life, the brain helps us to survive and pass on our genes. Our brain holds on to negative experiences to keep us safe by reminding us of danger. However, we overestimate threats in the world, and we pay a lot of attention to perceived threats and mistreatment in our environment – and to the resentments, disappointments, grievances, and fears that result.
We also focus on our own mistakes and flaws, and on the feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy, and even self-hatred that result. Our inner critic is often on overdrive.
By increasing the intensity, the duration and the felt sense of happiness in your body, you are essentially creating new neural circuits to build in your brain. In other words, you are using your mind to change your brain!
Focusing on the Good
Let’s start by having you focus on the things you are grateful for in your life. A good daily practice is to start the day with a gratitude list.
For example, I am happy the sun is out today, and I can hear the birds. Pick one thing on your list and focus on it. Think about how grateful you are about this thing.
The next step is to feel the feeling of happiness. Breathe deeply and dwell on this feeling for at least 30 seconds. Notice how this shifts the feelings in your body.
Bring the feelings into your body. This is your felt sense. Let it flow into your heart and heal the wounds and then flow out your body like honey.
If you notice you drift into thinking other thoughts, gently move back to think about this thing you are grateful for and the feeling of happiness when you think about this thing.
Make an effort to share your happiness with others. Smile more often. Savor it.
Before you go to sleep at night, think about three things you are grateful for and bring in those feelings to your body. Stay with them as long as possible.
This will build new pathways in your brain. If you do this on a consistent basis, you will feel happier, more at peace, and you will be more open to other people in your life. And you’ll probably live longer too.
Happiness is an inside job. Savor, expand and prolong moments of happiness to change your brain.