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Train your brain to look for happiness patterns

Lesson 3 from: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

Train your brain to look for happiness patterns

Lesson 3 from: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

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Lesson Info

3. Train your brain to look for happiness patterns

Lesson Info

Train your brain to look for happiness patterns

Let's do number one. Are you guys ready to do the first pillar? Our rights. So day number one pillar number one on our happiness structure is the Now how mindset Every day we're gonna be doing two things when we first start. First words are off of dancing because, as we know, dancing improves Our mood makes us more creative. And we're also gonna be doing some kind of a warm up to get us our juices going for the dates. Here's our warm up for day number one. So I want you to pull out your workbook or a blank piece paper. If you haven't gotten the workbook yet and turn to pillar number one, we'll find that right here. Okay? So what I want you to do is very, very quickly is I want you to think of what are 10 things You have to pick 10. Don't over Think them. What are 10 things that nourish your brain? Let's say that you're in a funk, you wake up and you're like, Oh, I don't feel good or you get home from work and you're like, I just feel like a zombie. What are 10 things you could do to ve...

ry quickly inertial brain and in the audience. We're gonna talk about this at home. I want you to fill out all 10 if you can. So what are a couple things you guys do? Yeah. Oh, yes. We're gonna talk about that. I think in day three, I think we're hiring music a lot. What else? Yeah, prepared the tasty meal. Oh, yes. Cooking and only a tasty meal. Corson on tasty meal. Yeah, Yeah. Go to the ocean. Oh, do you live near the ocean? I live in Vancouver, Canada. Smell of the ocean. Actually, there's something I won't be talking about this in the course, but I'm gonna talk about it right now, which is called Forest Bathing. Anyone ever heard this terminal? OK, so I think that the ocean air or forest Eyre they've actually found is quite restorative. And there's a study that was done in Japan where they had people go into a forest and kind of bathe in the forest air. And they found that they had all these immune responses positive immune responses after they spent time and nature. So going out to the ocean is great going into a green space is great. That really is a wonderful way to chemically affect your happiness. Yes, I was also going to be both sort of fresh air as well as being by the water, and that's something that definitely nourishes me. So what's interesting is that is talking about the perfect balance between physiology and mentality, right? You're seeing something beautiful. You're feeling very free. And also, those things affect your facility. Any in the back taking a bath, huh? Taking a bath is the best. It also makes me go to sleep. Yeah, Looks Oh, yeah. Do you read fiction or nonfiction fiction? Yeah, yeah, yeah. The others. You're listen to music and also take a lock or book. Yes, Absolutely. I love walking meditations as well. If anyone's, we're going to talk about that in day nine. Very similar. I like going for a bike ride. Yes, getting getting those endorphins going with exercise somebody good ones. So getting that oxytocin right for interpersonal. I love it. So here's the thing is, we just started off of something really positive, right? I had you search in your brain for something that was really nourishing and positive, even Just thinking about those things, by the way, will often produce pleasure. The problem is, we're actually not wired to think that way. In fact, when I asked you to think of something nourishing, your brain might have been a little That's my That's my sound effect for, like, not working right like mayor. I got to know whatever you want that's on the back to be, that is because our brain often falls into what's called a negativity bias. So negativity bias is how we are wired, and it's kept a safe. So back in cave man days, we had to think more negatively to be able to store up food for the winter to protect us against things. So as a cave man, we have all these things we had to worry about. Is there gonna be a bear? Is there gonna be a storm coming? Well, I get sick. Am I gonna be hungry? Shy Store more food for the winter. Is there gonna be a clan attack? Is there gonna be a dinosaur? Am I gonna see a snake? Right. There's all kinds of things that could potentially harm us when we were cavemen. So we developed this way of scanning the environment or in our head, mentally scanning to think about all the things that could go wrong. The problem is, is as we've graduated from cave man, we've lost a lot of the things that could really keep make us have bodily harm. And we still have kept this negativity bias. So we end up with same negativity bias, but with things that actually don't physically harm us. So we have money problems we worry about. We worry about traffic that might happen tomorrow. We worry about a storm coming. Worry about work problems, worry about health problems, worry about people who are mean on social media. Or should I have posted that thing? We worry about bills, and so what happens is is none of these things could kill us, right? However, we worry about them as if they will. And so we are oriented to be constantly scanning for things that might harm us, and that really blocks us. As I mentioned, this happened to me in bed. This was a huge problem for me, where I would keep my days so incredibly busy that I didn't have a moment to go into negative negativity, bias or happiness. I would just schedule myself that I had no breaks in the day because I was avoiding that moment where I would feel that dread or anxiety. And so what happened was at the very end of the day by nine o'clock when I was finally home and done with all my to do list items, then I would look at my bed, and instead of being like, ah, get to relax, I would think on how I get to worry, right And I would lay in bed. I would think about all those things. My to do list my house tours. Oh, I forgot to do that thing. Gosh, I really should be working out more. You know, I really should have said that thing to that person. I really don't know why I said that and all those bills to be paid. I would just go around in a loop in my head on these things. And when I started reading about the negativity bias, I realized that I was actually wired to do this. This isn't something that I had developed. Actually, this was a way that my brain thought it was keeping me safe, and that made me a lot less angry about it. And it also made me realize that I could rewire it. The sound from there, Anyone The bed thing has anyone Worrier? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, me too. So I realized was not a problem that I had only so I had read with negativity. Bias. I was thinking about high could rewire my brain. I didn't think this was actually mean That affected more people. So one of my good friends will call her Laura changed her name to protect her. She went to culinary school for many years. She loves cooking. And I was friends with her all the way through culinary school, and she finally finished. And she was like, I'm going to set up my own catering business like, yeah, usually gay. So she can have her business cards and put up her website, and she started to get jobs, and very quickly I would call her and I'd be like Laura House catering business. Yeah, it's good. I got a job. But there's such picky eaters. You know what? Like it's so far away these jobs I'm getting I end up spending three hours driving there and then I'd call her. Next time it would be like, Yeah, I'm getting all these jobs. They're just so smooshed together. They're all during the holidays, right? I can't leave it. Such bad timing and they have. These band ingredients are allergic to gluten allergic to dairy, and I can't cook anything that I want. And you know what? It's such a small kitchen. I have such a small kitchen. I can't cook anything that I want to have no room for all of these things. There's traffic on the way to all of my jobs and always running late. Every time I talked to her, there was some reason to be upset with her dream job. This was her dream job. So she had gone to school for for years, and yet she was finding something negative about every single job, and I realized this was her negativity bias. This was her brain's way of trying to keep her safe, but actually it was destroying her dream job for happiness in that job. Stephen, by the way, complain when jobs were too big or too small. So this is when I finally said soon to her. She was Oh, the job is just too big. There's 40 people. How am I gonna cook for all those people? And then she had a job for four women. A luncheon. She's ago. It's too small. It was like So really, You can Onley have jobs that are between five and 25 people in a big kitchen next door to you without traffic, Not during the holidays. She's like and not picky eaters. I was like, OK, I got it right. So we have to really think about how this negativity bias affects us in all of our different ways. Our negativity bias causes us to find something bad about every good thing that happens to us now. For some of us, this is worse than others. For me, this was particularly bad. I'd get something good in my life, would be like, Oh, but there's that thing about it, lest you there's that thing about it. I don't like right And so it is this way, and I don't want to see it angry. Our brains. I just want us to change it. As I mentioned, I am my own worst buzz kill right and this is something that my husband tries very hard to get me out of it. I get a job that I really liked hard. Get some. We go on a vacation I would be like with the A B and B is small, right? And that was my negativity bias finding something negative about it. So in your bonuses, I want us to diagnose our negativity, bias, the extent of your negativity bias. So this is a free bonus for people. But if you have the workbook, it's also in the workbook for you. So this is right on the first page. What I want us to do is I want us to list out the things that you think about your default mentality in some of the key moments of your life. So what's the first thing you think about when you get up in the morning? The 1st 3 things, 3 to 5 things, and you can just kind of list those off. How about what is your brain default to when you're stuck in traffic? I want to know what your default setting is now for some of you, like a positive. If you're thinking about rainbows and puppies. I am so excited for you. I am so excited for you. But if you are thinking about all the things need to be done, your to do list. I also want to get really real with yourself on where you default to. We don't want to judge it. We just want to know that's That's the default. That's what we're working with. How about you guys are What do you do typically think about when you're stuck in traffic? What's your default one? Yes, about, um, I'm gonna be late. Am I gonna be late at night? And then it's what story can I make up about? A A Did I say that? Yeah, absolutely. Right. Have when you're getting up in the morning with your first few thoughts and go in the morning, typically, it's OK if you check your email. You probably didn't get enough sleep. Okay, So yours immediately goes into scarcity, right? Did I get enough sleep that I have good enough quality sleeve? Yeah, absolutely. Get that. Any other is never script. Yeah, I need to breathe. Okay. So reminder. It's instant. So that's an activity in action steps. So it's not even a review. It just breathe. I don't think I do that in the morning. Maybe I read a little bit, but not very much. I never feel like I have enough time. Any others? Yes. I feel like my bed is so comfortable. Oh, right. Yeah. Positive one. Okay, So you are savoring. That is perfect for Wow. So that is a saver moment. So I wanted to think about isn't in action. Is it a saver moment? Is it a scarcity? Is it a worry? Right. What are the different things you're defaulting to and do not judge them? That's OK. That's just where you are now. Typically, these were the things that I was thinking in the morning. These are a lot of my default thoughts. Is someone angry? Me? I, by the way, I always think someone's angry Me. Um I have this problem where I run through all the people in my life I'm like, Are they angry with me or the angry? I dont know why. Thats that was a default that I've had to work on very much. Can I get it all done? I'm constantly scarcity mode around time. That's a big one for me. I think a lot of us are so mine isn't always not. Mine does not default to scarce that money. It's usually time and energy. Am I good enough where they will be enough money that I make a good first impression and my thin enough there isn't enough time. Those of the default ones that I can up with for mine on and there are very few of them were positive if any of them were positive. Let's talk about the science of how we fix this. So, yes, our brain is wired to be more negative. However, we can rewire it to be more positive and actually stumbled upon this with a totally different experiment with a different area. There was a group of researchers that were researching how the brain works. What they did is they had students play Tetris for five hours straight. Imagine being paid to do this study. They brought students in the lab, and they had them play Tetris for five hours, and what they found was and they weren't they were looking at the brain. They weren't looking at behavior students After the experiment reported back to the experimenters that after they left the lab, they began to see the world in falling Tetris blocks. They would walk into their room and want to reorganize their room like Tetris with a walk in the park. And I want to reorganize the benches like Tetris so they would see Tetris blocks falling from the sky. In other words, after five hours of playing Tetris, they had this Tetris lens where their brain started searching protectors blocks. So it got me thinking, Can we rewire our brain to think more positively if we are playing with Happy Tetris blocks, right. If we are searching for ways to fit happiness into our lives, can we rewire ourselves to think that way? And I call This are very, very first pillar. This is the now how technique training our brain, to have a positive bias to find happiness patterns, so retraining. So we're constantly looking for happiness patterns in our life. So the biggest thing here is we're training our brain, not toe. Wait. So I think that was happening to me when I was not really negativity bias. If I was constantly waiting for the worst instead of looking for the best I want to turn us instead of passively waiting for the bad thing to happen, to be actively searching for the good thing to happen. That's a very, very different kind of shift from passive to active. We're gonna be looking and searching instead of waiting and dreading. Basically, this means going from constantly thinking about that caveman mentality of what's wrong. Toe what's right. Going from scarcity. What's not enough. Not enough time. Not enough money, not enough energy to abundance. I have enough time. I have enough energy. I have enough family. I have enough health and going from waiting to exploring now how mindset is really about exploring. So let's shift all those mindset things is what I've been slowly working on, changing my my little default sets to what went well. Does this make me feel good? What looks good, This work really great. I'm proud of the fact that I there is plenty of that's what I'm going to be trying to teach us to do, and this is where we get into happiness, not being something stagnant. Happiness, I don't think, is a state of being. I think happiness is an activity. It's an action. And the words of John Mason. Good happiness consists in an act in activity. It is a running stream, not a stagnant pool. And that is something That's a misconception that I think we have about happiness. I also love this quote. I found this hanging at a yogurt, my favorite yogurt place in Portland, which is also worry is just a waste of the imagination. When I sit and I'm worrying about what I said to someone or there isn't going to be enough of blank, I feel like I'm using all of this precious energy towards things that could never happen or would actually make any effect. Our brain has so much potential to create things. I would much rather have us put our mental energy towards that. Let's do our first activity. So this is in the workbook, and this is fundamental to every single thing that we will do in this entire course. This is sort of the framework for the rest of the course, So this is called your chart of happiness, and this is right. After you turn to Pillar Number one, you'll see this sort of chart of happiness. What we're going to Dio is we're going to play Tetris with happiness. We're going to start to search for happiness patterns in your life. This has taken me years. Developed a list of activities in this happiness chart. First, you will see in column number one. I have a list of all of the major activities that we do as adults. Okay, I think eight pages of different activities broken up by different bullets, and they're very specifically designed that way. In the second column, I have what's called a happiness score. So I want you to do is look at that activity and I want you to score it from to 10. So one is like, Oh, this is so unhappy making I hate this activity and 10 is like ha best activity ever. Most happy making you can sing as you do it. That's totally fine, too. That's that produces endorphins. So 1 to 10 on that chart. You can do point fives if you must. It's funny how if I take away the ability to do 100.0.5 will get, like, really flustered. So 1 to 10 in the last section is the hardest, I believe, and it is average time spent weekly. This is the most important part of the chart, and the reason for this is because we grossly overestimate and underestimate how we spend our time. In fact, in the very early version of this happiness chart that I first did with people, I found that when I didn't have a check of that everything in the end, she should add upto 168 hours. How many hours are in a week? People have, like, 220 hours in their charge, or they had way under like 75 hours. I'm like, what's happened with the other 40 hours? Maybe, like, Gosh, I don't know. So I want you to do is accurately think about how much time your spending on each activity and then go back. Add them all up and make sure it is 168 hours or is close to 100 68 hours you can get that is going to be your check on it. In this way, we are very, very slowly building our Tetris blocks, right? We're sort of thinking about like, what are the different things that make up my happy chart like, Is that my dog? Is that my kids? A little bit of cooking, a little bit of walking, a little bit of reading. What are the things that are making up my happiness? And this is the first hour that we're spending in making your brain play happy Tetris. So as I mentioned, those should all add up to 168. I also want you to think about in the very first section Where have the activity? I got pretty specific, right? I have one that has, like, playing on the computer, and I actually have, like, games, music, But you can get specific there to clarify for me. So if there is something that you do that I didn't list here, get really specific again, the more stiff you get, the more exercising those Tetris blocks. So clarify for me. Get specific. At the very end of the chart, I have a couple of blanks for you, and that is for you to add in ones that I missed. Like, for example, if you're a champion ice skater, I don't have ice skating and there is an activity, so make sure that you put that in there If I missed something really specific in those blanks? Well, yes, please. Um, so I saw in here like playing online games is an activity. So at first glance, I might say that that's happiness, but really, for me, a lot of it's probably checking out. Uh huh. So can you talk about a little bit about that difference or Yeah. Yes. Okay. So any checking out activities should be five totally neutral, right? So neutral activities are not nourishing, which is why we started off this day. It's great question with nourishing activities versus just checking out activities. I do not count. Checking out activities is happy making, right. In fact, I would much rather replace your checking out activities with nourishing activities. So those all should be five. We will not be actually focusing a lot on them in this course. If they're negative, it all you want them in the lower numbers cause we're gonna work on those in control in the minimize er day. Yeah. Sleeping. Yes. So obviously we feel good when we were arrested. But is that more of a neutral thing? As it is a necessity for me. That is a very happy making activity. Um, I love having eight or nine hours a night, plus in AP. So for me, Yeah. So I raided mind really high, and I make it a priority, right? Like I maximize my sleep. So it's totally up to you. If anything, think about this way. Anything that's 810 is things in this course will be working on maximizing anything that is or three. We're gonna be working on this course I'm minimizing anything in the middle means you're not gonna be thinking about that much. So yes, I would number that way. That's really good. Clarification. Well, surprise, actually, no one asked about this one, which is Please don't should on me in this chart. What I mean by that is don't give me aspirational answers, okay? If you think you should like something, it doesn't mean that you actually like it, right? This is not what you hope you will like one day, cause you think that makes you a good human, right? It's actually what you like. And this is why I think that your partner enjoy is so important. So I have a quick story in the beta version of this course. We had one of our students who did this chart of happiness and her partner enjoy was her husband and she they checked each other's kind of charts and he said to her very nicely and very gently. So, um, you rated cooking as an eight and you know, during the week when when you cook, you seem really stressed right? Like it really stresses you out, like thinking about the grocery store, and you don't seem very nourished after that activity. Are you sure it's an eight like It's OK if it's less and she didn't mean to give it an eight, but she realized that she really she wishes she like cooking, But that was not actually her favorite things. She loves eating, and that's what you're eating is a different carrot category than cooking. But cooking was not her favorite, so please do not shoot on me. Make sure that you ask a partner enjoyed a double check on those things. I know I love that phrase to eso. Here are challenges. Get into our homework before you wrap up the day one try to take that happiness audit, right? We're gonna take it at the end of the course as well to get your baseline number second, take a little bit of time to fill in your chart of happiness. So there's two ways to the chart of happiness. And I was discussing this with my beta students. You could take it the really fast way. We're kind of going off your gut instinct, right? Five or 10 minutes. Or you can sit and really dive into each one, whichever feels better to you. Quick or really in depth. Make sure you're checking your total of 168 hours. Extras. Please take the 21 day challenge so I can support you even after this course is done. I have some fun quotes and videos in there, and I'm also going to send you a very special video for day five. You're gonna watch with us as we are alive. It is the video of Don't stop believing we're gonna sing it together. Um and so I actually included a video for you of Don't stop believing. Here's the problem, though we don't own that song And it would cost like a jillions of dollars for creative life to buy it. So we came up with a clever work around, which is we will sing it here. It will be silent for you and you will play the video from your computer. I know. So I will say that I have a video that video for you. So it'll be totally silent. You'll be able to sing by yourself your computer. Lastly, if you feel so brave, take your chart of happiness for extra credits, hand it to your partner. Enjoy and ask them to take it as you. It will give a rule. Really good check on your time. You can. Actually So I built the columns that are big enough. You can actually put a line down them and split them in half. You could even have them do it first if you want. You really want a good check? So this come by the way. This could be your partner. Your best friend. Your parent? You're calling your coworker. You can give them different ones. You could even text them and say, How much do you think I enjoy X? How many hours a week do you think I spend on that right? Like it was gonna help us. Your extra credit for checking? Here's what we'll be doing tomorrow. So tomorrow we're going to be talking about mastering when we're talking about the design life today was about the chart of happiness. Tomorrow is going to be about taking our skill temperatures. We're matching our happy activities with our capabilities. And when you combine the two, you get something really, really powerful. At the end of every day, I highly encourage you at the end of each day in your workbook, I ask you a very simple question, which is what is the most important thing you learned today. So if you have the workbook or not, I really want you to take 30 seconds to write what? You're happy. Ah ha Moment. Waas. So throughout this course, I'm gonna be teaching lots of different science. There's gonna be certain things. They're like, ha, that's me those the ones that I really want you to take note of because that struck something for you. So I want you to write down what was the most important thing you learned today. As research has found, committing what we learned to writing for even 30 seconds increases our retention. It helps this course stick with you for long term learning. The end of every day. Ken is going to join me up here, and I'm gonna ask two or three of our audience members. And Ken is gonna tell me her most important thing I learned today is to start thinking about what your is is in the audience. So, Ken and what was the most important thing you learned today? First of all, thank you so much. Yeah, I had a lot of my brain Is so many things to consider for me. My because insight was actually about the negativity bias that when you said we were wired toe have that what I call monkey brain. Ah, yes, that and that. Then we can rewire. That was a huge insight and really relief. Exactly. Wire. That's not that I'm not the only one, but also that I can do something about it. Yeah, it was mine. So before I asked the audience at home, I forgot to mention that if you tweet me what you learned today, I would love to read them. My whole team is actually on Twitter right now are reading all those tweets. And at the end, everyone who tweets of the whole days we're gonna look at those tweets. Pick the best ones and I will send you a free hardcover copy of my book. So please do tweet me. It also helps me as an instructor learn what is the most important thing for you guys. So when you tweet me, that was important thing. It helps me learn what material is most helpful for you. So it helps me as well, Always doing research. This 10 wait, How about you guys? What's the most important thing? Yes, back and back. You spoke about the happiness R a y on and, you know, understanding that 50% is a given its genetic. But how? The majority of us are really focusing 100% of our time on that 10% that's not really going to get us anywhere. So having that shift and really focusing your energy on that 40% okay? And I love it because it's also it's like going to the gym and just doing bicep curls and hoping it's gonna work out your whole body. That's exactly what it's like if you're just focusing on a 10% and Jolene, thank you for saying that because Vanessa I saw that in the chat room as well when I asked them what were their biggest ones. And it was that 10%. Let's do more than just bicep close to like full body squats. Well, let's not do that again. Beer on your own buzzkill thing was really interesting. It's like the opposite of the silver lining in a cloud. Yeah, so you always find that, I guess anti silver lining. That's true and stuff. It's, you know, we hear a lot about, like, be your own cheerleader, right? Like when I used to read that, I would be like I am my own buzzkill like I'm like The downer mascot is like drinking in the corner like alone. Like what I am. I tried t change that cheerleader. I saw another one more hand. Yeah, the Purple Bear story was really great for me because, like you said, like, we have so much lip service to all sorts of things and happiness is one. And you're giving us these skills that we can now put into practice Yeah, to actually do something about it. And I really appreciate that. Yes. Real real skills, More lip service. Jennifer had to get you to Yeah, I loved that. That my happiness is a gift to the world. And that is something that I really need to take. Everything we're learning. Everything bringing in and And I have to put it back out there. Yeah, it's not an obligation, cause I don't mean it to be a weight. Something you have to do it to drive. That's right. She doesn't give and were worthy of it, right? We deserve to be happy.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Desktop Backgrounds
Power of Happiness Workbook

Free Bonus Materials

Best Future Selves
Citation List
Happiness Audit
Happiness Benefits
Happiness Means Forgiveness
Happiness Scripts
Happiness Structure
Happy Calendar
Happy Reading List
K10 Test For Distress
Partner In Joy
The 4 Motivators
The Giving Warmup
Virtual Toolbox

Ratings and Reviews

Naomi Leila

I am so grateful for this course and for Vanessa. I took this course a few weeks ago and my happiness audit was at 100 neither happy nor unhappy. Now i feel so much happier and everything in my life has improved as a ripple effect and i am 134 on the happiness audit. This course really pays off if you put the work in and follow Vanessa's amazing guidance. It is such a fun, uplifting and brilliant course, i highly recommend it to everyone.

Jennifer Lee

Do you want to find happiness? And take control of your life, and ignite happiness in others? Are you looking to boost your self confidence or looking for ways to make your world a better place? If you said YES to these questions and are curious about the power of happiness, please check out The Power Of Happiness course with Vanessa Van Edwards! This course will awaken you and empower you with practical steps. Check it out. I guarantee you will be glad that you made the investment! Jennifer Lee A student of The Power Of Happiness

user 0f04a2

Vanessa's Happiness class is a perfect mix of tools and play. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to create true happiness in life, and create visibility with other like-minded happy people!

Student Work