Happiness

This week we continue to tie the philosophical part of our curriculum in to the biological one. We will be discussing points from the book Hard Wiring Happiness. The take away point is that to avoid danger, our brains have developed to notice and remember negative things easier and more persistently than positive ones. That means that we must make a conscious effort to focus on positive things in our lives, in fact science tells us a 5:1 ration is needed to feel happier. 

We will be brainstorming ways to do this, but we have already added a few tools to our toolbox that are perfect for this task. During the happiness challenge, we practiced writing down several things each day that we were grateful for. Part of the communication challenge was thanking someone for the nice things they did for you, and the environmental challenge includes getting out into nature. One of the high schoolers suggested a "gratitude wall" made of sticky notes with things we are grateful for, which accumulate over time. 

What happens when we make a concerted effort to notice the things that make us happy is that we notice them more often. Neuroscientists say that "the neurons that fire together, wire together" meaning that when we make something a habit, the brain forms neural networks around the task.