What does a woman of science do when she realizes she is missing out on everything but science? That’s the question Wendy Suzuki, a professor of neural science at New York University, asked herself—and which prompted her to write, Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better.
In an effort to cultivate a world outside of work, Wendy turned her life into a case study, exploring how to activate the brain and use the power of the mind-body connection to increase happiness.
Make exercise intentional
Everything good you do for your body changes your mind for the better. Make exercise both aerobic and mental. Wendy calls this “intentional exercise,” and you can create it by pairing positive affirmations with a workout you enjoy. The next time you go for a run, tell yourself “I am strong,” or repeat “I am powerful” during your strength trainingclass.
Release oxytocin to beat stress
Alleviate stress by hugging or kissing someone you love. This could be an adult, a child, a baby or a pet. Feeling the love can immediately combat even the most serious of stressful situations, according to Wendy.
Break out of old, inefficient patterns
Take a new approach to a familiar routine: For example, stop to think of two new ideas to make your workday more efficient. Consider rearranging your desk or how your office is decorated. “Or try changing the order in which you tackle tasks, starting with what you usually do in the middle of the day,” Wendy writes. “Let this new order of activities or events create new neural patterns.”
Listen to our podcast: This Is Your Brain on Happiness With Wendy Suzuki
Sandra Bilbray is a contributing editor to Livehappy.com and the founder and CEO of themediaconcierge.net.