3 Strategies for Rewiring Your Brain to Experience More Happiness and Greater Success

Would you like to be happier, more successful, and smarter?  Who wouldn't, right?  Fortunately, it is possible due to a scientific term called neuroplasticity.  Neuroplasticity means that our brains can change—essentially rewiring themselves—by forming new connections.  Because our brains are malleable, we can build and strengthen connections that have a positive impact on our learning, memory, attitude, and skill development.  To take advantage of your brain's ability to grow and change, here are some useful strategies:

  1. Meditate.  Within weeks of beginning a meditation practice, your brain begins to change.  For example, monks who meditate regularly have been shown to have different neural structures than the average person.  Their brains can process greater awareness and more compassion, and they also benefit from reduced stress and an improved sense of wellbeing.

  2. Visualize.  Visualization is another useful method for rewiring your brain.  Consider the following experiment which studied the brain matter of piano players.  Half of the pianists were asked to practice a piano exercise for 2 hours a day for a week.  The other half merely imagined practicing while keeping their hands still.  Yet in both groups, researchers found that the region of the motor cortex associated with these finger movements had expanded!

  3. Adhere to the 10-Second Rule.  When you have a positive experience, take at least 10 seconds to allow yourself to linger over it, rather than quickly moving on to the next thing.  That gives your brain time to transfer the positive feelings from short-term to long-term memory.  Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of the book Hardwiring Happiness, recommends this activity to “really get those neurons firing together so that they wire this growing inner strength in your brain,” resulting in greater happiness.

Thought For The Day

“I never use that word, retire.”

B. B. King

 

4 Tips for Adjusting after a Relocation

If you've recently relocated, congratulations!  You've accomplished a major milestone and after all the packing, planning, and preparation, you're probably eager to get adjusted to your new home.  To make the process simpler for you, we have some tips to minimize stress and make your transition more enjoyable:

  1. Expect to Experience Mixed Emotions.  It's not uncommon after a move to feel a range of emotions—sadness at leaving friends and family behind, excitement about what lies ahead, irritation over the hassles of visiting the DMV in your new town, etc.  Know that this is normal.  All too often, people move and mistakenly believe that their life will change instantly.  However, it really does take time to get acclimated to a major life change like relocation.  Give yourself several months to get adjusted and trust that your fluctuating feelings are completely normal.

  2. Network.  We know that you've often heard the importance of networking, and we don't disagree.  However, don't forget to work on building your friendships as well.  For ideas, you may want to check out Meetup.com, local churches, recreational sports teams, and professional organizations.

  3. Make it fun!  There's probably many places you'd like to visit in your new town to get acquainted with the area.  Rather than waiting for those opportunities to arise, create them!  Try to regularly plan fun activities like exploring a new restaurant, visiting the zoo, or going to a local landmark.  You'll familiarize yourself with your town faster, and you'll get to have fun doing it.

  4. Avoid Negativity.  Your new town probably isn't just like your old one.  Rather than bemoaning all of the things that your new town doesn't provide (“What? I can't get Chinese food delivered at 1AM??!”), focus on the things that you like about your new city.  This mindset will not only make you happier, but it will also help you to adjust to your new location quicker.

4 Tips for Wowing Your Coworkers at Your New Job

Congratulations on your new job!  Having stunned them with your interviewing prowess, now it's time to show them what a rock star you are at the workplace.  To help you out, we have some tips that are going to make it easy for you to make a great first impression:

  1. Have a Positive Attitude.  Have you ever gone out of your way to avoid a Debbie Downer?  If so, you know that complainers don't make for enjoyable company.  Rather than pointing out all of the ways that your last job “did things better,” maintain a positive outlook.  An enthusiastic attitude is a great way to approach any task, but in particular, it's useful in the workplace where getting along with your colleagues is key.

  2. Dress for Success.  A general rule of thumb here is to dress for the position that is one level above you.  If that style of clothing is within your budget, make that your aim.  However, if you can't afford expensive new outfits, then strive instead to dress professionally in clothing that is well-fitting, clean, and pressed.

  3. Clarify Expectations.  One of the first things you're going to want to find out at your new job is what your boss' expectations are.  While this is something that you probably discussed at your interview, ask questions and drill down deeper.  For instance, how often does your boss expect status updates from you?  What are the main priorities that your manager would like you to focus the majority of your time on?  By asking these questions at the onset of your new position, you are much more likely to wow your new boss and coworkers.

  4. Befriend a Veteran.  It's valuable to have a good understanding of how things work at your new company.  For this reason, seek out a well-respected colleague who can give you a heads-up on what's acceptable and what's not.  Your new friend can help you to navigate office politics and advise you about potential professional pitfalls.  

Thought For The Day

“C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success.”

Dennis Ritchie