Society teaches us that happiness is a result, something you achieve or gain through accomplishments.
But a growing body of scientific research shows the opposite. Happiness is a state of mind, an attitude that can be nurtured and nourished regardless of external factors.
In fact, science demonstrates that people who are happy first are more successful later on: they have more energy and show more passion. And their enthusiasm is contagious. This is the foundational idea behind ABSRI: happiness matters now.
We unleash the passion of individuals, teams, customers and others by helping them put happiness first. We harness happiness to make a difference in lives, in businesses—and in the world.
In my opinion, gratitude is one of the most powerful — yet underrated — emotions when it comes to achieving a Happy Brain. As I state in my first book Brain, Body & Being: “If You Want To Get Happy, Practice Gratitude!” Why is that true? Well first of all, science backs up this very claim. Whenever you express gratitude, it’s like the neural circuits in your brain step on the “emotional brakes” and suddenly, the emotions of sadness, self-pity or stress that were driving you, are slowed. Cultivating gratitude also helps build your “empathy muscles” by allowing you to embody compassion for others. More brain science affirms that people who are compassionate and express gratitude are more happy and healthy. In the “Happiness” course I teach ay my university, I have students perform a variety of “gratitude-building” exercises throughout the semester. Here’s one simple and easy-to-use gratitude tool that you can incorporate into your daily regimen.
Bring to mind three people—alive or deceased—whom you are genuinely grateful for in your life. They don’t have to be the same people every day you do this. They don’t even have to be people. You can think of a pet, the one you have now or the one you loved as a child. The important thing is that you do this exercise the first thing when you wake up! Envision each person in your mind for about 10-15 seconds, and send either a verbal or silent affirmation expressing why that person—or dog or cat—mattered to you. The other important thing is to not only engage your thoughts, but the feeling of gratitude. You’ll be surprised by how much this simple exercise will brighten your day and help you enjoy the many benefits of a Happy Brain. Enjoy the video to learn more about the many benefits of gratitude.
“Housewives, workers who do windows, we had executives. And the thing that was the best, everyone helped everyone…I was compelled [to act], as I’m the type of person who can’t stand by and watch other people suffer. And to me they were suffering. They wanted to get off the island. And there was no way for them to get off the island, other than the water.” These are the heartfelt words of Captain Vincent Ardolino describing his bravery and courage on 9/11 as he took part in Operation Boatlift. For those unfamiliar with this event, it is the heroic tale that transpired in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers. Operation Boatlift is the largest known naval evacuation to have taken place in history.
What makes Operation Boatlift so powerful is that without even any hesitation or consideration for their own safety, Ardolino and over a hundred civilian captains instinctively knew what had to be done. Ardolino and his fellow “Boatlifters” from the greater New York metropolitan area organized an impromptu fleet of volunteer ships with one goal in mind—to evacuate the hordes of stranded survivors from the carnage. Why did they act? To save their tribe!
As we commemorate 9/11, we are reminded of humanity’s timeless power and enduring resilience that manifest the moment we become a tribe. Operation Boatlift is a social snapshot that illuminates wisdom advanced throughout the ages and reveals a forgotten secret about our common humanity. In times of tragedy and in moments of strife there exists an evolutionary drive for us to rush to the aid of others—our tribe. Tribe is the backbone of every society. Without our tribe, we perish. Tribe makes sure that we survive and thrive! You’ll know exactly what I mean by watching this powerful video!
Among the most primal drives we humans have is the insatiable need to be needed. More so than desiring money, a big home, a fancy car, the latest fashion, or Twitter likes, we crave connection. As a researcher on brain science and human happiness, I couldn’t agree more! Being part of a community and feeling needed turn out to be one of the greatest sources of our happiness. Knowing that you belong and that others value your presence in the world is a form of wealth beyond measure! Have you ever wondered why we crave connection? Enjoy learning the answer in our latest article in the series “The Science Behind Connection” for Conscious Good Media.
Stress—we just can’t seem to get rid of it. From the perspective of evolution, your body’s stress-response system became a powerful strategy to promote survival of the species. Feeling stress and panic when you were being chased by a hungry predator or when you’re trying to avoid being hit by a car is a good thing! The problem we face in today’s world is learning to differentiate between “real” vs “perceived” situation of stress that actually threatens your survival. Here’s an example—about to be bitten by a poisonous snake while hiking is “real” stress; driving through rush hour while trying to catch a flight is “perceived” stress. The former could be fatal; the latter is just an inconvenience. The challenge is that many of us run on chronic stress from situations that really aren’t life-threatening…and your health and happiness pay the price. Enjoy this great video on “How Stress Affects Your Brain”
We all know that eating the right foods, enjoying a good night’s sleep and getting moderate exercise all promote wellbeing and longevity. But science now reveals a form of nourishment equally vital that’s required for optimal health and happiness. It’s the healing power of connection! I believe there to be four fundamental types of connection that are essential for achieving life-long health and sustainable happiness. They are the following: 1) Connection to People – fostering a connection to others and to your tribe; 2) Connection to Purpose – discovering your connection to a cause or calling in life; 3) Connection to Passion – experiencing connection to art, beauty, and nature; and 4) Connection to Power – cultivating connection to your Inner Potential or to a Higher Power. Enjoy this first article in the series “Science Behind Connection” that starts with the first of these four —Connection to People.
Why are kitchens and the backyard grill always the most popular places to hang out at parties? The sights, sounds, and smells of gathering over food nourish your social brain—and more studies affirm that a nourished social brain is a happy brain! Your brain evolved as a social organ and is wired for connection and bonding with others as a strategy for survival. Personally, I find that nothing brings us a deeper sense of connection and comfort than communing and laughing over a joyous meal. It’s why holidays like the 4th of July focus around food, friends, and fun times! Read more in our monthly newsletter
I always find it ironic how so many of us are on the quest to achieve happiness, yet we engage in actions and behaviors that unwittingly sabotage it. Well, it turns out your brain might have something to do with why that is. To be more precise, it’s the primal part of our brain—what I refer to as our “Stone-Age Tribe” brain—that evolved to view the world through the lens of survival. As a result, if you’re going through life operating out of strife, scarcity, and struggle, this can ultimately hijack your abundance, resilience, and longevity.
When it comes to the form of wealth that makes your life most rich, spending time with the intention of enjoying life experiences with friends and family is the key to happiness. According to a growing body of social science research, the best way to increase the enjoyment, satisfaction, and general happiness for both you and others is to prioritize time over money. It all relates back to the basic idea that we are fundamentally social creatures with brains that evolved for connection and community. The wealth we seek the most isn’t in our finances; it’s in the time we get to spend with our family and friends. The abundance we covet the most isn’t making money; it’s making memories! As I like to say, “Money is the currency of transactions; happiness is the currency of interactions.”
When the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Murthy, was asked what is the greatest health crisis of our time, he responded without hesitation, “It’s not cancer. It’s not heart disease. It’s isolation. It is the pronounced isolation that so many people are experiencing that is the great pathology of our lives today.” There exists a silent and growing epidemic lurking in our society; one that poses a greater risk for illness and mortality than smoking, obesity, and addiction. It is the illness of loneliness and the epidemic of emptiness. The news is even worse for Gen Z (those between 18-22) who report being the loneliest of all Americans. But there’s hope! Studies reveal that engaging in communal activities, doing volunteer work, and feeling a sense of purpose in life are all powerful ways to combat the epidemic of emptiness and boost resilience and happiness. Read more here.
What a perfect way to honor Mother’s Day Weekend! A study now shows that it’s your mom—more than your dad—that pass on the genes for intelligence to you. While intelligence is both a product of genetics and environment—and, yes, your dad does play an important role—researchers find the best indicator for predicting intelligence is the IQ of the mother, not the father. It appears that these “conditioned genes” of intelligence get transmitted more strongly from your mother’s DNA, not your father’s. I guess it really is safe to say that moms know best. Thanks, Mom! Enjoy Video.
REGISTER FOR THE HAPPINESS STRATEGY SERIES
Our one-of-a-kind workshop will translate emerging insights from brain science into easy-to-follow steps that make it possible for you to take charge of your own happiness. You will benefit from this workshop if you:
Are successful but not happy
Worried about what other people think of you
Link your self-esteem to money, looks and job
Interested in healthier coping strategies than dangerous drugs or alcohol
Seek more from relationships
Have an interest in reevaluating your purpose in life
When: Coming Soon in 2017 Where: 2101 East Coast Highway, Ste. 100, Corona Del Mar, California Format: In-person, instructor led seminar Audience: Individuals seeking authentic health and happiness Cost: $295
The emerging field of neuroscience informs our methods. We focus on the hardware—rather than the software—inside your brain. It’s a novel approach that quite literally changes your brain, and changes your life.