Neuroscience Says These 3 Simple Mental Habits Make People Much Happier

Neuroscience Says These 3 Simple Mental Habits Make People Much Happier

For several decades now, I’ve been saying that “achieving happiness requires little more than practising a few simple disciplines, each and every day.”

In the last few years I’ve written a whole series of audiobooks / podcasts based on the notion of happiness habits (HERE).

And just in case you’re unsure, this article explains some of the neuroscience research behind how habits can make you happier …

via by Bill Murphy

It’s the time of year when people quote the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…

But what if our 21st century brains are wired in such a way that an 18th century idea like, “the pursuit of happiness” makes it less likely that modern people will actually become happy?

Mind blown, and that’s sort of the point. Because a growing body of research suggests this is exactly how our brains can work, and maybe what we can do to turn things around.

Writing in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, for example, Aekyoung Kim of Rutgers University and Sam J. Maglio of the University of Toronto, conducted experiments to investigate how the idea of the “pursuit of happiness” influenced people’s perception of time.

Their 2018 research found that people who were convinced they were not yet happy–but who were encouraged to pursue happiness, whatever that meant to them,¬†were more likely to report that time seemed to become a scarcer resource as they proceeded.

Ultimately, the sheer pressure of feeling as if they were running out of time to find happiness paradoxically made it even harder for them to achieve happiness in the first place.

“This finding adds depth to the growing body of work suggesting that the pursuit of happiness can ironically undermine well-being,” they wrote in the journal article.

So, what do we do? Do we just give up on happiness? Actually, there are at least three key solutions that can turn things around.

1. Remember that your brain was built for an earlier era.

First off, make an effort to remember that you live today; not ancient times. 

In earlier ages, people had to make more split, life or death decisions about whether to engage with or avoid the unknown. Thus, their brains evolved to pay a lot more natural attention to negative and dangerous stimuli.

Put more bluntly, prehistoric humans had to focus hard on all the shadowy wild animals around them, for fear of predators. But, they could afford to forget exactly what that sweet berry tasted like, because there wasn’t much chance that it would attack them.

As a result, “the mind is like Velcro for negative experiences,” as psychologist¬†Rick Hanson, author of the book,¬†Buddha’s Brain: the practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom, “and Teflon for positive ones.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE