You can train your brain to be happy
eakkaluktemwanich/Shutterstock According to psychologists, our brains have a “negativity bias” that might have helped our ancestors better recognize threats to their survival. But in our modern world, it would benefit our brains to have a more positive outlook on life. “You can train your brain to think positively, formulate happy thoughts, and counteract negative ones,” Dr. Serani says. Employing new thinking habits are at the heart of psychotherapy, she says. “Changing how your think can improve how your feel,” she says. Studies show practicing new thinking strategies by being mindful about positive experiences can actually alter the structure of the brain. Try these other 23 ways to improve your mood instantly.
Meditation rewires the brain
Andrii Lutsyk/Shutterstock There are many compelling benefits of meditation, but research suggest that it can actually change how the brain works. “Brain mapping studies show that meditation reduces anxiety, depression, and stress,” Dr. Serani says. “Meditation also sharpens attention and improves cognitive functioning.” One study showed that long-term meditation can actually help preserve the brain and save it from some of the effects of aging, and another found that meditation could improve concentration and memory. Don’t miss these other 12 health benefits you’ll get from 15 minutes of meditation.
Laughter is good medicine for the brain
nd3000/Shutterstock Laughing has a positive effect on the brain’s functioning, so it is beneficial to work toward a more optimistic mindset. “There’s a long history of research showing laughter surges feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin,” Dr. Serani says. “When you laugh, brain neurochemistry sends endorphins out to decrease pain, improve resiliency, and relax muscle tone.” When we hear something funny, our brain processes the language and decides if it’s humorous. After our emotions are triggered, the motor region of the brain leads to the physical reaction of laughter. Find out why laughing at these dark jokes could mean you’re a genius.