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  1. HAPPIER: Developing a personal formula for contentment in the face of adversity. Scott M. Bea, Psy.D. Cleveland Clinic

  2. The Culture of Abundance • We have more than any culture in history • Are we appreciative? • Are we celebrating abundance? • Or still wanting more….. • What if we are chronically ill? • At least you have your health…..

  3. We are Less Happy than in 1936 • Tail end of the depression • 1/3 of us using outhouses! • Huge upsurge in depression and anxiety • Advertising industry puts us on the Hedonic Treadmill • Legally Blind: I must be miserable and wanting a better life. (Prayers on the bus)

  4. The Complaint Orientation • Characterizes 70% of American conversations • “This bus smells like urine!” • We fall prey to the Ziegarnik effect • We like to perceive “wholes” • We complain about missing components • “One of my pixels is glowing”

  5. “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste” • We have a choice to make… • Will I succumb and let this overtake me? • Will I profit from this experience? • Do I want to be the best or worst in adjusting to this? • Who likes a good complainer? • How will I grow from this? • Wantingness will not help.

  6. Reflection on Goal Attainment • Reflect on a couple of personal experiences where reaching a certain milestone did not bring the emotional payoff you expected. • This is where many think happiness resides. • But, the happiness is in the journey up the mountain • Florida Tech example

  7. We Can All Be Happier • Happiness is rarely the direct target • Rather, happiness thru money, power, status, admiration, sex, love • Perhaps, happiness must be cultivated • We postpone happiness until graduation, career, marriage, children (leaving), retire.. • Happiness gap between men & women and it is growing

  8. Happiness Rituals • Human rituals are difficult to start but easy to maintain and they reduce tension! • Hygiene rituals, athletic rituals, spiritual rituals. • Rituals can be built. • What rituals make you happy? • Exercise, meditating, reading, movies, a standing date, guitar playing. • Initiate 1 or 2 at a time.

  9. Giving Away Our Cookies • The altruism of young children • “Here’s a dollar for the bus”! • You cannot blow giving a gift. • We can sure blow how we receive a gift! • Our gifts: time, energy, attention, admiration

  10. Prosocial behaviors • The wisdom of the ages • Gets our mind off of ourselves and our worries. • A cure for depression • If there is any happiness in the world it comes my desiring others to be happy… • Compensation comes from being in the energy field of giving • Praise 16:1 plus positive activation of the striatum • How about prosocial ritual development!

  11. The Helpers High • Functional MRI’s show that the mesolimbic pathway lights up when we make charitable donations. • Helping behavior releases dopamine, seratonin, and oxytosin • Oxytosin leads to feelings of compassion and tranquility • Increased energy, warmth, calmness, self-worth, and fewer aches and pains. • Young children know this

  12. Happiness Barriers:Egos and Early Injuries • Originally, we are pristine, uncontaminated • External influences (parents, teachers, clerics, etc.) convince us that there is something wrong with us. • We cannot defend ourselves from this • The ego emerges—always wanting, needing to prove itself (pride vs. humility) • “The Wizard of Oz” • Come back to your “giving self”

  13. Happiness: a process, not a destination • Goal-attainment is the destination. • At times, there are wide gaps between attained goals. • Consistent loving, giving action is the process • “The gettin’ is in the givin’.” • This is the Wisdom of the Ages

  14. Becoming Happier • Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on the way to a destination we deem valuable. • Happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak. • Happiness is the highest end point.

  15. Expressing Gratitude: A happiness ritual • A gratitude journal • Daily: 5 things we are grateful for • This leads to better physical and emotional well being. • Do this before bedtime and you will rest better and have better dreams. • Let this be a ritual until it becomes you. • Express gratitude verbally to others and watch its effect in your life.

  16. Mindfulness: be Here Now • The only valid experience is in the now. • This awareness reduces tension. • Practice “present-moment awareness” • All 5 senses, “I am seeing, smelling, tasting…

  17. Getting Connected • Active listening • Content + emotion • Give away your cookies • Time • Interest • Effort • Don’t look for the reciprocity. • Giving has its own reward

  18. Trust Your Early Experience • Practice noticing what is “right” about you. • Comment admiringly on the “rightness” of others • Do it at a 16:1 ratio • Take command of your biochemistry and give away your cookies. • Want the life you have! • My gratitude ritual:Thanks!