My friend and True Vision Team colleague, Camille Strate, sent me her wonderful article about the Science of Happiness. Quite enlightening!

Did you know that there’s actually a SCIENCE about happiness? I had no idea, until I heard this young man speak at a recent conference. His name is Shawn Achor and he is a HOOT! He teaches at Harvard and has THE most popular course on campus. Over 1000 students have signed up for his course, “Psychology: Positive Psychology and the Science of Happiness“.

Course Description: In our increasingly modern and even luxurious world, why aren’t wealth and success translating into greater happiness? Depression rates in the United States are currently eight times higher than they were during the Great Depression, and that’s just one measure of our society’s mental health. Positive Psychology is an emerging branch in social psychology that attempts to answer this paradox. Researchers in this field are also investigating whether there is a way of living and thinking that can lead not only to increased happiness, but also to a longer, healthier life. Whereas traditional psychology explores the abnormally bad or merely the average, positive psychology looks at the “growing tip” of the curve-the most happy and the most successful-to figure out what can be learned from them. This lecture examines the latest research and discoveries in the field, and explores some of the techniques that incorporate positive psychology and can lead to increased happiness and health.

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University. Indeed, Achor is the Head Teaching Fellow for the most popular course at Harvard, Positive Psychology, which is led by Professor Tal Ben-Shahar. Over 1,000 students a semester have signed up for the course. Beyond Positive Psychology, Achor has taught in four academic departments at Harvard, including courses in Psychology of Leadership, Personality Psychology and Business, and Human Sexuality. After receiving his BA from Harvard in English and earning a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist Ethics, Achor has synthesized his understanding of rhetoric, religion and ethics into the field of psychology, where he is currently finishing his PhD in social psychology at Tufts. Indeed part of Achor’s interest in positive psychology stems from the fact that studies have shown many of Harvard’s undergrads suffer, at one time or another, from depression while at school. As a freshman advisor and proctor on the Harvard campus, Achor has seen this experience firsthand.

I share this information with you for a few reasons. One, when you hear this man speak, it’s impossible NOT to get excited. He’s so authentic and enthusiastic and utterly darling in his passion for helping people understand the power they have to BE happy. And he truly cares. It shines from him like a halo; he is as inspiring as he is informative. The studies they’ve conducted thus far are truly astonishing and the results of those studies will really make you rethink those moments when you’re miserable. The fact is, we CAN control our lives by readjusting how we think. The brain is actually ‘elastic’ and can be rewired! The idea of this just blew me away!

I shan’t attempt to recap all that he’s shared with us, as I’m sure I’d lose much in the translation. But he’s worth researching and, if you live in the Fairfield, CT area, you can even attend one of his lectures at the Fairfield University Quick Center for the Arts. To learn more about Shawn, visit his site at http://www.shawnachor.com/. To see the One Day course schedule, just email him and he’ll be happy to share that with you.

This is stuff that can absolutely change your life! It’s exciting research and something I believe should be taught in ALL our elementary schools. Just imagine what the world would be like if everyone had the tools and the knowledge to truly create their lives. It would be a “Brave New World” and the beginning of the end of war, hate, fear, crime, etc. ad nauseaum!

By the way, just for fun, please have a look at the site I built that was, in large part, inspired by this man’s dreams. Although I’ve always had this mantra “joy is a choice”, he moved me to TAKE ACTION on that mantra and create a space for folks to take a moment and share some joy! You can check it out at http://www.joyzachoice.com/. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

CHOOZE JOY!

Camille Olivia Strate is an author, empowerment coach and critter keeper in search of the perfect pasture. She is currently adding the ‘finishing touches’ to her latest book, “Whispers”, expected to be released in Spring 2008. She believes strongly in ‘paying it forward’. Visit her personal site at http://www.joyzachoice.com

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