My guest this week is RICK HANSON, neuropsychologist, and author of the best-seller BUDDHA’S BRAIN. We’re going to talk about his latest book, HARDWIRING HAPPINESS, where he brings together mindfulness and neuroscience and offers pro-active practices to actually shift the brain’s neural structure – the hardwiring – toward calm, contentment, and confidence.
This time of year can be challenging for people. Holidays bring us in contact with family, which for many carries a charge. We’re all asked to be more social than usual. We need a story to tell. And it feels natural to take stock and self assess at the end and beginning of a calendar year. We can be hard on ourselves.
Rick Hanson and I are going to talk about how you can use new lessons science is learning about the brain to overcome it’s — so far evolutionarily successful — negativity bias – the brain’s tendency to hardwire negative and threatening experiences more easily, more quickly than positive ones. It’s important that you avoid predators. And the ones who didn’t had fewer children.
There’s been a lot of talk about the battle between science and religion the last few years. At the same time, there’s been some fascinating and powerful work bringing science and spirituality closer together. Recent developments in psychology and the neurosciences have led to insights about how our brains work and how these neurological functions shape our experiences of the world. Turns out some of what we’re learning fits very well with the wisdom developed over thousands of years in contemplative practices.
RICK HANSON has been meditating since 1974 the same year he graduated summa cum laude from UCLA. In his new book, written with Richard Mendius MD, BUDDHA’S BRAIN, he pulls a lot of information together to reach all of us from the most scientific to the most spiritual. After all we’ve all got brains and we all seek happiness.
Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist, co-founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom (http://www.wisebrain.org/), and editor of the Wise Brain Bulletin. He offers a free newsletter, "Just One Thing" at his website rickhanson.net which offers a simple mindfulness practice each week. Hanson is co-author with his wife, Jan, of MOTHER NURTURE, still the only book that systematically shows how to support the health and well-being of mothers and couples over the long haul of raising a family. His newest book is BUDDHA'S BRAIN: THE PRACTICAL NEUROSCIENCE OF HAPPINESS, LOVE, AND WISDOM.