How to Make Your Brain Happy

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Dr. Amit Sood, M.D., Gauri Sood, M.D. with the Global Center for Resiliency and Wellbeing at the Mayo Clinic tells us how to make your brain happy: 

Friends, this is the story of how Broody, a very unhappy brain, became very happy. You see, Broody struggled with fear and self-doubt. He felt unsafe and unworthy. He didn’t know what to do. Then Broody’s friend suggested an idea. Together, they went to school to learn about the brain and about themselves. Come. Let’s find out what they learned.

A short course in happiness

Your brain has trillions of junctions that manage millions of its functions. Let’s learn about three traits of the brain that in overdrive, can get you drained:

First trait: Your brain feels others’ pain as its own. Your brain hurts just the same in personal or beloved’s pain. The same neurons fire when you are in despair and when someone else is hurting about whom you care. 

Second trait: For your brain, imaginary is real. Your brain lights up the same nerve bundles for events, real or imagined, stumbles. If you dream of a spider on your shin, it might cause the same dread as the real thing. 

Third trait: The brain can’t tell physical pain from emotional hurt. The pain of a mean scorn stings the same as agony of a hurtful thorn. Broken bone and broken heart both cause the same smart. Millennia ago, the spiritual minds described in their devotions, hymns, and rhymes the same truths that the scientists of today write in theses, books, journals, and essays: compassion, kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, and healing.

What do they all say? To find inner contentment and plenitude, snug yourself in the comfort of gratitude. Your greatest joys come from passions that are lush with true and deep compassion. Once you’re lost in healing others and start seeing strangers as brothers, your brain will become the happiest of all — be it summer, spring, winter, or fall. When you pray for others and share their feeling in touching their lives, you will find healing. Help others feel safe and cherished, the joys in your brain will surely flourish. If you agree, then don’t wait. Don’t miss the feast nor leave it to fate. Start with the one a breath away. In this moment. Now. Today. 

Broody, the brain, came back from school with two important concepts: First, seeing others in pain, physical or emotional, fires his own pain network, and second, his imaginary fears caused him real damage. The school also taught him solutions to these neural predispositions through cultivating deeper gratitude and compassion.

The daily practice of gratitude and compassion made Broody happier and stronger than ever. He defeated fear and self-doubt and then felt safe and worthy. [Applause] The brains that feel safe and worthy become happy. Happy brains, when they get busy in meaningful, creative, and altruistic activities, become very happy. 

Here is the secret to a happier life: Because of the way your brain operates the pursuit of gratitude and compassion will make you happier than the pursuit of happiness.

Watch and listen to Dr. Sood tell the story of Broody, and make your friends and family happy by sharing it!

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