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Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels Paperback – December 16, 2015

4.8 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, is the founder of the Inner Mammal Institute, which provides resources that help people rewire their mammalian neurochemistry. She's Professor Emerita at California State University, East Bay, and author of Beyond Cynical and I, Mammal. She also writes the blog Your Neurochemical Self: Getting real with a 200-million-year-old brain on PsychologyToday.com. She has been interviewed on NPR, The Matt Townsend Show, and the Askaltucher podcast, and her work been featured in Psychologies and Real Simple magazines.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media (December 16, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440590508
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440590504
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Garfinkel on November 16, 2015
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book under its previous title, "Meet Your Happy Chemicals." *My* happy chemicals started flowing right away as I read it... and... I enthusiastically recommended it to many friends and clients.

Why?

Because as a fervent student and fan of anything/everything on neuroscience, I found this book did a better job than most others did of explaining how four key naturally-occurring substances - dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphin - work in everyday life.

It all started on an amazon search. A very successful and quirky client told me he was motivated by three things:

1) Freedom
2) Time
3) Dopamine.

I know a bit about creating more of the first two, but really, I knew little to nothing about the third. I searched for "dopamine" and I happened upon an earlier edition of this book. It told me, in plain, simple, knowledgeable and yet very-well-researched language, so much that was useful, applicable, and simply just interesting!

Including, ways my client could increase his dopamine levels without getting hooked on dangerous drugs or maxing out all his credit cards!

The author has gone deep into evolutionary psychology/biology to come up with her conclusions. But unlike many books in this field, hers is easy to follow and fun to read. Maybe she's a fan of Einstein's dictum: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."

Check this book out. Very, very worthwhile.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Believe it or not, it is possible to talk about your neurochemicals and not fall asleep. Dr. Breuning takes a fresh look at how our brains give us positive reinforcement. It should come as no surprise that our happy chemicals are tied to our survival.

The bad news is that these feelings of happiness can only last for a short while because in the wild we always need to be on alert for predators and other dangers.

The book goes on to describe how most bad habits are misguided attempts to feel good and how each neurochemical influences your behavior in a different way.

I especially enjoyed how you can use these neurochemicals to reinforce new habits and making changes in your life. The book provides a section on how to do just that.

Sadly the old adage that it takes 21 days to make a change doesn't hold true and it's closer to 45 days. That's why if you're going to spend the time and effort to make a change in your life, make it big!
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Format: Paperback
A personal development coach recommended this book to me, and it was the gateway to ever more learning about the brain. With the understanding that we have two million years of evolution driving our desire for achievement, connection, success, and belonging, it makes the everyday challenges of life so much easier to navigate. And it takes away the propensity to shame ourselves: we're just hairless apes doing our best to survive and thrive. I do see the world and the human fight for survival in a whole new light. It's made me understand why procrastination literally hurts, and how repeating the same behaviour over and over leads to habits both good and bad. Once I started looking at the brain and myself from the perspective of neuroscience, there was no turning back. It's made me a more clear-thinking, rational, understanding, and compassionate mammal.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First half of the book talks about the science of it, so if you have no interest in that just skip the the second half which speaks to the simple habits she recommends you adopt to sort of reset your brain and thus your moods and outlooks. I'm glad its so simple, as I had concern that this was all going to be one of those books that asked for extraordinary and complicated methods like so many other books. Instead I'm just adjusting my old habits to a new set of habits..
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Format: Paperback
Loretta Breuning's books offer a unique and fascinating perspective on how our behavior is affected by the brain chemicals oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and endorphin. And she teaches us how our behavior is guided by instinctual urges to survive as all mammals. It is fascinating to learn that we are wired to be constantly scanning for threats to our surviva, that perpetual happiness is not conducive to survival, and how the four major brain chemicals are implicated in our drive to survive. I love this book and all that I have read by Dr. Breuning. You will understand yourself, others, society and why even though the human race may remember the past, they are still doomed to repeat it. The good news is that once we understand how the brain chemicals work we can identify misperceived threats in our lives and our undesirable behaviors based upon those misperceptions. We can work on changing the behavior at the same time as understanding urges, thoughts and behaviors that we may have judged ourselves harshly fo at a time when we had no knowledge of this strong natural urge to survive and its attendent fear of any threat to our survival whether real or perceived. And the books are entertaining to read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Love is a huge surge of happy chemicals because it's highly relevant to the survival of your genes." ~ Loretta Graziano Breuning

Would you like to have more power over your own happiness? By understanding the ways a mammalian brain works in reality you will be much closer to your goal. I learned so much about myself and others through reading this fascinating book. What was interesting to me was how accurate Loretta Graziano Breuning is about the types of people who trigger greater amounts of happy chemicals in your brain.

The author does not talk a lot about cortisol, mostly only to tell us that it makes us feel bad. The goal is to strive for oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. Oxytocin appears during social bonding like holding hands. Serotonin can make you feel good when you win respect and feel you have social importance. Dopamine appears when a need is about to be met.

Loretta Graziano Breuning makes a good point about how we get happy when we think something we are doing is going to outlast us. This is why a lot of people have kids or fight for worthy causes.

Some of the interesting facts in this book explain things like why people are attracted to bad news and why belonging to a "herd" doesn't make you happy because what you really want is to be noticed. Also when you are noticed by someone who you think is important, your serotonin surges. This could explain our fascination with famous people and movie stars.

What this book seeks to do is to inform you of your choices and to give you ideas for how to improve happiness in your life. The author states that new behaviors have to be processed by the brain for 45 days. That sounds a little extreme. There are much shorter ways to happiness. So this book is more about long-term success. It might work for some people. Otherwise it is just a very interesting read.

~The Rebecca Review
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