Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson (Book Summary)

Have you ever realized that barely any favorable knowledge is shown in the news programs? Why is this so? The truth is that we would like to hear unfavorable information; people own the thing known as negativity bias. Starting with the beginning of human beings, people have been attracted to unfavorable news. However, do not worry! We can conquer the bias, we can learn how to become happy.

In these chapters, you can grasp your in-built ability to focus on anything that worries you by overlooking anything that lets you have a smile. Also, you can grasp the way the organization of the brain may create sad or happy considerations, and the way using some simple methods can enhance favorable reason and strengthen happiness.

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Chapter 1 – Sad or happy considerations are determined by the construction of the brain; however, humans are inclined to concentrate on the “negative”.

While getting older and older, could you relate with anybody and blend in easily? Were you always disinterested, getting harassed, and withdrawing inward? It is likely that you have similar characteristics to people who simply sense excluded even if you were famous in school.

The reason for this is that unfavorable experiences initiate more powerful and haunting sentiments compared to favorable ones.

For instance, consider the final occupation assessment you got: It can be full of praises and favorable comments. However, if it had just one little critique, you are most likely to end up focusing on it, rather than all those praises.

This is the way it is for the majority of human beings since people have an inbuilt ability to concentrate on negative things instead of the positive.

As a matter of fact, around 2001, Roy Baumeister a psychologist discovered that humans concentrate more on irritated expressions compared to happy ones. Hence, when someone stares at you, subconsciously you instantly understand unkindness.

With all that being said, your ability to concentrate on sad or happy considerations is dependent on a specific piece of the brain. Several people own the thing that is known by scientists as the “happy amygdala”, and the amygdala is a piece of people’s brains that controls emotional responses.

It has been shown by research that the happy amygdala greatly arouses “the nucleus accumbens” which is the piece of humans’ brains that pushes us to accomplish our aims. Individuals having happy amygdalas have the tendency of becoming optimistic, concentrating on opportunities instead of hardships. In this way, those favorable feelings may bolster our willingness to act and fulfill our goals, hence, constructing happy living and creating favorable responses to humans’ brains.

Unluckily, most people own the “sad amygdala”. That causes fear-based responses that produce adrenaline and cortisol in humans’ bloodstreams and it makes people sense anxiety and tension.

All through the following chapter, we’ll observe this unhappier brain kind and grasp the things that can change a sad face to a happy face.

Chapter 2 – People’s brains are continuously developing and they may transform for the greater – or the poorer.

There are possibilities that yoı have encountered images of people’s brains: they are those flexible organs in people’s heads that kind of resemble a unique cauliflower. You certainly know that this weird organism is very complicated, continuously advancing and learning.

Away from being static, the human brain develops itself every time. As a matter of fact, it evolves with all the experiences we encounter.

Let’s look at the study that was conducted in 2000 by Eleanor Maguire a neuroscientist: She noticed that cab drivers in London own an especially big mass inside the hippocampus which is a brain’s part that is in charge of remembering in addition to spatial and visual adaptation.

Do not worry, this mass is not a tumor in their brains. That had truly been an indication of the part being overdeveloped as a result of the extent of remembering cab drivers take on to traverse all around London. The cab drivers had regularly been training particular brain cells in this part of their brains and similar to a muscle; it ultimately became stronger and bigger.

Practices similar to those enable our brains to advance and grow, and by doing that as well, we may also instruct our brains to become happier.

Wil Cunningham a psychologist found out in 2013 that kids growing up with mom and dad that could not give them a cozy and caring atmosphere may progress a “sad amygdala” that we have read about in the previous chapter.

Luckily, those types of brains may learn to become happier once more.

Psychology specialists like Stanley Schachter assist clients while doing mental practices that they visualize being encircled by a caring family and getting positive reinforcement. By repeating exercises like that, it can slowly adjust the construction of their brains by advancing their talent to sense happiness and then change their sad amygdalas into happy ones!

Hence, when our brains could be relinked to happiness, is there a reason for our contemporary community to have a lot of unhappy individuals? Throughout the following chapter, we will understand why.

Chapter 3 – Advancement has made the human brain focus on every little annoyance of the present life.

When you are the final person selected for a soccer game during the school break, you could be aware of what occurs as the consequence: Your blood circulation becomes filled with anxiety hormones, your heart beats fast and you feel like that is a situation of death or life, not only a contest for popularity like a child.

Excessive human responses similar to this essentially come from the time the sense of alarm regularly saved lives.

At the violent time of people’s history, threats to humans’ survival made people more aware of anything negative.

During the ancient eras, people have constantly been subject to the danger of violent attacks, either by someone or a ferocious predator. People’s survival had regularly been risky.

Crazily, soldiers of WWI and WWII had more chances of survival compared to the hunter-gatherer predecessors from ten thousand years previously. In those 2 world wars, only 1 soldier among 100 died while, ten thousand years previously, 1 individual among 8 faced a severe final.

Currently, our brain holds on to the marks of those frightening moments, and that has now developed to find reasons for stress anywhere.

This describes the reason a hostile face, a blasting noise, and a hurrying automobile might scare us because we still focus on aspects, owning an unfavorable effect potentially.

However, this is not everything. The enduring tension of the contemporary world continually triggers our mortal fright of dying.

No matter being attacked by a robber in his hand or having an exacting time limit, the precise neural links are triggered. This shows that we are really stressed out every time; we are either bothered about finance, our occupation, politics, relationships, or everything!

For the human brain, it is similar to expending the entire day being pursued by a saber-tooth tiger at the age of ten thousand. Basically, we work like our survival is continually under threat, and this makes us concentrate on everything that is negative.

Chapter 4 – People own what is called “negativity bias” and this greatly has an impact on them; however, happiness can cause relaxation.

To this point, we have understood a lot regarding the way and the reason the human brain concentrates on unfavorable parts of life.

However, this trend is really common that there is a name for it. This is what is called “negativity bias”.

People may even observe this bias while watching the news in the evening. Every episode starts with eye-catching unfavorable news. We are basically engrossed by tales of disastrous earthquakes or brutal criminal behaviors.

However, this unfavorable news does not only impact nighttime ratings of the news; they also, have a great impact on our happiness.

Every time we are faced with a negative idea, our neurological structure becomes alert. As a matter of fact, people’s bodies would respond like crimes and calamities we observe are really occurring to ourselves.

This unfavorable intake triggers a flight-or-fight response and stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are produced in the bloodstream, the energy supplies are cleared out, making us ready to immediately respond to the discerned warning. Normally, our mind goes into a worrying condition.

Due to this, we have the tendency to respond to unfavorable intakes such as unfavorable news, traffic jam, and problems at the office with anger or fear.

That is the way we find ourselves with fury on the road, anxiously hooting automobile horns and shouting. Or we may even find ourselves yelling at our colleagues at times conditions are not going well.

In contrast, we may utilize favorable responses to assist us in moving into a better, further calm condition.

A patient of the writer would fight panic attacks by going to the garden of her home. Anytime she experiences any panic attack, she would go out for some time to make herself tranquil and be calmed by the beauty of nature.

Those relaxing experiences enable her to calm her neurological structure down by reducing her heartbeat, reducing her blood force, and also aiding her digesting well. Any of these helps decrease the pressured, violent mentality.

We’d all want to be better and tranquil, so what other things we could do to fight the negativity bias? Come and see how we can do that in the following chapter.

Chapter 5 – There have been means by which you can consciously be looking for favorable parts of this world.

Did you enjoy a rare minute of pleasure and see aspects you had not seen previously? You may unexpectedly see that birdies are tweeting, flowers are burgeoning, and the world looks all perfect once more. Well, pleasing moments like those do not need to be this scarce.

It is very easy to bring favorable intake into daily life and this can really be done very fast.

For instance, when you finish a job, even small ones like replying to mail, do not just go to the following task. Pause for a minute and see that you’ve achieved an aim and allow yourself to sense great related to that.

Also, you can take a moment for yourself at sunrise for opening your windows and take in a little bit of clean air. Allow the favorable intake to permeate into you, afterward deliberately begin your day with that delight and let yourself maintain that perspective of mind all through the day.

Firstly, you might have to set some prompts to assist you in identifying the favorable intake.

One way is to begin your “Great Year crate”. Every final of each day, take time to ponder on at worst 1 favorable aspect that occurred, jot that down on your notepaper, and put it inside your crate.

At that point, this will teach the mind to identify causes for being joyful. Also, in the final of the year, one may open that crate, go through your writings, and cheerfully recall every great memory that you have had.

Also, another useful exercise is to begin every day by spending some moment concentrating on a positive aspect. That can be as easy as accepting the reality that you are healthy, or you are opening your eyes to a tranquil and harmless environment.

This will enable you to get rid of all the adversity you might sense and teach your brain to concentrate on aspects you may be thankful for.

Chapter 6 – We may overcome “negativity bias” when we reinforce the favorable experiences.

Did you see very beautiful scenery or appreciated gorgeous nightfall and sensed the urge to stop time in order to keep that instance endlessly? Well, you need to! Certainly, we may do just this for every favorable experience, even the tiniest ones.

Although having a positive perspective is not a novel notion, current research shows that we may renew our mind’s negativity bias with having the positivity bias after we reinforce the positive experiences we encounter.

Also, any positive instance can be strengthened just by having some time for recreating and relishing those.

Attempt this training: recall the time you eat your best food. That can be as huge as a meal you ate at a good place or just your favorite type of ice cream. Then, try to visualize the pleasure you get from that food.

As you are accomplishing this, continue this cognitive incident for the length you could. Retain that tasty and delightful sense; if you would be perplexed, work on bringing yourself to turn back on that. This exercise can help you build up any favorable instance and move yourself to have your “positivity bias”.

We have known the way our brain selects negative input, therefore, we should consciously put effort into remaining positive.

It’s a lit bit similar to ice skating where maintaining eagerness is similar to staying on balance on the ice skate. Bolstering that instance and remaining with this delight is similar to skating all over and obtaining the figure eight.

In order to further fortify your favorable instances, you should transform your perspective and create time for favorable aspects. 

For instance, assume you are dealing with waking your kids and preparing them for going to school. Rather than becoming upset and shouting at them, work on a favorable method. Lay with them on the bed and playfully sweet-talk them for getting up for the day ahead.

This isn’t just more enjoyable and favorable alone, that is also further effective as it produces the type of favorable moment that kids and you may bolster and cling to.

Chapter 7 – Being happy may help heal previous traumas and amend senses of misery and pain.

Let’s be realistic: this world may be tough. Experiences like a tough early life or losing someone you love traumatically – those are hurting to bear. However, you should be hopeful. Even some time expended with your lovely pet may actually help heal past wounds.

Stale but correct: novel favorable instances can enable us to conquer previous injuries, even the ones that frightened us while we were a child.

For instance, one day the writer was caring for his 2 corgis. While they play, he would lay down and the dogs would run to the writer and cheerfully lick the writer which the writer likes a lot.

As a matter of fact, that was a joyful incident for the writer and he determined to utilize it for his benefit.

He utilized a favorable moment to overcome an irritating childhood instance. At the time the writer was the age of 4, his grandmother locked the writer outside the house and she told him that cows would digest him while the writer was out of the house!

However, with the experience of dog caring, he started to fuse the 2 incidents, connecting the happy moments with his dogs to the old shock. Currently, at the time he remembers his grandmom, rather than having unfavorable considerations, he habitually considers favorable moments with his dogs.

Even inside this world’s worst conditions, happiness can help heal grief and pain.

The writer tells a different story of a female who cannot find her favorite cat. Initially, the woman was, inherently, distressed, expending days filled with grief and pain. Then she began to look for means to stay in a positive perspective.

She magnified every favorable experience she possessed by having a cat and enjoyed them, allowing them to enjoy for like 30 seconds. By doing that, she was reinforcing the incidences, and this slowly recover the damages because of the damage.

A different instance is a time the writer was identified to have cancer. At that time even, he realized that this experience had favorable things to be gotten. He recognized the way a precise life can actually be and could benefit and appreciate his moments even further.

Chapter 8 – By making novel favorable instances, living in this world will be better and further exciting.

Different from the view of some people, being happy isn’t scarce. The truth is that you cannot have a boundary to the number of favorable incidents you may make for yourself for helping renew the brain for being happy.

When you want a favorable instance to bolster, you may make one by visualizing being inside a location you have always desired to go to or experiencing the perfect wave to surf. You could also increase your probability of getting a novel instance by going through a way you have not gone before and noticing new things.

As a matter of fact, discovering delight in the information you have never recognized has been a good method of creating positivity.

For instance, while the writer was writing, he found new gratitude for the smart craft of the keyboard. Certainly, this favorable incident had been a tiny one. However, any favorable instance, providing that it lets you be delightful, needs to be precious.

Also, these encounters may assist us in defeating our fears.

The author also found it hard to get a place in college: having a shy personality and troubled by his previous experiences of experiencing bully at school. Hence, at the time his flatmate requested him for hanging out with girls, the writer was not really excited.

However, he pushed himself to go and that day ended up great, making a novel favorable instance that enabled him to conquer the anxiety from social conditions. For the next few days, he would recall the incident to bolster it and assist him in remaining happy.

Occasionally, these experiences come from good intentions.

Jorge Moll a Neuroscientist noticed that individuals that donate funds for a good reason find themselves more delightful. The study he conducted in 2006 revealed that the prize cores in people’s brains are increasing at higher rates in philanthropic individuals compared to the people who are Scrooge-like with what they give.

Actually, a lot of advantages of being a philanthropist exist. Sensing delight for your peer who possesses a favorable instance, instead of sensing jealousy or threat, will increase your happiness.

Nevertheless, that is further exciting to split delight compared to attempting to keep it.

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson Book Review

We have to rebuild our cerebrums so that we can concentrate on the favorable. People’s cerebrums still have the characteristics of our old grandfathers. At that time, that had been a ruthless struggle for keeping alive and that was crucial for people to concentrate on the unfavorable since it might be dangerous. Currently, in a period of comparative tranquility, we need to restructure our minds to see the favorable aspects that surround us. We let ourselves appreciate life by concentrating on the positive.

Disseminate the delightful moments with peers.

Do not restrain a favorable instance by concealing it inside you. A good method to stimulate favorable senses related to things that make you become happier is sharing that and recreating that with your peers and the people you love.

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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