Brains are extraordinary things. The human brain is made up of an estimated 100 billion neurons making a total of 100 trillion neural connections. That’s is a lot of neural power, right at our fingertips. Even more impressive we can redirect those connections to increase our sense of happiness and wellbeing.
You may have heard about some of the exciting discoveries in neuroscience and how our brains continue to grow and make new connections throughout our lives. Dr. Richard Davidson has identified 4 key areas of circuitry that have the most leverage in terms of our happiness:
- Resilience (the speed at which you bounce back from adversity)
- Outlook (the ability to see the good in others and have a positive outlook)
- Attention/Focus (decreased significantly over the last decade as a result of social media)
So what practically speaking what can we do to boost our happiness?
You Might Try These Things:
- Know that resilience takes time and practice to build to a place where you can bounce back fast. Be patient with yourself, and know that the ‘punch’ those hard knocks life deals you will have less and less impact over time. Even just the awareness of that can help you moving forward.
- The most effective way to rewire your brain to improve focus and to have a more positive outlook is through meditation. There are many different ways of meditation. For instance, you might like to try a walking meditation. Next time you walk somewhere bring your awareness to all the details like the feel of the ground beneath your feet, the movement of air through your nose and mouth, any smells or sounds. Another tip is to move around before sitting down to meditate to get the fidgeting out of your system. Do a couple of sun salutations, dance to a song on Spotify, or do a few good stretches. You can also find many free apps that provide guided meditations (I suggest trying Calm and Headspace).
- Acts of generosity are very powerful happiness boosters. Being generous to others, and feeling gratitude when on the receiving end are two great areas to focus on.
Our brains are being shaped all the time, wittingly or unwittingly. By choosing to focus on these four areas we can significantly improve our quality of life.