I think it always helps to get the same message in different formats, so here’s an article from LifeHacker about using the way the brain learns to rewire it for greater happiness, which is something I tell almost anyone who will listen.
No, I’m not really suggesting you spend more time playing Tetris, which is one of the studies cited, but I think this article is good at explaining the practice effect, which is a neuroplasticity principle I never stop talking about with my clients, and that I myself could still take even fuller advantage of. It is simply this: the more you do something, the easier it gets to do it, which goes for seeking reasons for complaining as well as seeking reasons for gratitude, just like it does for playing an instrument, or Tetris, or tennis.
“Happiness is a work ethic… It’s something that requires our brains to train just like an athlete has to train.”
“We can retrain the brain to scan for the good things in life-to help us see more possibility, to feel more energy, and to succeed at higher levels.”
People often complain to me that it’s “so much work” to retrain for gratitude and self-compassion after I suggest undertaking the task. I like to remind them that the up front energy required to get started is the hardest – it gets easier each time. But really, at some point, one has to ask, “is it really more work than living with an excess of anxiety, depression, and negativity?”. Plus you get so much more than the immediate bang for the buck of reframing your current experience to feel better. You get to feel better now, AND better in the future, AND it’s dose dependent – the more you do it, the bigger the impact. Without side effects. No drug can make such a claim, and it’s unlikely one ever will.
Also note that the end of the article links to discussion of the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. Ten minutes of meditation daily and you could be on your way to a happier you! Contact me if you’d like assistance or instruction for starting a practice, or join us for the Tuesday night beginners meditation class if you’re in the area.