This is an excerpt from our Winter 2016 issue. Read more about Dr. Rick Hanson and his amazing work in our Spring 2017 ISSUE by subscribing soon so we can post you a copy or by picking up a magazine from one of our lovely stockists all over Ireland. Tell them we said hello!
By Gavin Ryan
Are you happy? Sometimes it can be a hard question to answer. You mightn’t know this, but the United Nations declared March 20th the International Day of Happiness in recognition of it being a universal human goal. If it’s so important, do we know how to maximise happiness in our lives? I spoke to psychologist, senior fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Rick Hanson, who has spent the past fifteen years researching the subject and teaching the world what he has discovered.
Dr. Hanson is interested in what he calls ‘the sweet spot’, where psychology, neuroscience and contemplative wisdom meet. It is here that he has discovered many practical tools for a more stable, durable wellbeing, even in the face of lots of challenges.
Fundamental to his teaching is the idea that the brain is hardwired with a negativity bias. This makes sense when we think of how the brain has evolved over millennia. In the primitive world of our ancestors, failing to learn to avoid danger, such as a predator, could easily result in death. The consequences of failing to learn from positive experiences were not so dire. Therefore our brains have evolved to be much more plastic in learning from what is threatening than from that which is attractive. In everyday life, we have the full range of experiences from terrible to wonderful. What Dr. Hanson wants to highlight is how our brains are designed to absorb negative lessons much more than positive ones.
This is an excerpt from our Spring 2017 issue. Read more about Dr. Rick Hanson in our Spring 2017 issue by subscribing soon so we can post you a copy or by picking up a magazine from one of our lovely stockists all over Ireland. Tell them we said hi!