Rick Hanson on Taking in the Good for Happiness Virginia Beach counseling and Wellness

Change your thoughts to feel happier

If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or just feeling down, you might be stuck in a pattern of negative thinking. When you practice negative thinking, such as worrying or beating yourself up, you actually strengthen these thought patterns in your brain.

Many people have been practicing pessimistic thinking for years, which leads to a chain reaction of negative thoughts and feelings. The good news is that our brains can change! Through positive or realistic thinking, you can literally build new neural pathways and shift your pattern of thinking.

[popup url=”http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/symposium/2015/rich-hanson-short/?utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=Psychotherapy%20Networker+PN%20Spotlight&utm_campaign=120714%20Sunday%20Blog%20Symp%2015%20PLC%201″ height=”400″ width=”900″ scrollbars=”yes” alt=”popup”]Here[/popup], Rick Hanson, mindfulness expert, talks about the principle of Taking in the Good. Taking in the good is all about letting positive experiences, whether organic or created, sink in and have lasting value – literally rewiring your brain for increased happiness. He breaks it into these three steps:

1. Have a good experience – noticing positive experiences (something positive happens and you simply take notice) or creating positive mindset (bringing to mind compassion for others or a memory of personal strength or gratitude)

2. Installation/enriching phase – get the neurons to continue “firing together” so they can “wire together” by enhancing the duration or intensity of a positive experience, really FEELING it emotionally or physically

3. Absorbing – sense the experience sinking into us and becoming part of us – Rick gives the examples of feeling it like a warmth sinking into the body or thinking of it as soaking into yourself like a sponge.

One simple technique I use with my clients to begin shifting their focus is to write down three things they are grateful for or proud of every night. The key is to spend some time feeling the emotions associated with gratitude or other positive things in your life.

Rick Hanson on Taking in the Good for Happiness Virginia Beach Counseling and Wellness

Gratitude and happiness

Rick Hanson has a great newsletter, Just One Thing, with practical steps for bringing mindfulness into your day to day life to increase happiness. It’s available

[popup url=”http://www.rickhanson.net/writings/just-one-thing/” height=”400″ width=”900″ scrollbars=”yes” alt=”popup”]here[/popup].

Rick Hanson’s entire keynote from the 2014 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium is available

[popup url=”http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/symposium/2015/videos/watch-rick-hansons-symposium-2014-keynote-now-its-free/” height=”400″ width=”900″ scrollbars=”yes” alt=”popup”]here[/popup].