Scientific Proof for the Value of Thinking Small

I picked up a book called “Rewiring the Brain” by Rick Hanson at my acupuncturist’s the other day. My own book “Small” is really about happiness, I thought. “This book might be relevant.”

I’m glad I didn’t read this before I wrote “Small. I might never have written my book!” I thought as I began reading.

Although he doesn’t focus on small per se, Rick Hanson explains the neuroscience behind my experience of seeing and thinking small. “Our brains are hardwired for negativity,” he tells the reader. This, because we need to survive, and taking in dangers and noticing threats in the environment is essential to our survival.

Or was once essential. However, our immediate survival is no longer constantly threatened, as it once was during our evolution, and picking up on negatives no longer saves our lives. It makes us unhappy.

To rewire our brains and help us take in what is good and positive in the world, Hanson suggests noticing anything positive that happens during the day, no matter how insignificant; and focusing on it for a few deep breaths. In this way, we rewire our brains over time to seek out the positive and good, and look past the negative. And in this way, we become less anxious, depressed and overwhelmed and more content, joyous, and optimistic.

This is precisely what my new book, “Small: The Little We Need for Happiness,” is about. By learning to think and see small—and writing about it—I feel happier, less overwhelmed, more connected, and I discover so much unexpected beauty in the world around me.

And now that I know that what I learned for myself has a neuroscientific basis, I can recommend small with full confidence. Begin practicing seeing and thinking small, and you too will feel happier, more connected and optimistic than ever before!

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