International Happiness Day March 20, 2014 – Free Positive Psychology Talks

The United Nations declared March 20th International Happiness Day, and to mark it there will be free video  presentations about how people are using Positive Psychology in their lives and careers starting tomorrow.

Positive psychology leads to International Happiness Day
International Happiness Day March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014

Listen and learn from the world’s foremost experts in the application of positive psychology. Each speaker will share usable, practical, evidence-based insights to enhance your well-being personally and professionally.  Celebrate the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness by learning how to create more happiness for yourself and others and increase the total tonnage of happiness in the world.

All of the talks are available at the same time so you can pick and choose what you want to hear/view, but these videos will cost a modest amount (either $25 or $50) starting on March 21.  All of the presenters are graduates of the University of Pennsylvania Master’s of Applied Positive Psychology degree program (MAPP Program).

If you want to just register and see who is presenting and what the topics are, you can get a free ticket to use at this link: https://www.entheos.com/International-Day-Of-Happiness/  Just type in your name and email address. There’s tons of fantastic, useful info here. I’m sure you will find something helpful…fast!

To life, love and laughter!

 

Dr. John Schinnerer
Positive Psychology Expert
Anger Management Specialist
Founder, Guide to Self, Inc.
913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280
Danville CA 94526
Positive psychology blog: http://DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com 
Anger management blog:
http://WebAngerManagement.com
The Path to Happier:
http://HowICanBeHappy.com
Twitter: @johnschin

 

How Can I Be Happy? What Science Tells Us About Happiness

The Expert… Richie Davidson: What Science Teaches Us About Well-Being

One of my research heroes is the prolific Richie Davidson. He has an article in today’s Huffington Post… “What Does Science Teach Us About Well-Being?”

Here are a few key excerpts:

As we finalize our preparations to receive His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a dialogue on Global Health and Well-being, an event co-sponsored by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the Global Health Institute, both at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it is appropriate to reflect on what science is teaching us about well-being.

1. Well-being is a skill.

By conceptualizing well-being as a skill, we appeal to modern insights from neuroscience where the study of neuroplasticity has informed us that the mind and brain are highly changeable and that the brain is constantly being shaped by experience and training.

Positive psychology coaching w john schinnerer phd
Happiness & well-being are skills that can be learned

Viewed from this perspective, well-being is the product of skills that can be enhanced through training and is also subject to environmental influences that impact our brain, especially over the course of development.

2. Well-being is associated with specific patterns of brain activity that influence and are influenced by the body.

Recent findings establish that specific patterns of brain activity involving the prefrontal cortex and limbic (below the cortex) regions are associated with reports of well-being.

Brain patterns associated w happiness
Positive psychology can lead you to a happier brain and mind.

Through this bidirectional communication between the brain and body, pathways have been identified that provide the beginnings of an understanding of why our emotional and physical health are intimately intertwined.

3. Equanimity and generosity both contribute to well-being and are associated with distinct patterns of brain and bodily activity.

The Dalai Lama has frequently urged us to be kind toward others and has suggested that kindness is a direct route to happiness.

Modern research has borne this out and indicates that kindness and compassion toward others is associated with peripheral biological (i.e., biology below the neck) changes that are salubrious.

Equanimity can be cultivated through simple contemplative practices and is associated with being attentive to the present moment and not getting lost in worrying about the future and ruminating about the past.

Modern research indicates that the average adult American spends nearly 50% of his waking life mind wandering–not paying attention to what he is actually doing.

average adult spends 50% of time with mind wandering
The average U.S. adult spends 50% of time with mind wandering

By learning to remain aware of the present moment, we can free ourselves from being slaves to the past and future.

Experiments have been conducted in which participants are randomly assigned to one of two groups–in the first group, they are provided with money and told to go out and spend the money on themselves and to purchase things for themselves only; in the second group, they are provided the same amount of money as the first group but they are told to spend the money only on others.

Since I’m writing about this, I’m sure you can guess which group showed much greater increases in happiness over the course of the day–of course, it was the group instructed to spend the money only on others.

Another amazing thing about generosity and kindness is that a growing body of evidence suggests that such behavior is good for our biology.

It helps to reduce inflammation and the molecules responsible for increasing inflammation.

4. There is an innate disposition toward well-being and prosocial behavior.

Organisms orient toward stimuli and situations that promote well-being.

how can i be happy? learn positive psychology with john schinnerer phd

Moreover, recent research indicates that human infants in the first six months of life show a preference for prosocial and cooperative situations compared with aggressive and antagonistic ones.

If this indeed continues to be replicated across a wide range of cultures, it would invite the view that we come into the world with an innate preference for good and we obscure that innate propensity over the course of development as we become socialized within our modern culture.

When we engage in practices to nurture compassion, we are not really learning a new skill so much as unlearning the noise which is interfering with our ability to connect with a fundamental innate core of goodness.

As these ideas become more widely known and appreciated, it is my fervent aspiration that our culture will pay more attention to well-being, will include strategies to promote well-being with our educational curricula and within the healthcare arena, and will include well-being within our definitions of health.

To life, love and laughter,

 

 

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Positive Psychology Coach

Author of the award-winning Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion & Thought

Guide To Self, Inc.

913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280

Danville CA 94526

(925) 575-0258

Get a free copy of John’s award-winning self help book at GuideToSelf.com

WebAngerManagement.com – 10-week online anger management course

DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com –  Awarded #1 Blog in Positive Psychology by PostRank, Top 100 Blog by Daily Reviewer

@johnschin – Twitter

Positive Psychology Expert Interview from Askimo – John Schinnerer Ph.D.

Here is an interview on positive psychology and positive emotions I recently did for Askimo, an expert site based out of Tel Aviv. Note there is a lag time between questions and responses due to the international video call.

I’ve been studying the question, “How Can I Be Happy?” for over 20 years. I love having some ways to answer this question now.

Feel free to leave your comments below. Let me know your thoughts!

To life, love and laughter,

John

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology Coach
Expert Consultant to Pixar
Author of the award-winning Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion & Thought
Guide To Self, Inc.
913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280
Danville CA 94526
GuideToSelf.com – Web site
WebAngerManagement.com – 10-week online anger management course
DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com – Awarded #1 Blog in Positive Psychology by PostRank, Top 100 Blog by Daily Reviewer
@johnschin – Twitter

Positive Psychology or How to Create a Successful AND Happy Life

Positive Psychology At Commencement

This is a speech I gave at a high school commencement recently. I thought you might enjoy it!

Positive Psychology, or How to Consciously Create a Successful and Happy Life

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Welcome graduates, faculty, parents, friends and family.

My name is Dr. John Schinnerer. For the past 7 years, I have been speaking, writing and teaching about a new branch of science called Positive Psychology which is the science of happiness, positive emotions, creativity, forgiveness, mindfulness, curiosity, and meaning and purpose in life.

And one of my favorite positive emotions is amusement – that which you feel after a good joke.  So here is a joke for your amusement…

Driving along on a sunny day with her young granddaughter by her side, my aunt was on top of the world.

            “Grandma,” said the young girl “is Grandpa a lot older than you?”

            “Yes, a few years,” she said. Then fishing for a compliment, Grandma asked “Why do you ask, dear?”

            “Well, his mustache is a lot bigger than yours.”

Positive psychology is discovering signs pointing to a happier life.

When I first came to present here, I was anxious, excited, and uncertain as to how you would receive the info I had to share. After all, I thought, how many teenagers want to hear about positive psychology?

Apparently, you did.

And I praise you for your open-mindedness, your courage, your resiliency.

You are some of the most courageous individuals I know. For courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is overcoming fear. Without fear, there is no courage. You face your fears daily which makes you brave. It makes you courageous.

You are also among the most resilient people whom I know. And for that you have my respect and my admiration.

Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from challenging, difficult situations. You guys are among the… bounciest… people I know. Many of you have had multiple chances of giving up, of throwing in the towel, and you refused. You kept going.

Being able to bounce, being able to persevere, despite negative events is not due to luck. It’s due to resiliency.  Resilience means you effectively cope despite inevitable loss, hardship, or adversity. Resilience has been compared to flexibility in metals. For example, cast iron is hard, brittle, and breaks easily, that is it is not resilient, whereas wrought iron is soft and bends without breaking – it is resilient.

In most cases, successful people have overcome many more difficulties than those who are less successful. While everyone encounters failure and trouble, it is what you do AFTER failure that is critical.

Highly successful individuals have tenacity, a stick-to-it-iveness. They view failure as a learning experience. They don’t give up. They don’t throw in the towel. They try again. From Barack Obama to the president of FedEx to Eminem, successful individuals fail repeatedly …but they learn from their experiences and they keep going. They keep on walking in the direction of their values and their dreams.

As you keep walking in the direction of your dreams, of your values, continually remind yourself of your own resiliency. You have overcome great odds to be here today.  You have proven to be an inspiration for me and for many of the people with whom I talk. There is a ripple effect. I share my experiences with you with others and the stories have a positive impact on people whom have never even met you.

For instance, when I first came, I shared the ‘Free Hugs’ video with you. And after that presentation, several students wrote up pieces of paper that read ‘Free Hugs’ and taped them to your chests. Then you went around hugging classmates. To me, that is inspirational.

The letter the English class wrote to defend the name of the high school against mindless stereotypes after a tragic homicide was another instance where your actions inspired hope, passion and courage in others. Your positive actions are felt by more people than you realize.  You may not realize it, but you inspire others.

What Do Influential People Add to Our Lives?

One of the corporate leaders in the positive psychology movement, The Gallup Corporation, recently asked over 10,000 people what the most influential leaders contribute to their lives. Their answers boiled down to 4 essential areas – compassion, trust, stability and hope. Keep those in the forefront of your mind for just a moment.

The great African American tennis player, Arthur Ashe, once said…

“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is more important than the outcome.”

Many of us believe that success leads to happiness. A number of studies now show that happiness actually brings success as well. People like to be around happy, supportive, optimistic people. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of success for happy folks.

John Schinnerer Ph.D., Positive psychology coach

What Does the Positive Psychology Research Show?

When asked about happiness, Tal Ben-Sahar, a positive psychology professor at Harvard says “Happiness is not making it to the peak of the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.” Apparently, success is a lot like happiness.  It’s about learning to savor the journey.

When asked what the top three components of success are, Tal Ben-Sahar replied

Passion (love what you do)

Effectiveness (belief in one’s self)

Hard work (persistence and dedication)

I want to draw your attention to the pattern here.

In business, the most effective leaders create trust, stability, compassion and hope in their followers.

As individuals, the necessary components for success are passion, persistence and a belief in one’s effectiveness.

All of these competencies are rooted in the emotional mind. Success starts in your mind.

And you are well-suited to share each and every one of these strengths with the world. Thanks to your principal and teachers you have been schooled in the new competencies necessary for success. As you head out into this new world, you are familiar with all you need to succeed – trust, perseverance, compassion, resiliency, curiosity and passion.

Allow me to wrap up with a short quote from the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo who said…

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

So when you set your goals – aim high, my friends, aim high.

Thank you.

John Schinnerer Ph.D.

Positive psychology coach

Founder Guide to Self

Award-winning author

Award-winning blogger

http://www.GuideToSelf.com

http://webangermanagement.com

The First Ever Issue of Happier – Positive Psychology for All

I thought you might like a sneak preview of the new magazine I’ve been working on in which I’m sharing the latest secrets from positive psychology!

Positive Psychology Magazine – Happier: Being Happier with Less Via Positive Psychology by John Schinnerer Ph.D.

Go ahead! Check it out! I’m quite proud!

To a happier life,

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Guide to Self, Inc.

Danville CA 94526

www.GuideToSelf.com