How to Build a Happier Brain
There is a motif, in fiction and in life, of people having wonderful things happen to them, but still ending up unhappy. We can adapt to anything, it seems—you can get your dream job, marry a wonderful human, finally get 1 million dollars or Twitter followers—eventually we acclimate and find new things to complain about. If you want to look at it on a micro level, take an average day. You go to work; make some money; eat some food; interact with friends, family or co-workers; go home; and watch some TV. Nothing particularly bad happens, but you still can’t shake a feeling of stress, or worry, or inadequacy, or loneliness. According to Dr. I spoke with Hanson about this practice, which he calls “taking in the good,” and how evolution optimized our brains for survival, but not necessarily happiness. “Taking in the good” is the central idea of your book. The simple idea is that we we all want to have good things inside ourselves: happiness, resilience, love, confidence, and so forth.