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Hardwiring Happiness

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

Andrea Seydel Unconventional Bookclub Book Highlight


Dr. Rick Hanson is an acclaimed neuropsychologist and internationally bestselling author, he shows us what we can do to override the brains's defat programming. Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of feeling loved Our brains are wired in such a way when it evolved, we were primed to learn quickly fro bad experiences, but not so much good ones. Life isn't easy and having a brain wired to take in the bad and ignore the good makes it challenging. HARDWIRING HAPPINESS lays out the simple method that uses the power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures that attract happiness, love, confidence, and peace. Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of feeling loved? Our brains are wired in such a way when it evolved, we were primed to learn quickly fro bad experiences, but not so much good ones.


Growing Good

Inner strengths include peacefulness, contentment, and love, as well as resilience, confidence, determination, and insight. Strengths help cope with hard things, stress and pain.

We can grow inner strengths through positive experiences, which is hardwiring.

We need to observe the mind and decrease what is negative and increase what's positive. Eg Garden pull weeds and plant more flowers.

We have lasting neural structure from repeated metal activity called experience-dependent neuroplasticity. This means we can change our brains.

TIPS: The best way to develop greater happiness and inner strengths is to have experiences of them. Taking in the good and activating positive experiences.

Velcro For The Bad

Our experiences (happiness/suffering) are produced by the underlying structures and processes of the brain. The nervous system has been evolving for 600 millions years. Survival focus are still active in our brains. We have what's called the negativity bias so we are aware of danger,losses and conflicts. WE LOOK FOR BAD NEWS!! We routinely over estimate threats and underestimate opportunities and resources. Negative experiences sensitize the brain. Negativity bias is good for survival in harsh conditions, but lousy for quality of life and fulfilling relationships. Inner strengths such as happiness and resilience come mainly from positive experiences. They flow through our brains faster then negative experiences. The brain is like velcro to negative and teflon for positive ones.

TIPS: The best way to compensate for the negativity bias is to regularly take in the good positive experiences.

Green Brain, Red Brain

The brain was built in stages and as it evolved, so did our capacity to meet our three core needs- SAFETY, SATISFACTION, AND CONNECTION. Our basic operating systems are avoid harm, approach reward, and attach to others. When we experience our core needs are met we return to a resting state called GREEN- responsive mode. Feel sense of peace, rest, contentment, refuels and repair, and love. We approach life with a sense of security, fulfilment and caring. We are not as disturbed by threats, stress, anxiety, envy or conflict. When we experience that our core needs are not met, due to the negativity bias, our brain shifts to RED- Fight Flight Freeze Reactive mode. In red zone your mind is coloured by fear, frustration, and heartache.

TIPS: Taking in the good draws you out of reactive episodes and strengthens the responsive capacities of your brain. We need to weave an underlying sense of strength and welding into ourselves.


"HEAL" Yourself: Have a positive experience, Enrich it, Absorb it, Link positive experience (install it in your brain) Take in half a dozen a day during the flow of your daily life, or special times or just before bed. Be a good friend to yourself. Look for key experiences that support threat system.

Take Notice: Notice positive experience that is already present or create one. Be more aware of the experiences even in the background. Be aware of different parts of experience like senses, emotions, desires, and actions. Notice inner speech. Repeatedly take in your emotions. Take in good experiences each day. Notice your own awareness is an opportunity.

Creating Positive Experiences: Self activate positive experiences. Tune into your body and connect with things that generate positive emotions, sensations, desires or actions. Look at recent events, ongoing conditions, your qualities and the lives of others. Look for GOOD FACTS. Imagine the future, sharing good experiences with others, finding the good in the bad, being caring for others. Evoke positive experiences.

Brain Building: In order to heighten positive experience conversion into neural structure- duration, intensity, multimodality, novelty and personal relevance. Absorb it better by visualizing it sinking into you. Routinely give yourself a basic sense of peace, contentment and love to deepen absorption of positive experiences.

Flowers Pulling Weeds: Unpleasant experiences are a part of life and sometimes have value. But with negativity bias is can get stored in your brain and have negative consequences. Memory has a dynamic nature, we can reconstruct or change negative material. Overwrite with positive to sooth. Link positive with negative material so your not getting hijacked by negative. Look for possibilities and call up positive experience and link it with original negative material.

Good Uses: Taking in the good benefits everyone. Take in rewarding experience encourages. Look for key experiences allows you to be resourceful and kind to yourself. Use key experiences to fill holes in your heart from past pain. Take in the good when addressing depressed mood or trauma. In relationships appreciate and internalize what is good strengthens bonds. See blocks to taking in the good as a chance to learn. When faced with challenge, experiences of key strengths will help you meet it in a responsive way.


Collection of practices for growing key strengths inside yourself and supports the responsive brain: PEACE, CONTENTMENT, and LOVE.

Experience SAFETY with protection, strength, relaxation, refuge, see threats and resources clearly, feel right now, peace.

Experience SATISFACTION with, pleasure, gratitude, positive emotion, accomplishment and agency, enthusiasm, feeling of fullness in moment, contentment,.

Experience CONNECTION by feeling cared about, feeling valued, compassion and kindness, self-compassion, feeling like a good person,compassionate assertiveness, love.


Hardwiring happiness is about building a brain storm enough to withstand its ancient negativity bias, allowing contentment and a powerful sense of well-being to come the new normal.

In mere minutes a each day, we can transform our brains into calm and hardwire in happiness.

If you are like me and many people, you go through each day zipping along from one thing to another. Hardwiring happiness challenges you to stop for 10 seconds to feel and take in one of the positive moments that happens. This book is about one simple thing: the hidden power of everyday positive experiences and taking in the good to change your brain.

For a full highlight of this book visit my Live Life happy Podcast or website at

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