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Showing 1-10 of 262 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 342 reviews
on February 24, 2016
If you wanna be happy, this is how. The book is centered around the "HEAL" method:

Have a good experience
Enrich it
Absorb it
Link positive and negative material (optional)

When a happy feeling comes around, hold onto it. Really savor it and enjoy it. Through this process your neural structure will begin to change. You will experience more happy moments and feel a general sense of wellbeing. You will begin to see things in a more positive yet realistic light. At first I found it hard to have even ONE happy moment throughout the day. After I started noticing them and holding the good feelings in my awareness I started to feel better and better.

Give this book a read if you're feeling blue. This is the science behind not only being happy but remaining resilient to negativity as well.

Whenever you're experiencing tough emotions, grab a "jewel" from your treasure chest. If you read this book (as you should), you'll understand.
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on October 8, 2013
Ever wonder why we live in the most affluent society in the history of the world, and yet so many people are still unhappy? Dr Rick Hanson explains this baffling fact in "Hardwiring Happiness" and offers us some potent remedies for the negativity bias of the human brain.

In simple terms, being a little jumpy and fearful had survival value for our ancestors for millions of years. So now, even though no predators roam the range and we're not likely to be bludgeoned by a neighboring tribe, we're the descendants of those nervous souls and our brains still have "Velcro for negativity and Teflon for positivity." Which means that many of us are pointlessly jumpy and stressed.

So how do you switch this around so more of the positive sticks and more of the negative slides off? How do we take our brains from reactivity (stressful!) to responsivity (much better)?

Here Dr Hanson's book excels and may be the most practical manual of its genre. His central premise is that good stuff is happening all the time - e.g. you're breathing, heart's beating, sun's shining. All you have to do is take in more of the good. To help us take in the good, he's devised a 4-step protocol with the acronym HEAL:
1) Have a positive experience.
2) Enrich it.
3) Absorb it. Let it really sink in!

Now you practice this HEAL protocol on a regular basis, which can take less than a minute. The more you do this, the more you're training your brain to stay in the happy, responsive "green zone" all the time, even in stressful conditions.

If that were all I got out of the book, it would already be far more than my money's worth. And you, eagle-eyed reader, may have noticed that I haven't yet mentioned the 4th letter of the HEAL acronym:

4) Link positive and negative material.

This step allows you to overwrite and/or *erase* negative experiences with positive ones ("pulling weeds with flowers", in Hanson's poetic terms). This is an extraordinary feat of mental jiu-jitsu: to heal the mind using the mind. What's even more extraordinary is that anyone can do it. I've used it in my own practice, both for myself and patients, and it works nicely. Dr Hanson's simple, step-by-step protocol to pull the weeds from your own mental garden is easy to use and quite effective.

Some of the other things that I appreciate about this book:
-- The organization is clear and coherent - first the Why, then the How - making the material easy to absorb.
-- Dr Hanson is a trained neuropsychologist with 30 years of practice. This means that what he's teaching you works on real people like you and me.
-- Not only does Hanson have thorough command of the science, but he's also a master of explaining complexity in terms everyone can understand and implement.
-- Real-life anecdotes from patients illustrate some of the techniques. I'll always remember the one about writing positive experiences on strips of colored paper and turning those into a chain that grows every day.
-- The book has an actual recipe for getting yourself to practice the piano more. I'm hoping it's translatable to other tasks productive if not wholly pleasant.
-- A big bonus towards the end called the "21 Jewels": "a collection of practices for growing key strengths inside yourself," oriented around the three basic needs of safety, satisfaction and connection. Hanson leads you through a HEAL-based meditation for each one. Top 5: refuge, peace, enthusiasm, love, and feeling like a good person.

Ultimately, this is a manual for healing yourself and your family. Using the procedures laid out in this book, you can solve problems that may have seemed insurmountable for years: mediocre mood, poor relations, stress, guilt, self-criticism. If it saves you even half of a session with a shrink, it's worth the twenty bucks you plunk down for it.

I met Dr Hanson at one his talks here in the Bay Area, and find him to be a competent and compassionate healer and teacher. If you wish to turn up the color of joy in your life for the long term, you would do well to read his book.

-- Ali Binazir MD, Happiness Engineer and author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon for 157 weeks
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on February 15, 2014
I read this book twice. The first time I checked it out at the library. I decided to purchase it as a permanent member of my book library. Its has some of the same content as Buddha's Brain, but I liked this one much better. It's a real life-changer, provided you do one thing: LIVE the material, rather than just read about it. I especially found value in the parts using memory reconsolidation (Step #4), whose potential as a healing modality it's merely in its infancy, in my opinion!
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on July 18, 2017
So happy to get my kindle version late last night. Have not been able to put this important book by Rick Hanson down. Rick has a way to taking complex concepts and the latest research in neuropsychology and synthesizing it into a very available format, easy to integrate into everyday life. Even better than that are the practical and very clear practices and steps outlined in this book. Highly recommended and interesting. We can make a difference in THIS moment with mood and general outlook on life and not have to rely on medications to bring about such changes. WELL DONE!
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on November 16, 2016
I was born and live in the U.S. I recently met a French Canadian, and I was curious to hear her views of my country. We cause some terrible harm with foreign and military actions. But she was thankful to the U.S. for its neuroscience work (and the more understandable and effective healing techniques and therapies coming out of that). She felt this was a big gift to the world. Rick Hanson's book is part of this.

I had read books on trauma: Donald Kalsched, Peter Levine, Francine Shapiro, Laurel Parnell. But things really took off in the past year when I discovered the new neuroscience books related to trauma: Dan Siegel, Bessel van der Kolk, Stephen Porges, Onno van der Hart, Paul Gilbert, Pat Ogden, Robert Scaer, Laurence Heller. Each book, including Hanson's, is a closer look into the brain with the new information from neuroscience (for the first time in history), a look at some of what is actually happening in the brain (in trauma and difficult states), resulting in more understandable and effective healing strategies.

Writers listed above, working with the new neuroscience, have each developed their own language incorporating the new information: for instance, Siegel focuses around the ideas of "mindsight," "integration," and "interpersonal neurobiology"; Porges on the "social engagement system"; Gilbert on developing the "soothing and contentment system" through self-compassion; Heller on implicit memories from birth and attachment trauma, and "developing resources" and "completing defensive actions." Hanson highlights yet another aspect, and adds yet another language/universe whole unto itself: this time, it's the process of "taking in the good."

There are 4 steps to the process: 1) Have a positive experience, 2) Enrich it, 3) Absorb it, 4) Link the positive experience to a negative experience (optional step). The first letters of the 4 steps spell "HEAL." The book goes deep, giving examples, for instance, of childhood deficits and how to create positive experiences in the present that are antidotes that can backfill unmet needs from childhood (so to speak). Or how to create antidotes for other negative material (from other times and other people and events in your life) stored as implicit and explicit memories. I love the chart on p. 137, matching each specific kind of negative material to its specific antidote experience. For instance, creating positive experiences of strength to heal weakness, efficacy to heal helplessness, reassurance to heal anxiety, feeling loved to heal abandonment, feeling seen to heal being ignored, etc. And a section beginning on p. 167 is about using this process in an even more advanced way, to apply multiple antidotes to interactions with difficult people, to grow your ability to stay more in the "green responsive mode" rather than the "red reactive mode." I have been successfully using the less advanced practices in this book already, to help me cope with frequent difficult states.

I liked the italicized examples woven throughout the book of people who have used the practices for specific issues; a large variety of people and issues are included. And I really liked how Hanson brought in some poignant examples from his own life, including his childhood and college years and his relationship with his wife and children. It's a poignant book that goes deep, and yet it's entertaining and funny and an easily flowing read.

I recently founded a phone group for "brain retraining for severe environmental sensitivities," and we are exploring several new neuroscience authors, but we're honing in most on Hanson's work, perhaps because it's more easily applied to our situation and to self-help (a positive experience of "safety" as antidote for negative experiences of unconscious "danger" in response to environmental stimuli), but also because we're looking for a book to read together page by page, and in Hanson's book each 2 pages usually has applicable and practice-able information. (If any researchers out there would like to work with us as a group, please contact me.)

Finally, I had a good cry on the last page, about what would happen if more and more people did this work, growing our capacity for the green responsive mode (elsewhere called "integration," "regulation," etc.): "...imagine how businesses would treat the people working in them, how governments would operate, and how nations might treat one another" (p. 223). It's hard not to weep at that (as Trump was just elected President last week).
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on December 10, 2015
Possibly the best book I've ever read. Likely a life changer for me.

I'm very neurotic; have been for a long time and have struggled with it immensely. While reading this book, I felt a change in myself. I've been happier lately. I've appreciated things. My brain has stayed with positive thoughts instead of constantly thinking about what's wrong. One of my favorite parts of the book is where the author states something along the lines of "wanting and not liking is hell. liking and not wanting is heaven"; that is me..I'm always stressed about what I should be accomplishing/getting instead of appreciating what I have..and I believe that that over-want is paradoxically holding me back (through the stress, diminishment of inner strengths) from further success.
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on September 13, 2014
I am taking Rick Hanson's three core needs of safety, satisfaction, and connection into my yoga and expressive arts practice. I am creatively interweaving these core needs into sound healing, yoga postures, and therapeutic drumming. Rick Hanson's insights about creating green brains for peace is illuminating and inspiring! I met Rick Hanson at the 2012 Soundstrue Wake Up Festival. What a nice guy! He has been changing my brain for the good ever since the festival!
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I love this book filled with facts about the human brain and ways to think positive resulting in a happier life. My mother always cut out articles on 'how to be happy' so most of the info I already knew but I love having it in one hard book that's easy read ! I highly recommend this book!
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on May 9, 2017
I am really trying to stick with this book but it just keeps evading me. At least this book has some new and original concepts. Will keep reading and add to my review when done. I've read so many great books - hoping to find more.
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on March 30, 2014
At last I've found the key for which I have been looking for so long. Knowing about the neuroscience behind the practice made it credible and a great encouragement to practice the easy steps and really HEAL. I've read many psychological self help books and nothing changed for me. Rick Hanson has written from his own lived experience and researched what neurologically makes his practice work. I predict that this book will be a classic for generations to come.
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