Is it possible to hardwire your brain for happiness?
Dr. Rick Hanson thinks so and he has the perfect four step system for turning the negative into positive. I first heard of this "re-wiring" methodology from Dr. Hanson on The School of Greatness Podcast Episode 207. Since then, I’ve been doing my best to practice this system to help me enjoy the present moment. I definitely recommend it to those who find themselves battling negative thoughts or self-doubt. The system is called HEAL.
How HEAL helps happiness
- Have a good experience
- Enrich it
- Absorb it
- Link positive and negative material
1) Have a good experience: Give yourself the opportunity to have a good experience. Have an open mindset and be willing to take in the present moment. Usually this will be a moment of relaxation, connecting with others, or finding success.
2) Enrich: Savor the experience for an extra 10 to 20 seconds. Enjoy it. Let that shit marinate!
3) Absorb: Let yourself be changed by it. Really receive it. Encode the experience into your mind.
4) Link positive and negative (optional step): Stay strong with the positive, link it with the negative, and allow it to slowly overtake the bad thoughts. “Neurons that fire together wire together,” and the goal of this step is to fire positive and negative so that the positive eventually wins. You must keep the positive in the foreground and let it gradually take over the negative.
Example: You don’t believe in your ability to perform at your job. Your boss compliments you on the latest project. Take 10 seconds to smile and let the compliment sink in (don’t forget to say thank you). Savor the experience as one to remember for your next project. Now for the hard part (link positive and negative), think of this good experience and mix in some of your self-doubts and thoughts of your lack of ability to perform at your job. Whenever these negative thoughts come up, actively think about the positive experience with your boss. Slowly you will overtake the negativity. That is how you hardwire happiness.
PRO TIP: Whenever you have a good experience, use HEAL to help create a lasting effect of happiness in your brain.