How to Boost Happiness + How We Are Wired for Fear: An Interview with Rick Hanson

We are wired for fear and if you learn how to amp up the positive and boost happiness in your life, you can counter your inner critic council of judges.  I interviewed my friend Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom, about how we are wired for fear.  This is an 11-minute video so take the time to watch it.


My goal is to help you learn how to become aware of your thoughts and show you how you can change your brain to increase your happiness. Rick talks about how external forces – from the economy to the people we live and work with – and our reactions to these circumstances — come from ancient reptile/mammal/primate/caveman (inner lizard) neuro circuits inside our own brains.  You can take charge of your brain and your thoughts + feelings to improve your outlook on life.

When you experience something positive in your life, be with it and expand it.

The more you practice this, you are rewiring your brain circuits to increase your happiness. 

Positive experiences have “plain vanilla” memory systems unless they are novel or intense (million dollar moments).  Rick says that positive experiences need to be held in short-term memory buffers with whole body awareness (feeling state in the body) for 10 to 15 seconds with intensity and repetition to transfer to long-term storage.

Positive experiences move through the brain like water and aren’t held in the memory. Those experiences are fleeting, and we don’t embody and hold on to them long enough to make them have a lasting impact on our brain.  But negative experiences are caught every time, which makes the brain like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.

Rick suggests that you practice sensing a good thing.  Taste your food that you eat, savor it.

When you accomplish a small task or experience the kindness of someone, expand it.

Be tremendous.

Break every ceiling.

Listen to the only voice that matters: your Best + Bravest Self.


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