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About Loretta Graziano Breuning
As a teacher and mom, Loretta was not convinced by prevailing theories of human motivation. Then she learned about the brain chemistry we share with earlier mammals, and everything made sense. So she began creating resources to help people manage their inner mammal. Her work has helped thousands of people rewire themselves for more happy chemicals.
Dr Breuning's work has been featured in major media and translated into many languages. She speaks publicly on many webinars, podcasts, and conferences. Details on her website: innermammalinstitute.org
Before teaching, Loretta worked in Africa for the United Nations. She offers zoo tours on animal behavior after volunteering as a Docent at the Oakland Zoo. She holds a BS from Cornell University and a PhD from Tufts University. In her free time, she travels to historic places and studies foreign languages.
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Get ready to boost your happiness in just 45 days! Habits of a Happy Brain shows you how to retrain your brain to turn on the chemicals that make you happy. Each page offers simple activities that help you understand the roles of your “happy chemicals”—serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphin. You’ll also learn how to build new habits by rerouting the electricity in your brain to flow down a new pathway, making it even easier to trigger these happy chemicals and increase feelings of satisfaction when you need them most. Filled with dozens of exercises that will help you reprogram your brain, Habits of a Happy Brain shows you how to live a happier, healthier life!
You have power over your emotions, but it’s limited, so you need to understand it. Here is a simple explanation of the chemicals that make us feel good: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin. You’ll find out what turns them on in animals, and how you manage them with the animal part of your brain. Then you’ll learn to rewire your happy chemicals by feeding your brain new inputs in a new way. We’ll do the same for the unhappy chemical, cortisol, too.
It’s a step-by-step method with no jargon, based on the work of the Inner Mammal Institute. A more complete presentation of the science is in the companion book, Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain your brain to boost your serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphin levels.
With one lesson a day for fourteen days, you will discover your power over your happy brain chemicals. This is not a checklist of activities. It’s a guide to the way your brain got wired long ago, and the way to add on new wiring. We humans get wired by early experience, so we all need updates. You can learn to blaze a new trail through your jungle of neurons to reach your happy chemicals in natural, healthy ways.
Realistic expectations are the key. Our happy chemicals are not designed to flow all the time for no reason. They evolved to reward you for taking a step that meets your needs. Our brain defines “needs” in a quirky way, alas. You will learn about these quirks so you can design realistic steps toward your happy chemicals.
You cannot rewire your whole brain in 14 days. You can build one new neural pathway at a time. You will learn to target the new pathway you want and the steps that will build it. It will build with repetition, so you will flow there as smoothly as you now flow into your old happy-chemical pathways. You can replace an unsustainable habit with a new habit designed by you. You’ll be glad you did!
Day 1 Your Power Over Your Brain
Day 2 The Joy of Dopamine
Day 3 The Safety of Oxytocin
Day 4 The Pride of Serotonin
Day 5 The Challenge of Endorphin
Day 6 The Pain of Cortisol
Day 7 Your Dopamine Past
Day 8 Your Oxytocin Past
Day 9 Your Serotonin Past
Day 10 Your Cortisol Past
Day 11 Your Dopamine Future
Day 12 Your Oxytocin Future
Day 13 Your Serotonin Future
Day 14 Design Your Sustainable Path
What is the Inner Mammal Institute?
It’s not really about animals.It’s not about happiness as your verbal brain defines it.It’s about the happy brain chemicals we’ve inherited from earlier mammals: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin. These chemicals are designed to do a job, not to flow all the time for no reason. When you know how the happy chemicals work in animals, you can find healthy ways to stimulate yours. You can train your mammal brain and your verbal brain to work together. Nothing is wrong with you! Nothing is wrong with us! We’re mammals. Get the whole story at innermammalinstitute.org
Disclaimers: This book is not intended as medical treatment. Nothing in this book is intended to support breaking the law. We all benefit from the rule of law.
conforman la llamada «química de la felicidad», compuesta por serotonina, dopamina, oxitocina y endorfinas. Aprende a crear nuevos hábitos guiando la electricidad de tu cerebro para permitir que
fluya hacia nuevas vías, lo que hará más fácil aún desencadenar la química de la felicidad e incrementar una agradable sensación de satisfacción cuando más lo necesites. La obra contiene numerosos ejercicios que te ayudarán a reprogramar tu cerebro y a disfrutar de una vida más dichosa
y más sana.
¡Prepárate para estimular tu felicidad en sólo 45 días!
Sometimes it's easiest to look for the worst in every situation--our brains have evolved to scan for problems in order to help avoid them. But you can transcend this natural negativity--if you know how.
The Science of Positivity teaches you how cynical thought habits are formed, and how you can rewire yourself to go beyond them. Neurochemical expert Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, empowers you to transcend negativity by creating new thought habits. You'll learn simple, practical actions you can take to shift your thinking to a way that causes your brain to reward optimism with the release of happy chemicals. You can even permanently replace cynical thought patterns with realistic and optimistic thoughts.
In just minutes a day for six weeks, you will build new pathways to see the world in new ways. Frustration is an inevitable part of life, but rather than using cynicism to manage frustration, you can rewire your brain to get beyond it.
Anxiety is natural. Calm is learned.
If you didn’t learn yesterday, you can learn today.
It’s not easy, of course. Once your natural alarm system is triggered, it’s hard to find the off switch. Indeed, you don’t have an off switch until you build one. Tame Your Anxiety shows you how.
Readers learn about the brain chemicals that make us feel threatened and the chemicals that make us feel safe. You’ll see how your brain turns on these chemicals with neural pathways built from past experience, and, most important, you discover your power to build new pathways, to enjoy more happy chemicals, and reduce threat chemicals.
This book does not tell you to imagine yourself on a tropical beach. That’s the last thing you want when you feel like a lion is chasing you. Instead, you will learn to ask your inner mammal what it wants and how you can get it. Each time you step toward meeting a survival need, you build the neural pathways that expect your needs to be met. You don’t have to wait for a perfect world to feel good. You can feel good right now.
The exercises in this book help you build a self-soothing circuit in steps so small that anyone can do it. Once you learn how it’s done, and how it can help ease your anxiety, you will learn how to handle situations in which you feel threatened or anxious. Understanding the underlying mechanisms will help you stop them before they get ahead of you.
Mammals live in groups for protection from predators, but group life is frustrating. Higher-status individuals end up with better mating opportunity and foraging spots. You are not trying to spread your genes, but natural selection built a brain that rewards you with a good feeling when you do things that promote your genes. Our appetite for status is as natural as our appetite for food and sex. This is why "junk status" gets people's attention.
This book shows you how to enjoy serotonin without the frustrations of an endless quest for social power.
You may say you’re “against status,” but if you filled a room with people who said that, a status hierarchy would soon form based on how hard each person insists. You would never think this in words, but the mammal brain works with neurochemicals instead of words. Your neurochemical ups and downs make sense when you know how social power promotes survival in the animal world. Nothing is wrong with us. We are mammals. We work hard to restrain these urges, and we can celebrate how well we do with the mental equipment we’ve got instead of focusing on our flaws.
The mammal brain evolved to promote survival through social alliances. It equips a mammal to live alongside stronger and weaker individuals. It constantly compares itself to those around it. If it sees itself in the position of weakness, it releases cortisol (“the stress chemical”), which motivates it to hold back to avoid conflict. If it sees itself in the position of strength, it releases serotonin and yields to the impulse to meet its needs. We humans feel this dynamic constantly, which is why we have so many words for it: ego, competitiveness, pride, respect, one-upping, self-confidence, attention-seeking, social dominance, arrogance, social-climbing, assertiveness, manipulative, ambitious, oppositional. We can finally make sense of our hybrid brain thanks to an accumulation of research in animal science and neuroscience.
It’s not easy being mammal!
The urge for social power is easy to see in others, especially your social rivals. It’s hard to accept in yourself and your social allies. You can wire yourself to stimulate your serotonin without being a “jerk.” When you understand your inner mammal, you can learn to relax about your social position instead of being a prisoner of “junk status.” What a relief!
You fear ridicule, shunning and attack, so you tell yourself it’s not worth it and find a way to conform. Until one day you can’t.
I was politically correct until the day I heard myself lie about a simple fact because the truth didn’t sound progressive. I froze– in the middle of a lecture to 150 students. Enough! I decided to take back my brain. I gave myself permission to see what I see and know what I know instead of living in fear. It cost me, but the benefits outweighed the costs. Here is the story of my transition. You can do it too.
This book shows you how:
- biology drives political correctness
- you can enjoy the rewards of political correctness without it
- you can feel good when conformity surrounds you
What do I mean by Political Correctness?
I do not mean the hot-button dramas that fill the headlines. They are just tribal solidarity rituals.
I mean the belief that we are suffering under a “bad system.” Political correctness trains you to feel victimized by bad guys running the bad system, and to fight them by following the leaders of political correctness. If you follow, you get to be one of the good guys and share in the rewards that these leaders control. If you don’t follow, you are labelled a bad guy and excommunicated.
This message is so pervasive that we take it for granted. I only questioned it after decades of noticing a gap between the facts of my life and the politically correct dogma. I saw that the good guys are not all good and the bad guys are not all bad. I tried to overlook the inconvenient facts because I feared excommunication. But when I had kids, I saw how harmful it is for children to be taught that they’re powerless victims. I did not want my kids to blame their frustrations on bad guys and “the system.” I wanted them to believe in themselves instead of just following the lead of political correctness.
It’s hard to leave the world view that has shaped your life. I searched for alternatives, but after all I’d been through, I could not embrace another preconceived belief system. I looked for answers that fit reality as I’d lived it. My search led to amazing research on the social behavior of animals. This showed me that political correctness is biological. The brain chemicals that make us feel good are inherited from earlier mammals. They reward us for behaviors that promote survival in the state of nature. Political correctness stimulates your reward chemicals in primal ways.
I’m not saying we’re hard-wired. On the contrary, our neurons are not connected at birth. We connect them from life experience, and these connections make us who we are. Early experience wires you to expect rewards and pain in ways that happened before. Political correctness wires you to expect rewards and pain in specific ways. It’s hard to re-wire yourself after the neuroplasticity of youth, which is why people cling to political correctness even when they see its flaws.
I finally ripped off the PC goggles and looked at the world without them. You can say I haven’t escaped political correctness because it’s still there. But I have stopped filtering reality through the lens built by the gatekeepers of political correctness. I have learned to focus on the pleasure of my own choices instead of on solidarity with suffering. You can rip off the PC goggles and enjoy your own choices too. You’ll be glad you did!
Rewire your brain to avoid the trap of comparison and status-seeking to achieve more contentment and satisfaction from life
People care about status despite their best intentions because our brains are inherited from animals who cared about status. The survival value of status in the state of nature helps us understand our intense emotions about status today. Beneath your verbal brain, you have the brain common to all mammals. It rewards you with pleasure hormones when you see yourself in a position of strength, and it alarms you with stress hormones when you see yourself in a position of weakness.
But constant striving for status can be anxiety-provoking and joy-stealing. Nothing feels like enough to our mammal brain. It releases those stress chemicals when you think others are ahead of you.
Here, Loretta Breuning shines a light on the brain processes that encourage us to seek higher status. She teaches us how to rewire those connections for more contentment and less stress. No more worrying about keeping up with the Joneses. Your new way of thinking will blaze new trails to your happy hormones and you will RELAX.