A Brain That Knows How To Be Happy with Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

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Each day you face the highs and lows of your own state of mind, as well as the onslaught of external threats from terrorist alerts, earthquake warnings, and economic downturns. Your mind is in a constant state of arousal, and your happiness and your physical health pay the price. But Dr. Rick Hanson says that you have enormous power, not only to change your frame of mind, but to physically alter your body, and even the structure of your brain, by taking charge of your thoughts. He explains that “if one understands how the brain evolved to suffer, which it did, you can then go back into it and train it over time not to suffer so much, ultimately not to suffer at all, and to awaken into your own natural state of clarity and happiness and open-heartedness.” Happily, it’s much easier to make the shift than you might imagine, and in this interview he offers simple techniques you can use, in just a few minutes a day, to change your mind. What’s more, as Dr. Hanson tells us, “if a critical mass of people became more skillful with their own brains, we could literally remake this world in a single generation.” (hosted by Michael Toms)


Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a neuropsychologist who writes and teaches extensively on personal growth and contemplative practice. He is a co-founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, and editor of the Wise Brain Bulletin.

His books include:

 To find out more about the work of Rick Hanson go www.buddhasbrain.com.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why your brain is pre-programmed to focus on negative information
  • How you can manage depression or improve your self-confidence in just a few minutes a day
  • How you can replace your “fight or flight” response with “rest and digest”
  • How what you think shapes your reality
  • What foods you can eat to improve your mood

 Host: Michael Toms     Interview Date: 1/8/2010     Program Number: 3336

Music Playlist

From Album: Bloom Road 
Artist: Dan Kennedy

Opening Essay: Track 01 - Moonrise
Music break 1: Track 02 – Prayer for Janice
Music Break 2: Track 04 - Falling
Music Break 3: Track 05 – Beautiful Day (with You)