If you’ve been thinking about how to rewire your brain to be happy, you’ve come to the right place!
Happiness is a fantastic emotion to strive towards. It can lead to a healthier, longer life. A happy life involves less stress, better relationships, and even a boosted immune system.
If you’ve been feeling stressed or if you’ve been having a lot of negative emotions lately, happiness may be hard to come by. We want to let you in on a little secret – it’s possible to rewire your brain to be happy!
How? Keep reading to find out.
What is Happiness?
First things first, let’s talk about happiness. Happiness is a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.
Happiness is more than just a momentary good feeling – happiness lasts. A happy life means you experience positive emotions more often than negative ones.
Happiness is something to strive for, but it isn’t always easy to achieve. Negative thoughts and stressors can easily take away from your happiness. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to change your current emotional state and rewire your brain for happiness.
Rewiring Your Brain For Happiness
The human brain developed with a negative bias for survival. We are more likely to pay attention to and remember negative things because they were often associated with danger and threats in our ancestral past.
However, times have changed, and we now live in a world where most of us do not constantly face life-threatening situations. Our negativity bias is no longer helpful and can actually lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
Scientists used to think that our brains were hardwired and that we couldn’t change them. However, they’ve since discovered that this isn’t true.
We now know it’s possible to change how our brains work. This process is called neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout our lives. This means we can change our brains by changing our thoughts and behaviors.
In other words, you can rewire your brain for happiness by practicing positive thinking, gratitude, mindfulness, and other happiness-inducing activities!
How Can You Rewire Your Brain For Happiness?
You can rewire your brain for happiness by doing things that make you happy. This may sound like common sense, but it’s worth repeating. When you increase the number of positive experiences and thoughts in your life, your brain gets used to feeling good, and the neural pathways associated with this strengthen.
Over time, this will change how your brain functions and make you more likely to experience positive emotions. Making a habit out of trying to feel good can make feeling good easier! That’s pretty incredible.
You can also successfully learn how to reprogram your brain to be happy if you routinely react to life’s circumstances more purposefully.
The first step is to acknowledge that you can control your reactions. Put this into practice when something stressful pops up!
Whenever you find yourself in a bad mental state, accept the situation. Don’t ignore it, but take a deep breath, and don’t let it get the better of you. Try to see it as an opportunity to practice controlling your reactions. It’s a chance to show yourself that you can control your feelings, regardless of the situation.
Thinking about things this way will help train your brain to react more positively to negative experiences.
How Much Repetition Does It Take To Rewire Your Brain?
The prefrontal cortex is the area of your brain responsible for executive functioning or higher-order thinking. This includes things like planning, decision-making, and impulse control.
You can improve the function of your prefrontal cortex by repeating positive actions and thoughts. The more you do something, the easier it gets; eventually, it becomes second nature.
Research suggests it takes a median of 59 days to form a new habit, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately.
How To Rewire Your Brain To Be Happy
Here are our top tips for rewiring your brain to be happy:
1. Practice Mindfulness In Any Way You Like
The power of becoming self-aware about your beliefs and feelings without judging them is referred to as mindfulness. When you’re mindfully aware, you’re living in the present moment and not letting your thoughts or emotions control you.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness, but one of the easiest ways is to be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, smells, and textures around you. Notice the way things feel, both physically and emotionally.
You can also practice mindfulness by focusing on your breath. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, and focus on how the air feels as it enters and exits your body.
Focusing on your breath makes you less likely to get caught up in your thoughts and emotions. This can be helpful when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
You don’t have to sit down and meditate for hours to reap the benefits of mindfulness. You can do it while you’re eating breakfast, out for a walk, or even taking a shower! You can be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and actions at any moment.
Make it a habit of being mindful as often as possible and in any way that works for you. The more you do it, the easier it will become and the happier you will feel.
2. Get Happy With Meditation
Meditation is a form of mindfulness but worth mentioning separately because it’s so powerful.
According to Harvard Medical School, regular meditation can lower feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. It can also improve focus, concentration, and self-awareness.
Meditation has been shown to decrease activity in the amygdala, which is the part of the brain responsible for negative emotions like fear and anxiety. It also increases activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functioning.
So not only will meditation help you feel calmer and more collected, but it will also improve your thinking and decision-making skills!
When you meditate, you focus on your breath and let your thoughts come and go without judgment.
This can be tricky at first, but with practice, it gets easier. The more you meditate, the better you’ll get at letting your thoughts pass by without getting attached to them.
There are many different ways to meditate. You can try guided meditations, breath work, or simply sit in silence and focus on your breath. Many happiness apps include guided meditations, making them easy to test and see if they work for you.
Start with just a few minutes a day, and gradually increase the amount of time you meditate as it becomes easier. You may even find that it is such a positive experience that you want to do it for longer!
Meditation can mitigate any negative experience and rewire your brain to be happier overall.
3. Practice Cognitive Restructuring
If you want to be happy, substitute your negative thoughts with positive ones. To do this, you must first identify when you are thinking negative thoughts and then challenge them. This process is called cognitive restructuring.
Cognitive restructuring involves four steps:
- Identify the negative thoughts or worries that are causing you distress.
- Challenge the accuracy of the thought.
- Develop a more realistic or positive perspective of the situation.
- Practice repeating the new, more positive thought until it becomes automatic.
For instance, let’s say you’re worried that your boss will fire you. You might challenge that thought by asking yourself if any evidence supports it.
Maybe you’ve been doing a great job, and your boss has been happy with your work. Or perhaps you haven’t done anything to warrant getting fired. In that case, the worry may not be based on reality.
Once you’ve challenged the accuracy of the negative thought, you can develop a more positive way of looking at the situation. In this case, you might tell yourself that your boss is happy with your work and that you won’t get fired.
It may seem silly at first, but repeating this positive thought can help ease your anxiety and worry.
Cognitive restructuring is a great tool to have in your happiness toolkit. Use it in any situation where you’re feeling anxious or down.
The more you practice it, the easier it will become, and the happier you’ll be!
4. Use Positive Visualization
Positive visualization is a technique that involves using your imagination to visualize yourself achieving specific goals.
The first step is to choose a goal that you want to achieve. It can be anything from losing weight to getting a promotion at work.
Once you’ve chosen your goal, the next step is to close your eyes and imagine yourself achieving it.
Visualize every detail of what it would be like to achieve your goal. What would you see? How would you feel? Who would be there with you?
The more vividly you can imagine it, the better.
Positive visualization is a great way to increase your happiness because it helps to program your mind for success.
When you visualize yourself achieving your goals, you’re more likely to take the necessary steps to make it happen.
Visualization is also a great way to deal with anxiety and worry. If you’re anxious about an upcoming event, close your eyes and visualize yourself going through it successfully.
See yourself staying calm and confident and achieving the outcome you desire.
Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you achieve anything you want. So start using it today and see how it can improve your life!
5. Repeat Positive Affirmations
Change your inner dialogue today! Did you know that how you speak to yourself significantly affects your happiness levels?
If you’re constantly putting yourself down and telling yourself you’re not good enough, it’s no wonder you’re unhappy.
If you default to always choosing kindness when you talk to yourself, you’ll be amazed at how much your happiness levels will increase.
If you want to speak more kindly to yourself, read these positive self-love affirmations. They can help you increase your positive feelings toward yourself and your life.
Read these affirmations for confidence to increase your self-confidence and self-esteem. They can help remind you of your self-worth and your abilities.
The more you repeat positive affirmations, the more they will become a part of your belief system, and the happier you will be!
6. Cultivate Gratitude
It may seem counterintuitive, but gratitude is a choice.
You can choose to focus on your life’s positive or negative aspects. If you choose to focus on the positive, you’ll start to feel more grateful and happier as a result.
Feeling grateful is not always easy, especially when things are tough.
But if you make a conscious effort to find things to be thankful for, it will become easier, and your happiness levels will increase.
One great way to cultivate gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal.
Jotting down your thoughts first thing in the morning or before you sleep is a good habit for happiness. Write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for or reasons to be happy every day.
Keep track of all the good things in your life, no matter how small they seem. When you take the time to write them down, you’ll start to see a pattern of positive events that make you happier overall.
This exercise will help train your brain to focus on the positive aspects of your life, and as a result, you’ll feel more gratitude and happiness. And whenever you need a pick-me-up, you can refer to your journal and remind yourself of all the good things in your life.
7. Experience More Positive Emotions
Do things that make you laugh, smile, and feel joy.
Take a walk outside to feel content and at peace.
Learn something new to experience the sensation of accomplishment.
Listen to happy music to feel upbeat.
Surround yourself with people who make you feel loved.
Do activities that make you feel excited and energized.
These are all things that can help you experience more happy emotions in your life.
Positive emotions broaden your range of thoughts and behaviors and build lasting resources such as creativity, openmindedness, better physical health, improved relationships, increased resilience, and life satisfaction.
So, seek out activities and experiences that make you feel positive. Doing so will help you achieve more and improve your overall well-being.
If you were wondering how to rewire your brain to be happy, we hope you have some answers!
All it takes is a bit of effort and conscious thought, and you can start to enjoy a happier, more positive mindset.
The key is to be mindful of your inner dialogue, focus on the positive aspects of your life, and make a conscious effort to do things that make you happy.
If you start doing these things, we’re confident that you’ll begin to see a difference in your overall happiness levels.
So what are you waiting for? Start rewiring your brain for happiness today!
Need a little help? Check out the Do Happy App. It’s a great tool to help you do things that make you happy every day!