The Science of Happiness

Strategically placed among the recessed lighting in our living room ceiling, is an adjustable “fisheye” that rotates so we can highlight the stained glass in our front door. When people drive or walk down our street in the evening, they can’t help but look at it—to focus on it.

“That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” — Steve Jobs

“That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” — Steve Jobs

In our everyday lives, we have multiple opportunities to focus. We can shine our mind’s spotlight on the positive, or on the negative. Like the “fisheye” — it’s an adjustable choice.

Where do you place your focus? Click To Tweet

Dr. Richard Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at UW-Madison, scanned the brains of happy people and found they were unusually active in one area—the left prefrontal cortex. Now he and other researchers in the field are learning more about how we can take advantage of our brain’s “plasticity”—its ability to reshape itself—and rewire our own brains to be happier.

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right.” — Marianne Williamson

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right.” — Marianne Williamson

Last week I become part of a beta group that’s testing the science of happiness and positive psychology. I just completed part one of the first track. Each day I participate in brief, online “happiness skill builders” specifically designed to promote positive emotional qualities such as gratitude, kindness, mindfulness, and compassion.

Where do you place your focus?

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