top of page

How to Reprogram Your Brain to be Happy

by Pav Lertjitbanjong

A breakup, divorce, death of a loved one, moving house; these are a few examples of occasions you imagine will make you anxious. Some people may not be as stressed as you, though, when such life-changing incidents take place.

In fact, we create stress with our thoughts. When we expect to face anxiety, we are fearful. How we respond to challenges shifts our mood toward peace or angst.

The good news is, you are in control of your thoughts and the way you react.

Your thoughts create your feelings

Your thoughts are commands telling your system what you want to feel. If you think ladders are dangerous, for instance, your brain will be helpful. It will make sure you produce stress chemicals whenever you face the possibility of climbing ladders, and you'll avoid them to stay safe.

According to neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science Of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, on a Huffington Post's interview, our brain has evolved to constantly scan for threats. This negative bias makes it difficult for us to learn from positive experience. The way to reprogram happiness into the brain is to simply "take in the good" by being present to joyful moments in life. [Lingering on the positive] improves the encoding of passing mental states into lasting neural traits," says Hanson. "That’s the key here: we’re trying to get the good stuff into us. And that means turning our passing positive experiences into lasting emotional memories," Hanson elaborated.

Your brain follows your instructions and creates happy chemicals when you are positive and the opposite when you are negative. This is because, as Hanson explained, “The longer the neurons [brain cells] fire, the more of them that fire, and the more intensely they fire, the more they’re going to wire that inner strength –- that happiness, gratitude, feeling confident, feeling successful, feeling loved and lovable.”

Although your system tries to help you, if you give it the wrong commands, you connect pain with things you want to associate with positivity. For example, if you find fault with your looks each morning, you will produce stress chemicals linking pain with your appearance. You need to send instructions reflecting your preferences.

Expecting anxiety? It's on the way

You think about future events, linking them with pleasure or pain. When you expect to meet negativity, your wish comes true.

If you anticipate being afraid when you're at the dental practice, you will avoid getting your teeth checked. When you are due for an appointment, you might get a migraine, or another condition, and won't be able to attend.

Be mindful of the links you make to events. For instance, don't picture yourself shaking in your boots while the dentist examines your teeth. Focus on a different subject, or imagine yourself leaving the clinic smiling and feeling great. You will associate going to the dentist with positive emotions and produce happy hormones. Picture a positive outcome often, and new pathways will form in your brain to allow the idea visits to the dentist are good.

How You Respond to Challenges

Each time you respond to a challenge, you tell yourself how you want to react in the future. Your system listens to what you think about the situation and creates a link with emotions to match what it hears.

If you imagine you can't stand drivers cutting in front of you, it will be natural to feel indignant when you meet them. You will associate bad drivers with anger and can look forward to road rage.

You could set up an association that feels better. Tell yourself sometimes people don't drive well when they are unhappy, ill, or too busy. Instead of getting angry, you'll be accepting.

Alternatively, decide to accept small indiscretions when you meet bad drivers instead of getting hot under the collar, knowing it's a healthy measure that keeps you calm. A link between calmness and letting bad drivers pass will form.

Choose how you respond to challenges. Expect to enjoy events and give your mind and body the instructions you want them to follow. You'll control your emotions and won't get so stressed.

About Coach Pav:

Pav Lertjitbanjong is a true love believer on a mission to heal broken hearts. Inspired by her Data Science training and lessons learned from her godfather, a Buddhist monk, Pav’s passionate about deriving solutions through scientific research and spirituality. She has developed a roadmap backed by science and a series of powerful spiritual practices to help you practice a form of self-care and analysis on yourself, heal emotional wounds, transform your life, love and live fearlessly again!

As a Certified Divorce Coach (Coach Pav), Pav also enjoys writing and vlogging as outlets to share lessons she’s learned to help people–men, women and LGBTQIA+ community–navigate through #MomentsOfReset in love and life.


bottom of page