Rick Hanson PhD
Aug 01, 2011
To simplify a complex process, your brain evolved in three stages:
- Reptile – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm
- Mammal – Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards
- Primate – Cortex, focused on attaching to “us”
This post is about weaving the sense of being included and loved into the primate cerebral cortex.
In ancient times, membership in a band was critical to survival: exile was a death sentence in the Serengeti. Today, feeling understood, valued, and cherished – whether as a child or an adult, and with regard to another person or to a group – may not be a life and death matter (though studies do show that survival rates for cancer …
Rick Hanson PhD
Jul 23, 2011
Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.
It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse, and learn from them so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness: they’re unfairly self-critical.
Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the alarm clock for 6 am to get up and exercise . . . and then when it goes off, another part of me could grumble: “Who set the darn clock?” More broadly, there is a kind of inner critic and inner protector inside each …
Jun 02, 2011
“Happiness is possible,” Thich Nhat Hanh reassuringly begins the three-CD audiobook You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment.
I arrive back from two months in India and twenty days of Vipassana insight meditation retreat, where I was practicing mindfulness, and waiting for me on my doorstep is a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s You Are Here.
It promises to offer simple and effective practices for cultivating mindfulness. Perfect, I think to myself as I try to maintain the few remaining grains of equanimity I had cultivated back in India.
Thich Nhat Hanh …
May 31, 2011
Ezra Bayda is a Zen teacher and former student of Charlotte Joko Beck. He has written four other books, including At Home in the Muddy Water: a Guide to Finding Peace within Everyday Chaos. With his wife, Elizabeth Hamilton, he runs the San Diego Zen Centre, which, as their web-site says, is not affiliated with any particular religious denomination. This is a book that doesn’t talk much about Buddhism and has only a handful of references to the Buddha and his teachings. So is it “secular Buddhism,” with a watered down yet more widely palatable message promising that happiness is easily within our grasp, or something more?
Title: Beyond Happiness
May 03, 2011
Have you ever noticed that when you are with some people you feel energized and when you are with other people your energy is drained?
Do you have a difficult time saying “no” when someone requests something from you, and then find yourself feeling exhausted and resentful?
Do you put your own responsibilities on hold in order to do things for other people?
Have you been, or are you now, feeling like there are not enough hours in the day to do all that you need to do? Are you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted?
If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, mindfulness can help you to be aware of how, …
Mar 26, 2011
As a proponent of living mindfully and with a desire to bring mindfulness into my daily life in terms of: communication, work, family life, friendship, abundance, skillfulness and simplicity I have been thinking about mindfulness and money. I’ll write about the motorcycle in a bit.
I grew up with parents who wanted me to “understand the value of a dollar” and to “work for what I got”. These messages have been deeply ingrained. As a result, I have worked hard and believed what I have should be a result of the work I performed, so I had difficulty accepting gifts, especially gifts of money.
That being said, I do desire material things. …
Feb 05, 2011
Research suggests that people who feel gratitude benefit in the following ways:
2. less depressed
3. less stressed
4. more satisfied with their lives and social relationships
5. aware of their purpose in life
6. self confident
8. able to cope with the difficulties in positive ways
9. more likely to seek support from other people, and
10. able to learn and grow from their experiences.
It has been said that gratitude is strongly linked with mental health. Several times in my life I have kept a gratitude journal, in which I have …
Jan 23, 2011
We all want to be happy. Book stores have aisles and aisles of self-help books, many of which include chapters on how to be happy.
Here is a list of four lessons I have learned that bring happiness:
1. Assume the best.
Recently I had a difference of opinion with a friend and was concerned that she would tell mutual friends that she was wronged by me. I was feeling defensive, but the truth was I did not know whether she had said anything to anyone about the disagreement. When I assumed the best, that she kept our interaction confidential, I felt at ease and open-hearted to her and my other friends.
2. Seek first to understand others, then seek to be understood.
Dec 17, 2010
Writing a book entitled How To Be Rich and Happy means rather unsurprisingly I regularly get asked by interviewers, “What is rich and happy?” and I always respond by saying, “I have absolutely no idea”.
As you can imagine, that is seldom the answer the person is looking for, or indeed expecting, and it usually leads to a furrowing of the brow and a quizzical look before the follow up question of “Well how can you write a book on it then?” comes my way.
Philosophers have been debating the meaning of happiness almost since the dawn of time and we still don’t have a definition that everybody agrees upon. Modern …
Nov 09, 2010
When the film Four Weddings and a Funeral came out in 1994, I was irritated by the film’s ‘token’ inclusion of a deaf character and two gay men. A lesbian friend was less judgemental. She was just thrilled that a mainstream film featured a gay relationship.
Reading Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-seller, and seeing the film adaptation starring Julia Roberts, I think I know how my friend felt. The ideas are flawed, but to see Buddhism portrayed positively in popular culture is a delight.
The story – if you don’t know it – is of a thirty-something woman, unsatisfied with her affluent New York life, who goes …