As humans, our brains have evolved a bias for negativity that causes us to be less adept at learning from positive experiences, but efficient at learning from negative ones, according to Rick Hanson, PhD, in his New York Times bestseller, “Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence.”

The author explains that, basically, we have brains that are Teflon for the positive and Velcro for the negative. A negativity bias worked well in humans for thousands of years, but with increasing frequency it now leads to much of our suffering.

In “Hardwiring Happiness,” this well-respected expert gives us a very easy and actionable plan to take advantage of our brains neuroplasticity and help us overcome the negativity bias.  Dr. Hanson does this through the acronym HEAL.

Have a positive experience;

Enrich it;

Absorb it; and if you like,

Link it to negative thoughts and feelings to soothe and eventually replace them.

Not only is the acronym easy to remember, it is also easy to master. While his transformative book can absolutely improve the overall happiness you experience in your life, I found it can do even more!

Dr. Hanson’s book does not claim to improve sleep, but personally, using the HEAL method allows me to fall back asleep if I awake and ruminate over negative thoughts in the middle of the night. The HEAL method is also helping me overcome my fear/anxiety of public speaking.

We are so excited to host Dr. Rick Hanson as our keynote speaker at the upcoming  Jeffrey Weisz, MD, Wellness Conference (April 28-29, 2017). We hope you can join us, and bring your copy of “Hardwiring Happiness” for Dr. Hanson to sign (or you can pick a copy up at the conference).

Book review by
Dawn R. Clark, MD
Physician Chief Wellness Facilitator
Obstetrics and Gynecology,  San Dimas