Every day I send my kids out the door to school with this admonition, “you can choose to be happy.” More often than not, they roll their eyes, but in Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain Elaine Fox (no relation) offers a scientific argument for my contention. After much research, and in comprehensive, but comprehensible detail, Professor Fox provides a mental map to the sunny side of the street. For optimists and pessimists alike, this fascinating book is a must read, (and I’m not just saying that because I’m in it).”
Michael J. Fox, Manhattan, New York
Every experience you have, from the most trivial to the most significant, alters the brain. Elaine Fox offers scientifically based advice about how to make the most of this, how to be in charge of changing your brain for the better.”
Joseph LeDoux, author of The Emotional Brain and Synaptic Self
The big idea: While all people respond to the possibility of danger or pleasure, some are predisposed to react more strongly to one than the other. But the Eeyores of the world shouldn’t just give up: Brains can change.
[A]n informative new book on the science of optimism.
Jane E. Brody, New York Times
It’s worth sticking with the hard science of Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain. Fox offers persuasive arguments that ‘we are well on the way toward creating people and societies that will allow healthy minds to truly flourish.’
Fox brings to this book a wealth of knowledge and experience from her many years as head of the psychology department and Center for Brain Science at the University of Essex. She explains how the latest research in the areas of genetics, neurology, and psychology intersects and how it relates to optimistic versus pessimistic attitudes toward life…. Fox’s writing style will appeal to a lay audience with scholarly interests.
A psychologist looks at the influence that outlook – a tendency toward optimism or pessimism – can play in shaping the events in our lives…. An insightful addition to the self-help bookshelf.
Drawing on a host of studies in neurobiology and genetics, as well as evolutionary and behavioral psychology, Fox explores the struggle between the parts of the brain associated with fear and pessimism and those associated with pleasure and optimism…. Fox introduces readers to many new concepts from experimental psychology and recent research on neuroplasticity and neurogenesis…. [A] welcome, if intellectually demanding, introduction to a key area of brain research.
Drawing upon the fields of neuroscience and psychology, Elaine Fox examines why those with an optimistic ‘sunny’ outlook on life are more likely to be happier than those people with a pessimistic ‘rainy’ disposition. Fox introduces the reader to the latest research which (optimistically) suggests that by altering patterns of behaviour, thought processes and exposure to experiences that it may be possible for die-hard pessimists to think more positively and find more pleasure in life.
Sunday Sun (UK)
Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain is an interesting read…as Fox intersperses the academic research with vignettes from her own experience and popular culture.
Northern Echo (UK)
Fox, a British psychologist and neuroscientist, believes our seemingly hard-wired negative/positive biases (our ‘affective mindset) can be altered, and she explains how in easily understood prose.
Toronto Star (Canada)
Fox explains the relationship between the amygdala, the brain’s fear centre, the thalamus, which sends it information, and the prefrontal cortex, where the information is analysed; with practice you can make yourself less pessimistic.
The Daily Telegraph (UK)