The Science

A positive mind is a powerful mind. Over the past two decades we’ve seen the beginnings of a science of happiness—a science of what makes life worth living. Research in neuroscience, mindfulness and positive psychology teaches us that you can train your mind to be happier. And training your brain to be positive is not so different from training your muscles at the gym. As you develop new habits, you rewire your brain.

The Science of Happiness

Taking in the good things a few times a day can change your mind. ?
Dr. Rick Hanson is a neuropsychologist and bestselling author of Hardwiring Happiness. He explains how recognizing and appreciating the good things in life literally changes your brain.

Neutrons that fire together, wire together and passing mental states become lasting neural traits. In other words, the mind can change the brain to change the mind. Change your mind by taking in the good things a few times a day—and improve your state of well-being. Celebrate the little things. Write down what made you happy today and wake up happy tomorrow.

You perform better if you raise your level of positivity in the present. ?
Shawn Achor is a Harvard researcher and one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. If you can raise your level of positivity in the present, he says, then your brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise.

He encourages scanning your environment for the positive
—journaling about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours actually allows your brain to relive it. Engaging in one brief positive exercise every day for as little as three weeks can have a lasting impact, his research suggests. Challenge your friends to use WakeUpHappy for three weeks and see what happens…

You need to talk about the good stuff. ??
Social psychologist Dr. Alison Ledgerwood explains that our minds have an evolutionary tendency of getting stuck in the negative. She emphasizes that we forget to talk about the good stuff, and yet that’s exactly where our minds need the most practice.

We can overcome the negativity bias by training our mind to see the upside of things. She encourages us to rehearse sharing good news daily, to focus on the upsides and to think about the positive outcomes as much as possible. Make it a daily habit to share your happy memories with friends. You’ll make the world a happier place.

Remind yourself of who makes you happy and tell them. ❤️
What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and getting rich, you’re not alone, but according to a 76-year-old study with unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction, you’re mistaken.

Psychiatrist Robert J. Waldinger is the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history, and he says it’s good relationships that keep us happier and healthier. Use your private journal to remind yourself of who makes you happy—and tell those special people how amazing they really are. You’ll probably make their day.

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