Research in psychology and neuroscience consistently demonstrates that being connected to others is one of the most important ingredients for health and well-being. The same can be said for being effective at work: being in tune with colleagues is essential for success.

Let’s face it: almost everything we do in life is tied to a habit. Life is simply too complex to think everything through. Could you imagine having to lay out explicit instructions on how to drive a car? Or cook a meal? Or walk? Or even breath? Thankfully, our brains automate these sequences, by creating habits, which free up mindspace for more interesting concerns like how to deal with a sticky problem at work or make our own lives happier or more meaningful.

Recent insights from neuroscience have confirmed the theory of neuroplasticity, the notion that the brain is not fixed, but an organ of experience. The structure and function of neural networks are constantly adapting to meet the demands of our day-to-day lives. One of the exciting implications of neuroplasticity is that it can be self-directed, meaning we can deliberately cultivate some brain states over others. In short, we can train our brains for happiness, resilience, and compassion.

If you ever look into the literature on happiness and well-being you can’t escape the evidence that comes up over and over again that the quickest way to feel well, to feel good, to feel happy is to invest in relationships; to be generous with others. So given the fact that we tend to be healthier and happier when we’re generous, the question is why are we not more generous more of the time?