Happiness proclaims that it will reshape your brain and your life. In fact,
the New Scientist even goes as far as stating that this book “might change
Hardwiring Happiness (ISBN 978-1-84604-357-4, Rider, Penguin, Random
House, 2014) has been written by Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and an
authority on self-directed neuroplasticity, founder of the Wellspring
Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, and an affiliate of the
Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.
Now, in case I’ve lost you here, or I should say Rick Hanson’s lost you,
Wikipedia asserts that “Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is
an umbrella term that encompasses both synaptic plasticity and non-synaptic
plasticity - it refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses due to
changes in behavior, environment, neural processes, thinking, emotions, as
well as changes resulting from bodily injury.”
Author Hanson states that you have to take in the good, which is “the
deliberate internalization of positive experiences in implicit memory.” It
only take four simple steps with the mnemonic “HEAL” (now there’s a snappy
H is for Have a positive experience
E is Enrich it
A covers Absorb it
L is to Link positive and negative material.
The reader meets HEAL first on page 60, but then again on page 66, 77, 86,
142, and probably more but I gave up counting.
The beginning of your hardwiring comes from recognizing positive experiences
and apparently there can be lots of brief ones, which add up to one big
happy. Some people need physical reminders of the fun events, such as one
person who would take a stone from his garden to remind him of the beauty of
To be honest, I found the HEAL analogy somewhat juvenile, but of course I
came from an era where all you did with garden stones was to throw them at
predatory dogs. You’d need more than a pocketful in Pattaya.
I got this book from Bookazine’s “Self Help” section. I liken that more to a
“Gawd ‘elp me” section. There is no doubt about the fact that if you look
pleasant and have the gift of the gab, all you need as a follow up is to
write a book. It must also help book sales if you get references from people
with lots of K’s and Z’s in their name, with Roman Krznaric, Sharon Salzberg
and Wes Nisker being just a few.
At B. 545 this is not a cheap book of pop psychology. But did I get the grey
thing in my skull hardwired? Did I get anything of lasting value from this
book? Did I manage to put life’s good experiences into the brain where I
could make use of them to control my own thoughts? I’m sorry, my hardwiring
experience was a failure. For my next book, perhaps I should go to
Bookazine’s IT section, they might teach me how to do it!
No I’m sorry, I seem to have completely missed the pop-psyche boat, but that
may be, of course, because I don’t have enough K’s and Z’s. In fact, I don’t