Excerpted from the book, Buddha's Brain; The practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom
by Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius
Published by New Harbinger
also listen to this podcast interview between author Rick Hanson and Rob Kall: Rick Hanson; Co-author; Buddha's Brain;The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, love and wisdom
The principal activities of brains are making
changes in themselves.
--Marvin L. Minsky
When your mind changes, your brain changes, too. In the saying from the work of the psychologist Donald Hebb: when neurons fire together, they wire together--mental activity actually creates new neural structures (Hebb 1949; LeDoux 2003). As a result, even fleeting thoughts and feelings can leave lasting marks on your brain, much like a spring shower can leave little trails on a hillside.
For example, taxi drivers in London--whose job requires remembering lots of twisty streets--develop a larger hippocampus (a key brain region for making visual-spatial memories), since that part of the brain gets an extra workout (Maguire et al. 2000). As you become a happier person, the left frontal region of your brain becomes more active (Davidson 2004).
What flows through your mind sculpts your brain. Thus, you can use your mind to change your brain for the better--which will benefit your whole being, and every other person whose life you touch.
This book aims to show you how. You'll learn what the brain is doing when the mind is happy, loving, and wise. And you'll learn many ways to activate these brain states, strengthening them a bit each time. This will give you the ability to gradually rewire your own brain--from the inside out--for greater well-being, fulfillment in your relationships, and inner peace.
Your Brain--Basic Facts