Keep Hope Not Fear Alive

This recent series of posts has used the example of Stephen Colbert’s satirical “March to Keep Fear Alive” as a timely illustration of a larger point: humans evolved to be fearful — a major feature of the brain’s negativity bias that helped our ancestors pass on their genes. Consequently, as much research has shown, we’re [Read More...]

Confronting the Negativity Bias

My previous post used the example of Stephen Colbert’s satirical “March to Keep Fear Alive” as a timely illustration of a larger point: humans evolved to be fearful — since that helped keep our ancestors alive — so we are very vulnerable to being frightened and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and “paper [Read More...]

We Don’t Need To ‘Keep Fear Alive’

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have dueling rallies in DC coming soon. Stewart’s is “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Colbert’s is “March to Keep Fear Alive!” Obviously, Colbert is a great satirist who is poking fun here, since we sure don’t need a rally to keep fear alive. Alarming messages are all around us, like [Read More...]

Balancing Joining and Separating

There is a natural balance within us all between the desire for joining and the desire for separation, between the desire for closeness and the desire for distance. These two great themes – joining and separation – are central to human life. Almost everyone wants both of them, to varying degrees. [Read more...]

You Can Feel Safer

Feeling safer is a tricky subject, with complications that can be both personal and political. [Read more...]

21 Ways To Turn Ill Will to Good Will

It’s important to get a handle on “ill will” – irritated, resentful, and angry feelings and intentions toward others. While it may seem justified in the moment, ill will harms you probably more than it harms others. In another metaphor, having ill will toward others is like throwing hot coals with bare hands: both people get burned. [Read more...]

How Did Humans Become Empathic?

Empathy is unusual in the animal kingdom. So empathy must have had some major survival benefits for it to have evolved. [Read more...]

The Wolf of Hate

I heard a story once about a Native American elder who was asked how she had become so wise, so happy, and so respected. She answered: “In my heart, there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.” [Read more...]

The Evolution of Love

How did we evolve the most loving brain on the planet? Humans are the most sociable species on earth – for better and for worse. [Read more...]

5000 Synapses in the Width of a Hair

How much change in the brain makes a difference? Small changes in daily activities – meditating instead of sleeping in, driving a cab instead of working in an office – can make changes in the brain that seem small but actually create big changes in the mind. And that fact opens the door to amazing opportunities.

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Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA, he teaches at universities and meditation centers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His work has been featured on the BBC and in Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and other major magazines.

Rick’s most recent book is Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (with Rick Mendius, M.D.; Foreword by Dan Siegel, M.D. and Preface by Jack Kornfield, Ph.D.), which has been praised by numerous scholars, therapists, and teachers, including Tara Brach, Ph.D., Roger Walsh, Ph.D., Sharon Salzberg, and Fred Luskin, Ph.D., and is being published in nine additional languages. An authority on self-directed neuroplasticity, he edits the Wise Brain Bulletin, and his articles have appeared in Tricycle Magazine, Insight Journal, and Inquiring Mind; his Your Wise Brain blog is on Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and other major websites. He has a chapter – 7 Facts about the Brain That Incline the Mind to Joy – in Measuring the Immeasurable, as well as several audio programs with Sounds True. His first book was Mother Nurture: A Mother’s Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships (Penguin, 2002)

Rick is currently a trustee of Saybrook University. He also served on the board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center for nine years, and was President of the Board of FamilyWorks, a community agency. He began meditating in 1974, trained in several traditions, and leads a weekly meditation gathering in San Rafael, CA. He enjoys rock-climbing and taking a break from emails. He and his wife have two children. For more information, please see his full profile at www.RickHanson.net. You can find him on the social web at http://www.facebook.com/BuddhasBrain and http://www.YouTube.com/BuddhasBrain

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