The Quick Report

Is Mind Training a Short-Cut to Happiness?

What if we told you that happiness could be trained and strengthened, much like a muscle? In this article, we’ll explore the science of mind training, and how it’s possible to use it to become a happier, healthier person.

Myths & Misconceptions About Mind Training


There seems to be a bit of taboo when it comes to mind training. It can sometimes be linked to mental weakness or disorders, mental illness, or other negative associations.

However, mind training should be thought of in the same way one thinks of physical exercise. It is a way to make our brains sharper, and more resilient, as well as open up our capacity for being more positive, optimistic, and happier.

1. Myth: Our Brain Patterns are Genetic

One common myth about happiness is that our brain patterns are genetically determined, leaving us with little control over our emotional wellness. However, scientific research has shown that our brain pathways are extremely adaptable. 

Contrary to the belief that our neural patterns are set in early childhood, large changes are possible well into your 20s, and neural plasticity continues to evolve throughout one’s lifetime. This means that you have the power to shape your own happiness.

2. Myth: Brain Training Equals Brainwashing

Some may connect brain training with brainwashing, but the two are completely different. Brainwashing is involuntary and often manipulative, involving tactics to control a person’s thoughts and behaviors.

On the other hand, brain training is on purpose and based on choices you make to rewire your thought patterns and habits for a happier life. It’s about self-improvement and personal growth, not manipulation.

3. Myth: Focusing on Positivity Leads to False Optimism

Another myth is that focusing on positivity can lead to unrealistic optimism or what some might call “blind optimism” or a “Pollyanna” who is always cheerful and out of touch with reality. However, research has shown that there’s no such thing as being “too happy” or “overly optimistic.”


Watch the latest episode of 'A Swift Look' with host Zoe J!

Instead, focusing on positivity can lead to gratitude and mindfulness. It allows you to appreciate the present moment and find joy in the little things without losing touch with reality.

Breaking Patterns: Training Your Brain to Think Differently


Now that you understand that our brains are not “locked in” due to our genetics, but can be reshaped — and that brain training is not “brainwashing” – you can use these facts toward taking an open-minded approach to mind training.

None of us are immune to getting caught up in certain patterns of thinking. Some of these patterns can be quite harmful and can hold us back in life in many ways. The good news is that we can train these patterns “out” of our brains.

Here are four of the most harmful patterns of thought we can fall into and how to break out of them:

1. Social Comparison

One common pattern that can hinder happiness is constant social comparison. Many people find themselves comparing their lives, possessions, and achievements to others, often resulting in feelings of inadequacy or jealousy.

To break this pattern, it’s essential to stop comparing yourself to others to discover what’s lacking. Instead, practice healthy social comparison by identifying qualities in others that you admire and strive to cultivate in yourself. Understand and accept the qualities you can’t acquire and appreciate the unique qualities that make you you.

2. Perfectionism

Perfectionism is another pattern that can stand in the way of happiness. Setting unrealistic expectations and goals can lead to chronic stress and dissatisfaction.

To overcome perfectionism, it’s essential to realign your expectations with more realistic and attainable levels. Using mind training, you can embrace the idea that progress, not perfection, is the key to happiness. 

3. Materialism

Materialism is the tendency to attach one’s happiness to external things or material wealth. The problem with materialism is that when our material circumstances change, we can lose our happiness along with it.

To break free from this pattern, shift your focus from accumulating possessions to building meaningful experiences and connections. With mind training, you can practice gratitude for what you have and cultivate contentment within.

4. Maximizing

Maximizers are individuals who are constantly searching for better options, even when they have everything they need or are satisfied with their current situation. This constant striving for more can prevent you from enjoying the good you already have.

To overcome maximizing tendencies, practice mindfulness and savoring the present moment. Learn to appreciate and find contentment in what you already possess.

Final Thoughts


Happiness is not a destination but a journey, one that can be influenced and shaped by our thoughts and behaviors. By dispelling common myths about happiness and breaking patterns that hinder our well-being, we can train our brains to think differently and lead happier, more fulfilling lives.

The human brain is wired for happiness, and research is continually uncovering what makes humans the happiest. Remember, happiness is not something you find; it’s something you create through positive reinforcement and habits.