Changing Your Brain Toward The Good with Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

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Our brain is wired with a negative bias. Therefore, if we want to be happier, more loving, and more resilient we need to develop inner strengths towards a more positive state of mind. Rick Hanson shows us an effective and proven way to do just that. He suggests ways to create new synapses in the brain which will wire us up to bring in the good and reinforce positive traits that ultimately change the structure of our brains and lead us to more love, happiness, and inner peace. He explains, “The brain is like Velcro for the bad but Teflon for the good. The brain is very good and efficient at converting momentary negative states to lasting negative neural traits. But the brain is relatively poor at turning positive mental states into positive neural traits.” Through repeatedly absorbing the good, which, in everyday life can be little moments of feeling safe, satisfied and connected, we can build up our inner strengths so that, when challenges come, we can stay in the responsive mode about them. Hanson outlines the HEAL process for taking in the good. There is a famous saying about brain neurons: Those neurons firing together, wire together. Therefore the more times each day we take 10 to 30 seconds of both taking in the good and letting it sink in, the better we’ll be at wiring those resources into the core of our being. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a psychologist with a deep interest in neuroscience and mindfulness. He is a senior fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley and creator of the year-long course The Foundations of Well-Being. 

He is the author of many books including:

To find out more about the work of Rick Hanson go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How can we antidote the brain’s negative bias
  • How can a relatively small practice make a big difference in rewiring the brain
  • What are the green zone (responsive) and red zone (reactive) tendencies in the brain
  • How we are programmed with three core needs: safety, satisfaction, and connection
  • What is the HEAL process that will install positive experiences in the neural substrates of our brain
  • How psychotherapy is good at activating positive mental states but not as effective at helping clients to retain them

Host: Justine Willis Toms     Interview Date: 12/2/2013     Program Number: 3489

Music Playlist

From Album: Essential Tri Atma
Artist: Tri Atma
1990 Higher Octave Music #HOMC 7028

Opening Essay: Track 01 Namaskar
Music Break 1: Track 04 Blue Caravan
Music Break 2: Track 04 Blue Caravan Reprise
Music Break 3: Track 06 Microcosmos