Habits of a Happy Brain –Book review

HealthHabits of a Happy Brain --Book review

By Dr. Attia Anwar

As a part of this wellness article series, today I am introducing my readers to unique brain functioning concepts. This is a gift to those readers who want to work on themselves for their wellness journey.


I am talking about a book titled “Habits of a Happy Brain”. On one fine weekend, I got this book in PDF form through the kindness of someone.  The title was very close to my heart. I promised myself to start reading it on forthcoming Monday. I started the book, and the book was a treasure, with all the scientific evidence about how our happy chemicals work along with parts of our brains. Naturally, I needed to know who wrote it. I found out that the author is a renowned person, a big name in her field, and helped many people in their pursuit of happiness.  The author of the book Loretta Graziano Breuning writes a book about well-being. She is the founder of the Inner Mammal Institute. She is a professor emerita at California State University. She has a revolutionary approach to the human brain.

This book is for those who are willing to work on themselves for a better living. It is not for those who want to change others or blame others. It is very clear from our experience that when we as physicians tell people to change their lifestyle. Simple instructions don’t work. Most of the people in this age know what is better for them or what is dangerous to their wellbeing. But opting healthy lifestyle and sticking to it is a real challenge. As I mentioned many times this “eat less move more” advice does not work.

We should rely on scientific methods how to change and make new habits. Fortunately, in this century number of tools are available that help us to live more healthily and productively. This book tells us about our happy chemicals dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, and oxytocin in detail and explains how they surge and then ultimately they have to come down. She also talks about unhappy chemicals and the feelings, attached to them. So after understanding this chemistry of happiness, we are more prepared for what to expect. If you have knowledge things don’t change, but you are more prepared for them. And you understand the logic behind your certain behavior.

Habits of a Happy Brain
Habits of a Happy Brain

After this author talks about the importance of making new habits and how it is important for our well-being and happiness. You have to select one habit that you want to change or a new habit that you want to incorporate into your life. And the best thing about that, this book, is, that it is an individualized approach towards the selection of habit. One thing does not work for all of us. As she said in her book if you are a very tidy person and obsessed with the idea of tidiness. You can choose the habit of loosening a bit. Or if you are generally a messy person you can choose to organize things daily. Both habits are going to help you in making new tracts and rewiring your brain. There is a detailed discussion in the book, that the human brain is focused on survival. It makes you feel trivial things as threats to our survival. Because the brain guides us from earlier experiences which are not good for adult survival. So it is important to change certain behaviors. I quote lines from the book. “We are lucky to live in a time when our brain is increasingly well understood, you can learn to turn on your happy chemical in new ways. No one can do it for you and you cannot do this for someone else”.

The last chapter is about relying on the tools that are always with us and the roadblocks that prevent us from being happy and well. So to make new habits you can find someone to mirror them. You have to find the balance of all happy chemicals for longstanding happiness. All happy chemicals are important. You can graft new circuits in your old habits. That is to use your old love healthily. You have to save your energy. Preserve your unique individual essence that makes your mammal brain happy. Add fun to a new habit. Divide long tasks into chunks. A satisfactory solution is better than an optimal solution with endless efforts. You should plan and visualize before you start.

For a real understanding of all these concepts, you have to read the book. So I will conclude that if you are in real pursuit of happiness and you are ready to make some efforts, or even if you are not ready but you are interested in living a fulfilled life this book is going to prepare you for that. It will give you all the things needed to start a new habit and stick to it for forty-five days. The new neural circuits will develop in your brain after forty-five days. If you miss a day then you have to start all over again. I highly recommend you should read this book. It has a lot of things which are important for us. Moreover, you can visit the website of the Inner Mammal Institute. It has online courses, blogs, infographics, and a lot of material to access.

Dr. Attia AnwarThe author Dr. Attia Anwar is a consultant family physician with a postgraduate degree from the Royal College of GP UK. She is a strong advocate of health and well-being and wants patient participation in decision-making regarding health.








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