Science-based tips from top well-being expert and best selling author Dr. Rick Hanson That Will Lift your Mood and Protect You Against Stress.
Dr. Rick Hanson is preeminent neuro-psychologist and and has authored several wildly popular books (e.g. Buddha’s Brain) on wellness that have been translated into 26 languages. I've enjoyed many of his podcasts and video presentations, so I knew I was in good hands with this book, Just One Thing.
There are times when I'm in a bad mood and I have no idea why and what to do to get out of it-times when I'm anxious and unable to settle. I picked up this book and was eager to jump it as soon as I read that it can help you:
Be good to yourself
Enjoy life as it is
Build on your strengths
Be more effective at home and work
Make peace with your emotions
I was looking for simple things to do that would make big changes and this book delivers and then some.
.Just One Thing is divided into 5 parts:
Be good to yourself
Engage the world
Be at peace
The format is short, consisting of stand alone chapters which you can jump into in any sequence. Each chapter starts with a clear explanation of the benefits of the practice and then a section on how to do it.
My first big takeaway from the book was learning why I would find myself in a crummy mood and not know why and, worse, not know how to get out of it.
Dr. Hanson explains why humans have a built-in negativity bias and how it is possible to actually change your brain through what's called experience-dependent neuroplasticity”.
In short, "Neurons that fire together, wire together."
Everything you do and experience--whether positive, negative or neutral, triggers thousands of neurons. These neurons form a neural network. When you repeat an experience over and over, the brain learns to trigger the same neurons each time. Over time, you actually change your brain.
Are you beginning to see why I believe this book is so powerful? One of the other leaders in the field is Jack Kornfield, PHD (love his work, too!) and he has this to say:
“These are great practices—wise and straightforward, scientific and nourishing. They can transform your life.”
—Jack Kornfield, PhD, author of The Wise Heart and A Path with Heart
The book is a fast read if you like or you can linger over each chapter. It is structured for you to use it to suit your needs.
I love the fact that science backs up the simple practices.
I also love that each practice makes me feel good about myself.
And, I was surprised that such simple steps can achieve such profound changes.
Every day I am incorporating at least one of the practices into my life. Incorporating sounds like work, but it certainly doesn't feel like it. Closing my eyes, picturing my granddaughter and smiling as I enjoy those warm and fuzzy feelings is hardly work. Meanwhile, I’m busy firing those positive neurons.
One of the big ahah moments I had, was in the chapter about impatience which is in the Build Strength section.
For some reason, I didn't make the connection between the general concepts of acceptance, resistance and impatience. As Dr. Hanson point out, impatience is a form of resistance. When we are impatient, we are wishing that things were otherwise. Patience preserves you from the impact of negative circumstances, as he says, kind of like a shock absorber.
Now, when I find myself starting to be impatient, I bring to mind his advice. Do I want to fire my neurons down the cranky-path or fire them to be a more positive person?
I want to build my resilience and general wellness so that I not only enjoy every day life, but when I’m thrown a curve ball (and life is always throwing curve balls, that is sure thing) then I’ll be able to draw on these stronger inner-skills to handle what comes my way.
My big takeaways
I have way more control over my own happiness than I realized.
I can gradually change my brain with regular practice to increase the positive qualities in myself and decrease the negative ones.
Each practice lasts mere seconds and can be done over the course of the day, whenever and wherever.
Each of the practices makes me feel better.
I hope the very same thing for you. With just a few seconds each day you can be creating your calmer, healthier and happier life!
I’m not the only fan. Some of my favourite folks have great things to say about the book.
“Most people want to be happier, healthier, less stressed, and more self-accepting, but it’s often hard to find time to work toward these goals. The brilliance of this book is that it offers powerful, targeted practices that can be done easily throughout the day to help people reach their highest potential.”
—Kristin Neff, PhD, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Self-Compassion
“Delightfully clear and practical, this book distills profound insights from ancient wisdom traditions, modern psychology, and cutting-edge neurobiology into simple techniques anyone can use to live a happier, saner, more rewarding life. I felt more awake and alive after reading just a few pages.”
—Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of The Mindfulness Solution
“If you are looking for bite-sized daily practices that can open your heart and clear your mind, Just One Thing deserves to be at the top of your reading list. Grounded in fascinating science, psychological understanding, and timeless wisdom, this book offers a rich assortment of entirely simple, doable ways you can find more happiness and ease.”
—Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Happiness
If you would like to find out more about Dr. Hanson, his work and the many resources he freely makes available you can find his website HERE.
II you choose purchase, this book through the link provided, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I am recommending Just One Thing because I have personally found it to be very helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on the book unless you feel you need it or that it will help you achieve your goals.
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