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Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphin Levels

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,699 ratings  ·  185 reviews
A revolutionary approach to enhancing your happiness level!

Get ready to boost your happiness in just 45 days! Habits of a Happy Brain shows you how to retrain your brain to turn on the chemicals that make you happy. Each page offers simple activities that help you understand the roles of your "happy chemicals"--serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphin. You'll also lear
Paperback, 238 pages
Published December 16th 2015 by Adams Media
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  1,699 ratings  ·  185 reviews

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Diane  Holcomb
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've read several books on rewiring the brain to overcome anxiety and depression by changing our thoughts, and goodness knows there's a plethora of books on happiness. So I was pleased to discover a new angle on both subjects.

Imagine being able to train your brain to switch on happy chemicals that increase your feelings of well-being. Wouldn't that be a nifty trick? Well, it turns out you can!

Your brain has a big job to do: ensuring your survival. When it sees something good for you, it shoots
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Oof. I have very mixed feelings about this book. My summary: a fascinating, but flawed, glimpse of how neurochemistry influences our daily lives. On the one hand, it's a really handy new way of thinking about emotions, habits, and physiological responses that has immediate practical implications. On the other hand...

The book makes a lot of claims about the relationship between neurochemistry and evolution, most of which sound like the kind of just-so stories that result in the field of evolution
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: yoga
So I guess I got another selfhelp book even if I promised not to... However, this must be the most no-nonsense happiness guide ever written! There is absolutely no spirituality, neither psychotherapeutic theory and complicated case histories nor poetry in here, just plain description of four hormones and how they work in a layman's language. To me obviously, this became at times rather boring read. However, I will recommend this book to anyone of a more "rationalist" inclination than myself. Thi ...more
Brian Jones
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great guide to building better habits. New habits are hard to create, but not impossible to create. As the author shows, what is needed is reinforcement through repetition and emotion.

The book does an excellent job of explaining what drives behavior, and how to control it with happy habits. There are numerous exercises throughout the book to help you understand and create new habits. Included are tools to train your brain plus practical suggestions.

The author also provides valuabl
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Nifty serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin & endorphins regulation tricks. Highly recommended. ...more
Artyom Morozov
Mar 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book, highly rated by multiple reviewers, to me came as a huge disappointment. The text is pseudo-scientific, devoid of real ideas or deep understanding of human behavior.

The author claims to explain our behavior from evolutionary and hormonal points of view, and to propose an effective algorithm to change unwanted patterns of behavior. I think she does a poor job on these fronts. The book's explanatory part can be summed up as follows: "we behave a certain way because we evolved to behave
Tomas Laurinavicius
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
We have mammalian brain that is designed to seek survival. We're not meant to be happy but understanding emotional chemicals can help us become happier. Understanding serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphin will explain why it's natural to have emotional ups and downs. The author explains how to use habit theory to rewire our brain and produce happiness from within.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am very familiar with neurons and neurotransmitters, it being a significant part of my job to lecture about them. However, relating them to behavior is more challenging. This book is practical and clear in that regard. I highlighted at least one passage on nearly every page.
Rachel Bayles
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Takes everything you know about evolution, and applies it to your daily life.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was exceptional in both enjoyability and usefulness.

The author, Loretta Graziano Breuning, has a smooth writing style that makes learning about neurochemistry fun and easy. She introduces you to each of the hormones of happiness, explains how they work, and guides you in establishing new habits that will release each one.

Breuning also has a gift for helping you understand that, in some ways, your brain is dependent on these hits, and will operate to get them (one way or another). She r
M. Lia
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absorbed as audiobook on Libby. I found Loretta Breuning from the recent Art of Manliness podcast. I'm surprised I haven't come across her work before!! I'm really glad I did. I've read books and had therapists provide info that talk about inner child work and I've had a hard time wrapping my head around that style of a concept. Talking about mammals as a whole and their motivations and decision-making made me think about myself and how I make and avoid decisions. TBH I have more compassion for ...more
Srikantadatta Tagadur
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am literally mind blown after reading the book. The author is well aware and has done a fabulous job in explaining the funny ways in which our mammalian brain functions. I could personally relate to and vouch for most of the facts shared in the book. Now I know the scientific reason behind some of my happy habits which I have been practising unknowingly. After reading the book I feel that I am better equipped to control my mammalian brain and can avoid yielding to its urges for instant happine ...more
Iliiaz Akhmedov
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have learnt great things!

First half of the book starts with an amazing scientific insights of "happy" chemicals of the human (and not only) brain. Here are somewhat basic structures driving our motivations

Dopamine - aim and achieve satisfaction.
Endorphin - adrenaline-like happiness survival awake driver.
Oxytocin - crowd belonging.
Serotonin - self pride.

Now, biggest thought in me was how this is similar to the modern AI. Basically, these are units of measurement that go up and down and have a
Cecilia Zichuan Huang
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book talks about the four chemicals that make us happy: dopamine, endorphin, serotonin and oxytocin. It tells us how and when our brains release those chemicals. I also learned how to form a habit to make myself happier and what I can do to make it happen easier. Sometimes happy chemicals release without us noticing it but now I am more aware of the happy chemicals my brain releases everyday and trying to just enjoy them before it goes away. I am also more aware of my own emotions and will ...more
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It was fun and easy to understand. Learned lots about myself and how brains are wired and why we do what we do. Clarified several things that were previously vague as concepts for me. And even though I was not trying to find "happiness" when I started reading this book, I am sure it's going to improve my life and how I perceive my own behavior patterns.

Will revisit and also try to read the other recommended books at the end.
Natalie Thomson
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me sooooo much! I think I read it over two years ago and have regularly been applying what it teaches. I strongly encourage anyone who may be suffering from mild depression or low self-esteem to read it. I have found many controlling people in my life and this book has helped me enormously to deal with these people and take charge of my own life. Also, there is no arrogant tone to this book, in case anyone's interested in that! I borrowed it from the library first before buying ...more
André Coimbra
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even though it’s a relatively short book, the practical advice for being happier on a daily basis is awesome!
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
The book is good, but there is nothing really new, surprising, or revolutionary here. I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't life-changing.
Rachel Y
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5. It started out so strong - I loved the simple statements about how the brain works and the entire framing of happiness around neurochemicals. Everything she said lined up with what I'd learned in school as well as what I've observed in personal experience. The second half of the book where she transitions into prescription becomes a lot less credible however and her simplified writing style seems to hurt her. I also hate the cheap feel of the paperback copy.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very readable explanation about 'happy' neurotransmitters and how to manage them.

My only concern is that the author doesn't cite sources. That's unwise, given the number of snake oil merchants in the self-improvement space. Breuning is not one of them, but it would be great if she told us where to go to evaluate the research on which her book is based.

I feel that omission most strongly when it comes to her claim that you need 45 days to establish a habit -a statement which does not chime with
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
I was approached by the author back in May of this year to read and review a free copy of this book. I started ew days after that but I was not hooked. Several things happened in between and is only now (almost 8 months later) that I could finished it, here in India.
Perhaps I was meant to wait, I was meant to ´need´this book. Now it worked and it made perfect sense.
"Habits of a happy brain" is one of those books that you not only read, but you take into practice. Its an "action book". The author
Khalid Ismail
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
The reason I read this book was to familiarize myself with the neurotransmitters functions. I really wanted to know this information long time ago since college, but hadn't done till now.
The book mainly discusses the effect and roles of each neurotransmitter and how it impacts our happiness, social life, self-esteem and pain recovery.
The book also discusses how we behave and what happens inside our bodies when we experience dopamine spikes, for example, as well as dopamine dips.
Regardless of
Jessica Piersol
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've been really into the brains dynamic processes over the past 4 years. This book is a great beginner to understanding the chemicals which control our emotions and feelings. I learned so much about serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphin. This is really one of my first reads in my interest of brain function. I've been reading a lot of articles and videos on neuroplasticity because of my work with the elderly. Also, fortunately I do not need assistance with controling my happiness, but eve ...more
Craig Inzana
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Breuning masterfully weaves the facts of neurochemistry together with personal storytelling. This creates an engaging and informative ride that rarely trails off.

I often struggle to hold my attention to books, so I appreciate good flow in storytelling. The majority of Habits of a Happy Brain contain this great flow. I never wanted to put the book down or skip ahead until the last few chapters. She does repeat things often, but they are only summaries of ideas rather than drawn out repetition of
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I’ll have to review my highlights and notes, but this is pretty great. Fair warning, though: I don’t think this book is for everyone. If you’re not opposed to the idea that we’re all basically slaves to our brains and bodies*, then definitely read Habits Of A Happy Brain. If you’re uncomfortable with that idea, read it anyway, and broaden your horizons, but be aware that the book might not be in any way useful to you.

* I must say, I love that idea, and I find life much easier under that assumpti
Tatiana Kim
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Interesting to read about mood and habits from chemical point of view. I read some books about positive approach and new habbits, but this one gives pretty clear explanation of processes and ways to change self. i will try some new habbits.
Justin Tapp
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Habits of a Happy Brain Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphins Levels by Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD.

This was the single most helpful book I read in 2018 and the one I most highly recommend. For comparison, I also finished The Craving Mind by neuropsychiatrist Jordan Brewer and found Breuning's book much more helpful.

This book explains in simple fashion the ways we individually react to certain stimuli or "triggers." She does not mention Freudian attachme
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: neurology
I have a love and hate relationship with this book.
Hate it because the author ruins a very good topic by writing so boringly with tedious samples to back up the theory. It's like listening to an erudite professor's lecture who has so many things to profess but instead he just blabbers a series of information T_T
In general this book writes about how one person get short-lived spurt of happiness after the brain releases one of the 4 types of "happiness hormones" of dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin, a
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brainwork
A practical book that explains on the one hand how our brain operates and on the other hand how we can take advantage of this. Our brain operates with the 4 happy hormones and the one stressfull one ( cortisol). The book elaborates enough on every hormone to allow the layman ( like me) to realize in situations what hormones are released now. It is just fun to know that with a hug, oxytocin is released and at the end of a jogging run it is dopamine ( and sometimes endorphins). The book also conta ...more
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joy hormones. Loved this book. Very practical and explanatory. The only pity I feel now is that it was nearly impossible to take notes while listening (most of the audiobooks I listen to while running or on the way to work). Therefore, very little takeaways. But i believe those are the most important for me as they kind of stuck in my head:
- if you take cake or sex as an example, the biggest joy there you are getting from the waiting time to get it, while on the way to the bakery or on the date
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #55 Habits of a Happy Brain 1 6 Oct 20, 2016 12:43PM  

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Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD is founder of the Inner Mammal Institute, which helps people get the best from their mammal brain. As Professor of Management at California State University, and as a mom, she learned to question the presumption that happiness is our natural default state. She learned from studying animals that unhappiness is part of our survival system, and happiness is a learned sk ...more

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“When a monkey loses a banana to a rival, he feels bad, but he doesn't expand the problem by thinking about it over and over. He looks for another banana. He ends up feeling rewarded rather than harmed. Humans use their extra neurons to construct theories about bananas and end up constructing pain.” 4 likes
“Identifying a potential threat feels curiously good. You’re like a gazelle that smells a lion and can’t relax until it sees where the lion is. Seeing a lion feels good when the alternative is worse. We seek evidence of threats to feel safe, and we get a dopamine boost when we find what we seek. You can also get a serotonin boost from the feeling of being right, and an oxytocin boost from bonding with those who sense the same threat. This is why people seem oddly pleased to find evidence of doom and gloom. But the pleasure doesn’t last because the “do something” feeling commands your attention again. You can end up feeling bad a lot even if you’re successful in your survival efforts.” 3 likes
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