Book review Hardwiring Happiness

Hardwiring Happiness

Book Review, Hardwiring Happiness, The new brain science of contentment, calm, and confidence By: Rick Hanson, Ph.D. 

Do you struggle to find joy in your daily life?

Are you constantly noticing all the things that are going badly or impacting you negatively?

Perhaps you are starting to wonder what happiness really is?


Do you ever wish that you could just find a way to feel less worry and stress and feel more security and joy? Most of us make choices in our life that we believe will lead to happiness. We work hard to maintain goals, standards, careers and relationships with the intention of building a life full of joy and fulfillment. And still, most of us find ourselves, at some point, overcome with a predominantly negative view of our selves, the world and our future, struggling to find meaning and the time to take in the joyful moments that are happening around us.

Hardwiring Happiness provides a scientifically based explanation for why the experience of happiness seems so elusive in a world where our choices and possibilities seem endless. Rick Hanson, Ph. D. explains how our brains are biologically wired to attend to negative events and potential threats; there was a time, not so long ago in our evolution, where this ability not only served us, but legitimately kept up alive! It makes sense that working against your physiology is not intuitive and leaves us struggling to experience joy and happiness in our lives.

The good news is that significant research has proven that the brain is plastic – meaning that it is continually growing and changing; and that, just like any other muscle group, we can intentionally strengthen abilities and structures in our brain. Dr. Hanson, beautifully demonstrates the practical steps that we can weave into our daily lives in order to strengthen our brain’s ability to prioritize joyful experiences. By building awareness of our negative thinking patterns we can learn to let go of thoughts that are not helpful or productive. Letting go provides the space to intentionally notice what is good in our environments and paves the way for us to learn how to mindfully engage in positive experiences.


This intentional attention supports our brain to literally build new neural structures dedicated to the experience of peace, calm, love and happiness. With the New Year upon us, and thoughts of improving our bodies, careers or hobbies, perhaps we can make room to intentionally strengthen our ability to experience, notice, and take in Joy.

Written by: Shelley Petry, Registered Provisional Psychologist at Emmaus Psychology

Please visit our website to find out more


Scroll to Top