You can train your brain to reduce negative thinking and increase positive thinking, rewiring your brain for increased happiness through the practice of the Six Sustainable Happiness Skills.
Negative thoughts can sap the brain of its positive forcefulness, slow it down, and dim its ability to function. By training our brain to think in a more positive, more optimistic way, we can train it for happiness, improving our sense of well-being and allowing our brain to function at peak capacity.
Happiness is more than a temporary emotional response to a short-lived experience. It’s the ability to recognize that Life’s Good...even if it’s hard sometimes.
Our nervous system is controlled by two main forces—the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.
They are part of the central core of your brain—the limbic system. They constantly dictate how we perceive and relate to the world around us.
Now learn about the neocortex!
The limbic system is covered and protected by the outer area of the brain—the neocortex—which is divided into four sections, called lobes. Each lobe has a job to do.
Keep exploring to learn how emotions affect our thinking and actions.
Research shows that the right side of the frontal lobe becomes more active when people feel happy. The left side becomes more active when people feel sad. We can train our brains to increase happiness and reduce sadness!
When we get angry, afraid, or anxious, the limbic system gets fired up and can sometimes overrule the outer lobes of the brain, meaning that we are not thinking very clearly. It is harder for our brains process language, form memories, and regulate our emotions.
In moments of anger, fear, or anxiety, we are not as good at processing visual information. This may cause us to misread non-verbal cues, which can worsen negative emotions. But our occipital lobe also allows us to practice positive visualization to help improve our positive outlook and sense of purpose.
The Six Sustainable Happiness Skills are tools based in science that we can use to soothe ourselves calm the brain and nervous system. When we practice the skills, we can counteract the bad things we feel when we are sad, angry, disappointed, frustrated. The Happiness Skills don’t make those emotions disappear, but they do help us better manage our responses to them and return to happier state of mind!
Live in the moment. Be fully present NOW. The past is over and the future hasn’t happened yet, so don’t worry so much about them. Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings in the here and now. Be kind to yourself. Adopt a supportive stance toward yourself and others. When we practice mindfulness, we worry less and we open ourselves up to JOY!
We all want to feel loved, be comforted, and know that we belong. Strong relationships are critical to our well-being. Relationships with family, friends, and significant others, and social connection with peers are huge predictors of happiness in life. People with close bonds are better able to overcome life’s challenges and are less likely to experience depression, low self-esteem, or health problems.
Thankfulness fuels optimism, reinforces trust, and is often reciprocated. Feeling gratitude can increase kindness and create a sense of overall well-being and it adds to the quality of our relationships. Gratitude shows that we are aware of our own privilege, and thankful for the sources of goodness outside ourselves.
Imagine the possibilities! Be open to the idea that everything turns out for the best, eventually. A positive outlook helps us be more hopeful and bounce back from adversity. People are more creative, resilient, and likely to do better in school and in life when they’re experiencing positive emotions. Embrace life’s potential!
Live for something bigger than yourself. You can make a difference in the world – at school, at work, at home, for a team or a community, or in someone else’s life. Purpose means living by your values and goals. It means having a vision for your life’s mission and what you hope to achieve. Set out to do something meaningful. Strive to make a positive difference.
Generosity doesn’t have to be about money. It can be about being helpful, supportive, or simply being kind. It’s about giving of yourself to someone else. Generosity has been shown to boost your endorphins, giving you an increased sense of wellbeing.
You may experience a happier, fuller, more meaningful life when you practice the Six Sustainable Happiness Skills.
Practice your happiness skills by building a personalized happiness rating scale based on the Six Sustainable Happiness Skills. Fill it out once a day for a seven day period.Explore More Resources