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Friday, September 25, 2009

This is Your Brain on Joy

JOY - A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something exceptionally festive or satisfying.
[Click here to review this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

I finished up Earl Henslin's "This is your Brain on Joy" yesterday and decided a little review was in order. I am glad I read the book and think it can be a valuable resource. The book is divided into three sections.

Section one: Healthy Brain Healthy Life
During section one I LOVED it. There is a ton of good brain science and some of Earl's way of describing things cracked me up. Entirely enjoyable. In this section came the"Joy Boosters" which I found delightful. I will share some of the brain boosters in my next post. These things are GREAT and offer some really terrific strategies for boosting brain health and subsequently JOY. 

Section two: Raising Your Joy Quota in the 5 Mood Centers
This is the part of the book that is about specific types of brain disorders. If you are dealing with any type of depression, mood swings, anger management, OCD, panic attacks, etc. etc. you should read this book. There are many conditions that can be miraculously healed if the right diagnosis can be made. If my child or any close friend of mine was dealing with a behavioral disorder I would be back scouring the pages of this book for help. I really think there is something special here.

Dr. Henslin works in conjunction with Dr. Daniel Amen of Amen Clinics and "Change your Brain Change your Life" fame to make the miraculous changes in peoples' lives.  Dr. Amen's brain health website is worth a visit even if you don't currently have any brain concerns. Interesting stuff!

Section three: Joy Everlasting
This final section has several good tips for maintaing joy in your life. This part of the book would be of particular interest to any practicing Christians. Dr. Henslin shares biblical references for many of his techniques for increasing JOY in one's life.

A small confession here. I really wanted to LOVE this book. Interesting science, great title, and the author took time out to say hello and thank me for picking his book. When all was said and done I have to say this book and I were just not a great match. I underestimated my distraction with the Christian perspective and because the bulk of the book is about how to fix specific brain problems, unless one is dealing with that type of problem it isn't all that compelling. To be fair Dr. Henslin even recommends skipping to the section that concerns you. Bottom line for me, this book is terrific as a resource on brain health but won't be making my favorite books list.

Next post:  Joy Boosters

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise
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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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