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

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  3,266 ratings  ·  339 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 learn
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Paperback, 238 pages
Published December 16th 2015 by Adams Media
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  3,266 ratings  ·  339 reviews


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Start your review of Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphin Levels
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
...more
Chris
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
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Kristina
*** I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads ***
** The Giveaway was Listed By Loretta (the author) **
* I received my copy on Mon, Jun 18 2012 *

THANK YOU GOODREADS FIRST READS AND LORETTA!

First off, I would like to note that 3 stars does in fact mean "I liked it." Also, I spent a year and a half of my early college education on eight different psychology classes, and a number of philosophy classes, so I had a good base knowledge of brain chemistry and different ideas of thought
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Silje
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
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
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Paul
This book is self-published (through Breuning's own institute), her explanation of neurotransmitters is simplistic and assumes that we know more about how the brain works than we actually do, and she has no medical or scientific background (her PhD is not in the sciences and she's a professor of management).

This is literally a case of someone reading a few books and articles about a topic she has no expertise in, taking notes, and then padding those notes with self-help jargon and calling it a
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Nifty serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin & endorphins regulation tricks. Highly recommended.
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
...more
Havard Mela
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great book about happiness and how to increase your levels of dopamine, serotonin, endorphin and oxytocin. This book deals with reality and is very practical and useful.
Cynthia
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading about "happiness" and "fun" for about 15 years, ever since a really low point in my life. This just may be the most important book I have ever read, period, because now I have a model that fits exactly with my ups and downs and a clear understanding of how to manage and even steer them successfully. IN PARTICULAR, her theory that "status" (essentially [as I understand the author] exercising control over how you're treated) is the opposite of depression was a eureka moment for ...more
Dilay
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
I was hoping this book would be more about biology. It turned out to be a long lecture about being happy. The whole idea (of doing the right thing for your brain for 45 days straight) could easily fit into an Instagram post. Sorry to say. Read Robert Sapolsky instead, folks.
Hannah Johnson
Excellent book for understanding how to build new and healthy habits! I would argue that the author’s naturalistic starting point leads to an overly simplified paradigm for addressing this issue, but she nonetheless offers incredible insights into our brain and its “happy chemicals” and how they contribute to our habits and lives.
Victoria Zabuzova
May 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
How and why we feel positive feelings we feel and how to manage that.
Easy to read, this is a great introduction to neuro- part of psychology and general social behavior. It explains a lot about vicious and virtuous behavioral patterns we all have.
Chrissie
Mar 01, 2021 rated it did not like it
I started off feeling pretty meh about this book. Meh eventually evolved to, “oh no she didn’t!”I’m sure this book is helpful for some folks. I do like that’s it encourages a proactive stance and Chapter 6 provides some generally helpful tips for building “pro-happy brain” habits (barring the ones for endorphins - just skip that part) - I think her suggestions for increasing oxytocin might be the most trauma-informed part of the book. However, I take issue with the sweeping oversimplifications. ...more
Adnan Alaa
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting scientific take on the neurochemical changes occurring in the human mind in response to different stimuli. The book manages to transform so many abstract concepts like happiness, love and trust to neurochemical processes which can be altered if well understood to control how someone feels. The book, in what it presented, shows how by understanding the science, we can trace our feelings whether bad or good to their origins without being overwhelmed by the feelings which, in tur ...more
Alaeddin Hallak
The key message in this book:

Happiness isn’t arbitrary. Rather, it’s rooted in natural, chemical processes in your brain – processes that were developed long before even the evolution of mankind! But that doesn’t mean you are powerless to determine your own happiness.
Elliedakota
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.
Morgan Blackledge
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LOVE IT!!!!! What a game changing book.
Meg
Oct 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that explains the connection between our psychological structure to the biological science behind it? Count me in! This was time well spent and a solid 3.5 read for me.

'Habits of a Happy Brain' is a book that has taken the core of enzyme science and explained it in a simplified manner to help us understand on how to train our brain into becoming happier. The philosophy here is straightforward - Your brain secretes enzymes as a result of certain actions and this triggers happiness (or unh
...more
Juli
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
...more
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
...more
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
Natalía Papadopoúlou
The book was so repetitive that I ended up using the audible version to fall asleep. The first chapters did a good job explaining how all the chemicals react in our brain. I got frustrated throughout the last ones as it seemed to be the author was quite dismissive when it comes to dealing with societal problems so that we can focus on our inner happiness instead. Can’t understand why it has to be one or the other. I would have also appreciated studies referenced when appropriate as now it felt t ...more
Sefa
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.
...more
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
Marie
Mar 11, 2021 rated it liked it
More scientific than I anticipated. Interesting information, although probably not that useful to me.
Victoria
Aug 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book gives a great overview of the neuroscience of happiness. It changed my view on the pursuit of happiness and also on the meaning of life.
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!
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #55 Habits of a Happy Brain 1 7 Oct 20, 2016 12:43PM  

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Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD is founder of the Inner Mammal Institute, which helps people find their power over their mammalian brain chemicals. As Professor of Management at California State University, and as a mom, she lost faith in the theory that happiness is our natural default state. By studying animals, she learned that unhappiness is part of our survival system, and happiness is a learn ...more

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23 likes · 2 comments
“Each happy chemical triggers a different good feeling. Dopamine produces the joy of finding what you seek– the “Eureka! I got it!” feeling. Endorphin produces the oblivion that masks pain– often called “euphoria.” Oxytocin produces the feeling of being safe with others– now called “bonding.” And serotonin produces the feeling of being respected by others–“pride.” 12 likes
“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.” 6 likes
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