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Hardwiring Happiness: A Simple Way to Permanently Reset Your Brain, Stockpile Inner Strength, and Appreciate Each Day's Gifts
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Hardwiring Happiness: A Simple Way to Permanently Reset Your Brain, Stockpile Inner Strength, and Appreciate Each Day's Gifts

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  909 ratings  ·  136 reviews
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Published October 8th 2013 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2013)
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Very few of us have a smooth, glorious childhood. Most of us have a slightly rocky one, sometimes perhaps a very rocky one. And even if we have plenty of good memories too, it’s the painful ones that tend to stand out the most. Rick Hanson has a powerful analogy for this: The brain is like Velcro for bad experiences but Teflon for good ones.
Our human brains have been wired to remember mistakes, simply because to our Stone Age Brains it was important to remember and learn from those mistakes. It
Hardwiring Happiness is a psychology/but actually mostly a self-help book. I obviously went into it with expectations that weren't met, but it's not all bad. I did get the psychological research that I wanted and more. I won't get into it here, but the ideas presented definitely went in line with what I've learned, and made a lot of sense. And it was thankfully backed up with pages and pages of legit references.

The methods outlined in the book are very easy to follow and even easier to try to u
Ryan Dejonghe
This book came at just the perfect time. I have been working through Jon Kabat-Zinn’s WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE and I had questions. Namely, I wanted to understand accepting happiness without the use positive thinking. If you’re like me, you grew up on positive thinkers like Zig Ziglar, Napoleon Hill, and W. Clement Stone. The problem is: there wasn’t a lot of science behind it. Without the understanding, there’s only so much a Pollyanna-like attitude will do for your true internal happines ...more
In "Hardwiring Happiness," Rick Hanson, Ph.D. provides an easy and actionable "recipe" for giving positive experiences greater weight to enable an ongoing sense of peace and contentment. I'd learned of Dr. Hanson's books based on my interest in meditation and his articles about the benefits of using meditation in his psychology practice. I chose to listen to this book when I realized I'd become so focused on worries about loved ones' health issues that I wasn't appreciating happy events as much ...more
Frank Pacosa
Loved this book. Mindfulness has been a life changer for me, but I found a lot of chaff with the wheat. I am skeptical that regular mediation past a point and long retreats make a difference.

I wanted a way to bring mindfulness to life and not something left on the sit or at the retreat.
I knew current research on our minds and learning theory would be key.

Small repetitive behaviors are the most reinforcing for continuation of that behavior has been long know and Rick Hanson has amply demonstrated
Elaine Benavidez
The science behind brain plasticity is one of the foundations of this book. It not merely a "think positive" book as it actually speaks to the issue of ongoing brain neuron development and processes that actually impact hardwiring.
This fascinating, illuminating read is truly genius!

This scientifically based book presents an informative insight into achieving happiness in everyday life, instilling a sense of peace and calm contentment within our minds. Rick Hanson {author of bestselling ‘Buddha’s Brain’} is a masterful writer, who makes everything so clear and comprehendible so that anyone can gain a great deal from reading this book. Using simple methods can in practise change our brain so that we do not dwell on the neg
Eric Stamper
Interesting book... This book was basically about mindfulness and awareness, in particular of the good things in life. It discusses how our brains evolved to notice the negative things in our environments as a survival mechanism, and how our brains have become naturally biased towards the negative. The primary aim of the book was to present the idea that through certain practices, in particular the having of good experiences and the strengthening of them in our daily lives, we can re-wire our br ...more
Jason Fella
I've read many books on mindfulness and re-training your brain, so I wasn't sure this would really have anything unique to offer. Surprisingly it did. It really approaches things from a different angle, and if what the author says is true, this could offer some real relief for a lot of people (including myself) who have depression, anxiety, and similar issues. The techniques he teaches are extremely simple and can be done quickly and conveniently and in so many different situations, a person wou ...more
Arabian Rihanna
This book is part neuropsychology, part self-help. I appreciated the scientific parts a lot more than where the four-step technique came in.

Perhaps this book would be better consumed in audio format given all the practical exercises.

An interesting read overall.

Pedro Ribeiro
It's a original book. The ideia is very simple: our brain is like velcro for bad things, and like teflon for good ones. The reason is that our brain evolved to be like this to increase our chance to survive. But we can chance this by pratice and still be a very realistic person. We can be happier and still keep our feet on the ground. I highly recommend this book.
This is really fascinating stuff--it's the science of how we can literally build new pathways in our brain by repeated experiences of happiness, gratitude, etc...or whatever it is we would like to build more of into our brains. The book says that our brains are "like Velcro for bad experiences, and Teflon for good ones," meaning that when we suffer a scary/traumatic/bad experience, that is much easier remembered and built into our brain (think about how we can easily associate a place, smell, or ...more
David Watson
Incredibly interesting content and very much influenced my overall perception of happiness, neurology and personal conduct/direction.
It opposes the mindset often held by people that you're 'stuck with what you have' and that certain people are destined to be negatively focused and/or depressed - as someone who's suffered with depression in the past it certainly reinvigorated my sense of agency concerning mental health.

The actual brain exercises included were a bit wishy-washy for me, and I str
The first thing I did when I finish this book was writing an email recommending it to all my students.

Personally, I would not have been attracted to anything with the word 'Happiness' in it or as 'positive'.., if it were not for how impressed I was with his previous book 'Buddha's Brain'.

I have been using mindfulness for some years, and this book is just what I needed whilst I felt I was hitting a bottle-neck in my own spiritual/ mindfulness practise.

I instantly fell in love with Hanson's ''
Any Length
I am a fan of brain plasticity and had high hopes for this book. I even liked the beginning of this book well enough.
BUT. Toward the end Hanson gives all these almost identical sounding exercises which became boring to read and I have little faith in working.

He also somehow got the idea that you can "re-wire an alcoholics brain" by giving him good memories while drinking moderately (something you can't ask an alcoholic to do anyway) that he will mix with bad memories of drinking too much and th
Once I realized that I had been following many of the steps with the help of my therapist, I decided to skim part 2. A lot of it goes over and over about the steps to take in happiness rather than letting your brain focus on negative experiences, as it is wont to do, and I have been spending the last few weeks with my therapist saying out loud good things that have happened recently, because she always says, "Tell me all the steps leading up to [good experience], because it's important to say it ...more
If one believes that there are signs in the universe to direct you, then clearly the signs right now are telling me about the importance of "dwelling" on positive experiences.

This was excellent supporting/follow-up/reading-at-the-same-time material for the Tony Robbins "Unleash the Power" seminar that I attended, in that this speaks to the science of why and how mindfulness, awareness, and positive self-talk works. Think of it as building muscle memory for positive thought in your brain. While
The format:

The Story:
This is a non-fiction work that looks at brain science and how we can work our brains to focus on positive and become happier. Hanson's point is that our brains have evolved to focus on the negative -- because if there is a tiger stalking you, you better notice it -- but that evolution is not serving us anymore. So he lays out how we can rewire our brains to hold on to the positive instead.

The Review:
This was really interesting and very simple. As Hanson works thro
Leif Denti
En slags semi-buddhistisk/västerländsk pop-psykologibok om hur man blir av med sitt negativitets-bias och uppnår en större contentment. Skriven av en psykolog utgår från sund forskning. Tyckte den var bra och lättläst. Tror den har insprängda meditationsövningar om man är intresserad av att verkligen följa bokens modell. Ska nog läsa igen.
Tricia McKean
I really enjoyed this book. It covers the basics of the psychology of the brain- pretty much what I remember learning freshman year of college. It presents some new information regarding the way to infuse positive thoughts into our lives, by which we can change our brains and increase the positive to negative ratio in our thoughts- influencing our behavior and general level of happiness. However, my critique would be that it wasn't dense with information (like How God Changes Your Brain, for ins ...more
Barbara Boudreau
This book was just great! There are lots of self-helpers out there, but this one was really special, owing to the tools that the author has added to help build and strengthen positive neurons in your brain. Negative experiences are much more significant to us in general, as thousands of years ago when our brains were developing, reaction to those negative experiences (running from a saber toothed tiger, fighting other clans) necessitated survival skills. Though they are not as essential now in o ...more
Great discussion about how to find the good in things; how to accentuate or bring the good into the forefront even amidst the negative.
I get attracted towards any book that claims to deal with brain and psychology scientifically (neuropsychology). That was the promise made by this book and I felt disappointed. It is out and out a self-help book, never been my favorite. I am opposed to the idea that there is a technique to be happy and that someone can actually teach you the technique.
I think this book does have one good point. But that one point is never mentioned clearly; the author goes round and round. I guess you need a ta
I enjoyed learning about the scientific effects of negativity on the physiology of the brain, and how to overcome and reverse the negative bias of the brain through "taking in the good", not just noticing and appreciating the good things in life, but pondering and allowing them to change us. It's true that the brain is like Velcro to the bad and Teflon to the good and we tend to be more reactive than responsive. With a strong Buddhist flavor, Hanson walks through many meditative exercises to red ...more
I love the concept of pausing to acknowledge the good to reinforce your brain to see, feel, register, and record the happy. It fills the cup of happy on a daily basis. It hard wires the brain to notice the good. It occurs to me that the parable of the 10 virgins half of whom filled their lamps ahead did this very thing. It is a skill that fosters gratitude in the very act of living.

I'm about to listen to this book for a second time. There is more practical information here than one can easily d
Maybe it's because i've labored under the burder of a "grumpy amygdala" all my life, but it was a relief to read an explanation of my journey with the "black dog" that didn't resort to Oprah-esque platitudes.

Hanson provides data to demonstrate that those of us who walk in darkness do not suffer from a character flaw, but rather entered the world several yards behind the start line.

He also offers explicit techniques to wrench your amygdala into a better direction.

thank you for such an enlightenin
Katrina Sark

p.xxvi – The inner strengths we need for well-being, coping, and success are built from brain structure – but to help our ancestors survive, the brain evolved a negativity bias that makes it like Velcro for bad experiences but Teflon for good ones. To solve this problem and build inner strengths into your brain, you’ll learn which positive experiences can meet your three essential needs for safety, satisfaction, and connection. As you build up inner peace, contentment, and love, you
I like this book even more than I thought I would. This is because while many books explain that you should take in good moments (and those books are also great), this particular book breaks it down from the conceptual to the concrete. The author explains why and how taking in positive feelings and holding them in your mind for longer moments at a time, actually creates physical changes in your brain, neurologically installing these vivid memories and positive feelings in your brain, so that you ...more
This book is extremely popular at my local library and after putting it on hold it took months for my turn to come up. Hanson provides a simple method for practicing happiness based upon the acronym HEAL: Have a positive experience, Enrich it, Absorb it, and Link positive and negative thoughts and feelings. In other words, mentally focus upon a positive experience, bask in the good feelings, feel it sink into your body, and (optional) pair any negative experience with the positive feelings to di ...more
Becca Chopra
Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is about growing inner strengths through positive experiences. It applies the new findings of the brain’s neuroplasticity to our everyday contentment, peace and confidence.

According to Dr. Hanson, the brain has an ancient negativity bias – hardwiring dangerous and traumatic events into our brains for survival reasons. He gives a very studied explanation of how our nervous systems have been evolving for millions of years, and solutions to survival probl
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Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, a Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and a New York Times best-selling author. His books include Hardwiring Happiness (in 14 languages), Buddha’s Brain (in 25 languages), Just One Thing (in 14 languages), and Mother Nurture. He edits the Wise Brain Bulletin and has several audio programs. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA and fo ...more
More about Rick Hanson...
Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time Meditations to Change Your Brain Stress-Proof Your Brain: Meditations to Rewire Neural Pathways for Stress Relief and Unconditional Happiness Meditations for Happiness: Rewire Your Brain for Lasting Contentment and Peace

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“By taking just a few extra seconds to stay with a positive experience—even the comfort in a single breath—you’ll help turn a passing mental state into lasting neural structure.” 5 likes
“Imagine a day in which you feel generally fine. After waking up, you spend a few minutes in bed lightly thinking ahead about some of the people you will see and the things you will do. You hit traffic on the way to work, but you don’t fight it; you just listen to the radio and don’t let the other drivers bother you. You may not be excited about your job, but today you’re focusing on the sense of accomplishment you feel as you complete each task. On the way home, your partner calls and asks you to stop at the store; it’s not your favorite thing to do after work, but you remind yourself it’s just fifteen extra minutes. In the evening, you look forward to a TV show and you enjoy watching it. Now let’s look at the same day, but imagine approaching it in a different way. After waking up, you spend a few minutes in bed pessimistically anticipating the day ahead and thinking about how boring work will be. Today, the traffic really gets under your skin, and when a car cuts you off, you get angry and honk your horn. You’re still rankled by the incident when you start work, and to make matters worse, you have an unbelievable number of rote tasks to get through. By the time you’re driving home, you feel fried and don’t want to do a single extra thing. Your partner calls to ask you to stop at the store. You feel put upon but don’t say anything and go to the store. Then you spend much of the evening quietly seething that you do all the work around the house. Your favorite show is on, but it’s hard to enjoy watching it, you feel so tired and irritated. Over these two imaginary days, the same exact things happened. All that was different was how your brain dealt with them—the setting that it used.” 3 likes
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