Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wellness Wednesday - Training Your Brain to be Happy

This is the first in a series of blog posts about how you can change your brain to increase your happiness. This information comes from "Train Your Brain to Get Happy" by Teresa Aubele, Stan Wenck, and Susan Reynolds.

The first thing we need to know is that we can do many things to literally change our brains. We experience neuroplasticity, or brain changes, on a regular basis when we learn and do other thinking processes. These activities allow our brains to awaken dormant areas, make new circuits and rewire old ones, and change problem connections.

What does this have to do with happiness? When we practice good habits for thinking or attitudes, that area of the brain expands. The same is true when we dwell on anxious or unhappy thoughts. We can also use our imaginations to reduce the impact of bad experiences and reprogram our self-images.

For this week, let's work on empathy and compassion. Spend at least 5 minutes each day recalling a time when someone was empathetic and compassionate towards you. Then spend another 5 minutes planning how you can act in a similar manner with those you encounter. Track what happens in a journal.

I'll be reporting on my results next week. Post yours in a comment!