Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D.: Rumination’s Role in Unhappiness | Sero Boost #55

In this episode, host Lu Ngo is joined by Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., who is a professor, author, and the visionary behind the Inner Mammal Institute

Are you ready to delve into the intricacies of the brain? Discover how negative thinking patterns can harm your well-being and gain effective strategies to rewire your brain for a more positive perspective. Prepare to leave rumination behind and welcome a brighter, more joyful you!

Meet Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D.

Loretta G. Breuning, PhD, founded the Inner Mammal Institute and is a Professor Emerita at California State University, East Bay. She authored Habits of a Happy Brain, focusing on brain chemistry and human motivation, aiding thousands in achieving inner peace. Her work, translated into 12 languages, is widely cited in major media. 

A graduate of Cornell and Tufts, she also volunteers at the Oakland Zoo, sharing her knowledge of animal behavior. The Inner Mammal Institute provides numerous resources, including videos, podcasts, books, blogs, and a free 5-day program on their website.

About the episode

In this enlightening episode of Sero Boost, Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., explains that happiness is driven by dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin. She emphasizes that these chemicals create good feelings in both humans and animals, who do not philosophize about happiness but experience these chemicals in specific situations. 

Loretta highlights that negative thinking patterns, or rumination, can harm wellbeing, and suggests strategies to break these patterns by engaging in positive activities to promote a lasting sense of happiness. She explains that rumination affects happiness by limiting options and reinforcing negative thought patterns due to the brain’s tendency to follow well-worn neural pathways.

Loretta explains that neuroplasticity diminishes after childhood. To rewire the brain and reduce rumination, individuals should identify patterns from childhood and consciously build new, healthier pathways through repeated positive behaviors. She suggests that focusing on small, actionable goals and surrounding oneself with positive influences can help foster happier thought patterns.

In conclusion

In this episode, Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., emphasizes the importance of grasping how the brain is wired and how childhood experiences shape adult rumination. Her practical guidance focuses on leveraging neuroplasticity, underscoring the critical role of actively selecting mental stimuli and establishing realistic goals. These insights offer a robust framework for effectively managing rumination and nurturing overall mental wellness.

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