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Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence
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Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  3,112 ratings  ·  375 reviews
Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, confidence, and peace. Dr. Hanson’s four steps build strengths into your brain— balancing its ancient negativity bias—making contentment and a powerful sense of resilience the new normal. In mere minutes each day, we can t ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Harmony
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Hanne
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Specialk
Sep 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Did anyone else think this book was just adjectives matched together under categories?

While I appreciated the bare bones brain science of this, it really could have just been a couple page article. Maybe with an appendix of a bullet list with tips for achieving positive connections.

I did this on audio, so it's possible it doesn't come across as well when narrated...but I genuinely zoned out for minutes at a time, only to focus back on the audiobook and realize he is still just giving me a list
...more
Lassie
Jan 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: brain-books
When you notice something positive, sit with it for a while to hardwire it into your brain. The end. Now you can spare yourself 200 pages.
Rick
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
While the concept for the book is very good--hardwiring your brain to focus on positivity instead of the opposite--the book's real meat could have been easily covered in the space of a magazine article. The rest was filler and repetition and after a while got boring...and annoying. And that made me UNHAPPY.
Sasha
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
...more
William Cline
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Kudos for citing your sources, but there's some serious over-simplification of neuroscience going on here.

Summary: Get in the habit of noticing and appreciating good things, especially small ones, to offset your natural inclination to focus on the negative.

tl;dr: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZUmA...
...more
Imibroccoli
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: clinical
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 ''
...more
Paula Cappa
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Are there hidden powers in everyday POSITIVE experiences? Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson answers this question with brain science, psychology, and practical “how- to” advice. This is not another book that boasts how to wallpaper negative thinking with positive thinking. Hanson instructs how to enrich and absorb the positives in your life, how to create solid positive experiences, find the good inside the bad, let go of the past, let go of criticizing, reduce worry and anxiety, grow yourself to be ...more
Elaine Benavidez
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Frank Pacosa
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Jason Fella
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Stephanie Thoma
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The takeaway from this book: when good things happen, don't brush 'em off your shoulder, but rather, let them marinate into your being. Having a stronger reaction to the positive is called "approach orientation" and lends itself to setting and reaching goals.

For those who experience depression, anxiety, etc. it's often due to letting what we attribute bad feelings to marinate, allowing the good stuff to be brushed off.

Rick champions developing inner strengths (common sense, integrity, positivity
...more
Yvonne
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Here is a book that finally explains in detail how the evolutional development of the human mind kept us safe, but hasn't really kept up with our social evolution. In a word, our emotional biases toward danger, scarcity or hostile others once kept us ahead of saber-toothed tigers, quicksand and enemy tribes. In the 21st century, our automatic responses may make us one of the Fortune 500, but get us there at the risk of heart attack, adrenal overload and nervous depression. The human brain has de ...more
Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This is basically Buddhism without saying it's Buddhism. Hanson gives little meditations and affirmations to hold in your mind. Exercises to imagine. He talks about desire, suffering, and impermanence. He talks about holding others in your mind and extending good will onto them. Seriously, this is just Buddhism and if you like that, great. I generally like that myself, but this wasn't what I wanted to go for.

I thought this was going to be about neuroscience. Looking at neuroscience, the way thin
...more
Emaan
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a balm. The audiobook is a balm with the fairy dust of Rick Hanson's soothing voice mixed in. I have become a de fact Rick Hanson fangirl. Whenever I encounter difficulty or find myself struggling to take in the good, I think, WWRHD (What Would Rick Hanson Do?) Lots of people prefer the meditations of Thich nhat hanh and Jon Kabat Zinn and while they are wonderful too, let me tell you, Rick Hanson, with his friendly old man ways and dashing charm, will change your life. I would reco ...more
Lisa
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I can just imagine giving this book to my clients. It seems too simple to be true. People want to think it's more complicated than this. But it really is this simple. The way you allow yourself to think really does change your life. Think differently and your life will change. We have an incredible lack of discipline over our thoughts. This book will teach you some really simple ways to think differently and change your brain structure. Over time, this will create more happiness, more peace, mor ...more
ريحانة
Dec 17, 2014 rated it liked it
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.

Lucinda
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Karen
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Eric Stamper
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jeremy
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a practical, helpful book. The big idea is that neurologically we are programmed (or at least tend) to focus on the negative. Such negativity is harmful for a variety of reasons, but we can work on focusing on the positive. The method for doing so is Hanson's acronym HEAL:
Have a positive experience. Big or small.
Enrich that experience. Focus on it, think about different aspects of it.
Absorb the experience. Imagine it enveloping you, sinking into you, or otherwise becoming part of you, ph
...more
Marsmannix
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, science
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
...more
Pedro Ribeiro
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Frank
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: meditation
The book's technique for changing our baseline attitude/happiness seems plausible. I will try it.
Why only 2 stars? The book is guilty of a crime I cannot tolerate: too much filler. This book could have been just 10 pages, and single-sided at that!
Aram Kokoy
As you get closer to the end chapters it becomes repetitive
Ashley Corbett
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I really struggled with this book. On one hand it teaches you what I do believe could be some very useful and efficient ways to notice the good facts in your life and dwell less frequently on the negative ones, but it's written in a really overtechnical and honestly boring way. The metaphors and comparisons helped me understand but there was no need for the number of examples in each situation. When you finally think you're through with all the science-y talk, it pops up again and again througho ...more
Katherine Gibson
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
In the beginning and middle sections of the book, I found a lot of tools quite useful, even if some areas were repetitive. Towards the end, I started to lose focus because the guided tools I thought weren't meant to be read, but practiced. I borrowed this book from the library, so admittedly I skipped a few sections because I was feeling restless reading the same pattern over and over, even if the author gives you a head's up. Overall, this book is great for someone who has been coping with anxi ...more
Michael Harris
Accessible (as self-help often is), scientifically accurate (as self-help often is not), and genuinely helpful. I liked the detail and larger scope of his previous book, Buddha's Brain, a bit more. But I'm a psych student, so Hardwiring Happiness might be a better fit for those less interested in the neurology/clinical applications of Hanson's work, and more interested in just building positive emotion into their brain... which he really does lay out how to do.
Jason Wong
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very powerful positive psychology method that can be used to rewire your brain to notice positive experiences more often as well as get more enjoyment out of them. However, honestly the method could be explained within a couple pages, most of the book is filler.
Sotiris Makrygiannis
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Easy and simple, very practical and sometimes hypnotic. A rather good book.
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Rick Hanson, PhD is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and New York Times best-selling author. His books have been published in 29 languages and include Neurodharma, Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture - with 900,000 copies in English alone. His free weekly newsletter has 150,000 subscribers and his online pro ...more

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22 likes · 11 comments
“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.” 14 likes
“Neurons that fire together wire together. Mental states become neural traits. Day after day, your mind is building your brain. This is what scientists call experience-dependent neuroplasticity,” 10 likes
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