Increase Your Happiness in 20 Seconds

by Wendy Wolfe on April 15, 2015

school bus cdWho’s driving your bus?

Are you driving or are you being driven by instincts that served you 150,000 years ago?

Studies of the brain show instinctively we’re Debbie Downer (no offense to any Debbie).

Our brains have a negativity bias.  Negative experiences are more important to the brain and make deeper and more lasting impressions than positive experiences.  When our ancestors were hanging out in the Serengeti it was important for our brain to remember not to play with lions.

As evolving humans our brains wanted to keep us safe, now it’s not always helpful.  We’re bombarded daily with bad, sad and maddening news events.  Facebook is filled with reasons to be angry at someone or something.   There’s always a cause to fight for… or an issue to fight against.  All of this information translates into stress.  Our ancient brain can’t sort between real or perceived threats.   To the brain being late for a meeting is as threatening as a saber tooth tiger chasing you.

In the brain our experiences (and the subsequent biochemical reactions) create neural “pathways”.

Think of the neural pathway like a 1 lane highway.  Negative experiences bring in the construction crews and turn it into a 10- lane highway.  Stressful events are stored more quickly in the brain than positive experiences.  Your brain naturally, chemically and automatically goes to panic and stress the more you experience stress because the highway keeps getting bigger and faster.  And each time it does, it increases the size of the amygdala…the part of your brain that creates the flight or fight and decreases the size of your hippocampus…where your rational reasoning comes from.

Each negative experience quickly compounds the next…so if it seems like your anxiety and list of worries just keeping worse…it is.


Think about the last time something negative happened.  Maybe you had an argument with a co-worker, sibling, parent or partner.  How long did you continue to play the conversation in your mind?  How much time did you spend justifying, criticizing (you or them) or just stewing?  Hours? Days?  Weeks? Years?

Now think about the last time someone gave you a sincere compliment or shared how much you mean to them.  How many times did you replay the love in your mind?  Did you take the love in or did you defend against it?

If you’re like most people, the negative situation received multiple encores and the compliment or shared love was cast aside.highway1 cd

Can you see the huge freeway being constructed for the negativity?

Is it any wonder depression and anxiety are so prevalent in our society.

Kind of sounds like we’re screwed doesn’t it?

Fortunately we’re not.  We can retrain our brain.


By making a conscious decision to hold a positive experience in our awareness we can cause our brain to store the goodness in long term memory. Eventually, our brain begins to look for positive experiences.  This process takes attention and practice yet it’s easy to do.

Studies show if you intentionally spend more time remembering and focusing on positive experiences, you will create new neural pathways on a highway you want to travel.  Twenty short seconds can turn the tide for you.

Here’s your simple formula to build the Happiness Highway


  • Be on the lookout for positive experiences. Notice them and focus on them.
  • Feel into your body and notice how good it feels.
  • Let the experience and feeling play over and over in your mind and body.  Obsess about it.
  • Let 20 seconds be your minimum time spent remembering.
  • Set an alarm for every few hours and when the alarm goes off, remember the experience again.

Look for evidence of what’s going right in your world.  Consider even the small things, like a bird singing, a warm breeze, or a happy dog.

If you follow this simple process, I guarantee it will begin to create more happiness for you.

When you consciously take the wheel of your bus and steer in the direction of your happiness you will find yourself in a better place.


Let me share about a current mentoring client.  She struggled with negative thoughts, insecurities, and sensitivities just like the rest of us.  And then one day she decided it was time to change.  She didn’t want her sensitivities and emotions to run her life anymore.  She wanted to consciously drive her bus.  She signed on for three months with me to get the tools and support she needed but in the end, it’s been her decision to make the change that has led her success.    And she is successful.  Several challenges cropped up in her life which previously would have thrown her into a tailspin.  Not now.  She’s clear about how important it is and how good it feels to stay balanced.  Of course the bonus is the more she focuses on what’s right in her life, the more good she draws to herself.  That’s the power of what’s commonly known as the law of attraction.  (I’ll write about the power of attracting good into your life through energy vibration in another article.)

It is possible to shift your life to experience more happiness.  I’m here to support you with tools proven to guide you in this process.  If you want to learn what it’s like to work personally with me, I offer a limited number of no-cost Discovery Sessions (a $225 value) to see if we’re a good fit.

Not everyone is ready to make the changes necessary…and that’s okay.

If you are ready… ready to say good-bye to the 10 lane Downer highway… ready to commit to your happiness and drive your own bus then don’t wait any longer… click on the link and schedule your session now, while they last.  Book a Discovery Session

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Vicki April 16, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Thanks Wendy,
I didn’t know this. Very helpful.


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