Mary Ellen, from Genesis Books has been one of Happiness 101‘s greatest supporters and sponsors.  She was always caring, patient and knowledgeable.  She has left a tremendous legacy to Salt Lake City. Genesis Books is one of the greatest sources of 12-step material in the valley.  They have also sponsored many 12-step meetings over the years.  Genesis Books is a haven for those struggling with addiction.  RIP Mary Ellen.

Mary Ellen Durham

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Positive 1

Got half of the garden weeded tonight.

Positive 2

I am happy to see so many rich colors as I drive around this valley, it is like a big box of crayons hit the landscape. For some reason it really stimulates my senses.

Positive 3

Reading a book online about the gnostic bible writings. It is really beautiful reading.

By: Kathie

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This morning while meeting with a friend for breakfast, not only did he buy breakfast but he brought me a gift – Steven Covey’s “The Third Alternative”. According to my friend, Covey said it was his best book ever. The breakfast was great, the gift was greater but honestly the company was the greatest gift of all.

Frank Clayton LPC

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The Happiness Advantage by Shawn AchorI am very, very picky about recommending books about happiness or positive psychology. At a minimum the books must be able to back up its claims with scientific evidence. Therefore my recommended reading list is only one page long. Not only did I add The Happiness Advantage to the list, but it bumped Barbara Fredrickson’s book Positivity out of the #2 slot, just behind the text we use in Happiness 101, The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. In short, it is a fantastic book!

Though The Happiness Advantage is rife with scientifically backed information, Shawn Achor manages to present this information in fun, interesting ways. The seven principles he teaches in the book are easy to understand but even more importantly are easy to remember. Even before the last page was turned, I was using his techniques to improve my life. Let me put this into perspective for you: I am the Happy Therapist and have been teaching Happiness 101 for over three years and there was information in this book that I had never been exposed to and/or methods that had never been explained in such a direct, doable manner. I highly recommend The Happiness Advantage.

I will be referencing The Happiness Advantage a lot in the upcoming Happiness 101 class. I found that all seven principles could easily be woven into the class. The stories Achor uses to drive home his points are engaging, memorable and entertaining, making it a fun read. He is a great presenter as well. Click here to see his TED video. Whether via book, video or live presentation, I highly recommend you get a Happy, healthy dose of Shawn Achor any way you can get him.

~Frank Clayton, LPC

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Report from IPPA Conference, Day 3

Wow! What an absolutely amazing day! In case you’re just “tuning in”, today is day 3 of the 2nd Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association.
Here are the highlights:

  • Barbara Fredrickson (author of my #2 pick on Happiness, Positivity) talked about Love
  • Meeting Todd Kashdan and (what may be his last) talk at IPPA
  • Possible collaboration with positive psychologist and local, Lynn Johnson
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with a Positive Spin
  • Positive Computing
  • Meeting Jane McGonigal and using her on-line game to enhance Happiness 101
  • How much you think you can do something effects whether (and how hard) you try *
  • The use of strengths in therapy – the intermediate lesson *
  • Gala and the National Constitution Center *

* I will report on these tomorrow.

It was much cooler today. A blessing for my walk to my third download of information in the realm of positive psychology, a.k.a. Happiness! As I walked through City Hall in (literally) the heart of Philadelphia, I hummed a little tune. I was distracted by the richness and variety of the people as I walked. Per haps distracted enough by the suits, the homeless, the street venders, the skaters and the provocative dress, the song’s lyrics did not bubble to the surface until in the shadow of the Downtown Marriott. I murmured, “All you need is love. Bump-ba bump-ba bump. All you need is love. Bump-ba bump-ba bump. All you need is love, love – love is all you need.” As I realized I was humming a Beatles standard, I also realized that the topic of Barbara Fredrickson’s talk was “Love: A new lens on the science of thriving” Continue reading Report from IPPA Conference, Day 3

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Report from IPPA Conference, Day 2

Day two of the 2nd Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association was simply amazing.  I learned SO much!  At one point I laughed to my friend “Teacher!  My brain is full!”  Here’s a report of the day’s events:

It began with Ed Deci speaking about self-determination and its relationship to positive psychology – in other words: the self-fulfilling prophecy.  He showed scientific proof that believing that you are doomed and things will never get better can actually bring that about.  Using a simple analogy (of my own), if one is drowning and they really don’t think anyone will come to rescue them, they can behave based on this belief by not paddling and dying before help could arrive.  But Deci really wowed the crowd when he reported that studies repeatedly proved that external rewards kill off intrinsic motivation.  For instance, when we try to control our children either by giving them a reward for doing well (the carrot) or punishing them when they do not do well (the stick), we inadvertently are hindering our child’s innate love of learning!  You can bet I will be blogging more about this. Continue reading Report from IPPA Conference, Day 2

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Click here to see the trailer

On April 4th, 2010, I had the pleasure of screening Lisa Cypers Kamen‘s documentary, The H-Factor at the Happiness Social. Though Kafeneio Coffeehouse is a big place, few seats were empty when the lights went down. There were 52 people there, hungry to learn even more about Happiness. They were well fed.

By Lisa’s account, The H-Factor is still a rough cut, the documentary packs a wallop. Weighing in just over 30 minutes in length Lisa interviews the homeless, celebrities, prisoners and Happiness experts covering what Happiness is and is not, why we are not as happy as we think we should be and most importantly, specific ways one can be Happier. I enjoyed the perspective from which she shot the film – that of her 9 year old daughter, Kayla. Together they traveled the world in search of the elusive, rare creature known as Happiness, only to find, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, that it was with them the whole time. Continue reading Review of The H-Factor, a Documentary by Lisa Cypers Kamen

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The How of Happiness

The How of Happiness

As a therapist, you might imagine, I have had many, many self-help books suggested to me. I have become more and more picky about what books I choose. The criteria I have come to use is that the author have something to back up what they are saying. The advice might sound great, but is there anything to back it up. When I find myself with a self-help book in my hand, I immediately flip to “About the author”. Is the author a professional in some capacity? As a person, what sort of credentials do they have to back up their claims? The second thing I look for is where did they come by their information? This can mean quite a bit more flipping, especially if you are looking for something that is not there. Usually if a book is backed by studies or empirical research, it will be easier to find. They will want you to know, “Hey! I didn’t just make this up!” The writing of professionals hailing from academia seemed to be much more steeped in scientific study, so I lean heavily in that direction. Former Harvard profession, Tal Ben-Shahar pointed out in his recently released DVD “Happiness 101” (which you can find at pointed out that the academics have the knowledge but have had little voice. He shared that the average academic journal is read by seven people. So, use these quick tips to cut through the clutter. Here are a few gems on the subject of Happiness I highly recommend. Click on the book to find out about buying the book or click on the author’s name to find out more about that particular author:

Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman
The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky
Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson
Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar
Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert

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