Saturday, October 15, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Today’s is part II of a special guest blog entry by my colleague, Dr. Christine Allen. Dr. Allen is a psychologist who is also an executive and life coach. She has over 20 years of psychotherapy experience, is past President of the Central New York Psychological Association (CNYPA), awarded the CNYPA Psychologist of the Year in 2008, serves on the governing Council of the New York State Psychological Association, and is an adjunct psychology professor at Syracuse University. She runs Chris Allen Coaching and can be followed on Twitter here.

In yesterday’s blog entry, Dr. Allen ended it with the following question: So what are some take-aways on how to increase well-being and happiness? Here are some suggestions.

• Increase savoring by focusing on the moment; enjoy healthy pleasure in the here-and now.

• Increase engagement and flow, especially through meditation and mindfulness; limit passive activities such as TV and “screen time”.

• Practice kindness; it increases your own well-being and that of others (the “pay-it forward” concept has been found in hard research to be very real).

• Practice daily gratitude or blessings.

• Identify and use your unique strengths daily and in new ways (e.g., check out for a cost-free way to identify strengths).

• “WWW”: Identify concretely “what went well” today--preferably write it down and ask others, such as your children, what went well for them.

• Behavioral economists suggest that “satisficing” (which means going with “good enough”) is better than “maximizing” (always trying to get the absolute best deal) for happiness. People who research endlessly to get “the best deal” are more unhappy with their choices.

• Cultivate optimism: Seligmans book, “Learned Optimism” can help you learn how: you dont have to be a Pollyanna to find ways to tame those negative messages. These messages are our brains way of trying to protect us from disappointment and disaster, but they actually prevent us much of the time from living fully.

For more ideas and information, check out Seligmans book, Flourish or for a more personal take, read Gretchen Rubins, The Happiness Project

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