Assertive Stance

Assertiveness got a somewhat bad rap in the 70s. What they were calling assertiveness in the workshops of that decade leaned heavily toward aggressiveness. The goal of true assertiveness is not to assert your will upon another – which is more the “I win, you lose” scenario (aggression). Emmons and Alberti do a wonderful job of explaining this important distinction in their book, Your Perfect Right. This is my go-to book when addressing the issue of assertiveness in therapy. They give many examples to help you look for the win/win solution and give clear language to help you speak and behave in a way that feels respectful not only to the other person but yourself. In Happiness 101, I talk a lot about choice and how every day in big and small ways, you can make choices that take you either closer or further away from Happiness. Of the four styles of conflict communication, assertiveness is the only option in which everyone wins. A collaborative, respectful approach is obviously the choice most conducive to Happiness. Join us on Monday, March 29th at 7pm for the free class Happiness 101 where I will go into more depth, giving you tools you can use right away to improve your relationships and, yes, be Happier.
Frank Clayton
Licensed Professional Counselor

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TextingSocial connectedness is one of THE biggest predictors of Happiness. Just to be clear, the connection I am speaking of, does not involve wires. It seems more and more common to see people sitting at a table, staring intently NOT into one another’s eyes but to their phone. There is great irony in having such a passion for communicating with one another electronically while ignoring the person we are with. It seems that the more we plug into cyber space, the more we unplug from one another. Not only is intimacy lost, but miscommunications are rampant. For instance, sarcasm does not translate well in typed form and often the message intended is not the message received. Only a fraction of our communication is the exact words used. Most of it comes from the tone, volume, and cadence of what is being said not to mention non-verbal communication. In my practice, I hear more and more couples arguing about issues that started in text, E-mail or something written on Facebook. Arguments that may have never started if they were just communicating with one another. Again, social connections are SO important to our Happiness and communication is a key element of our connection with others. I ask you to consider these points and make a conscious decision of how you want to handle this 21st century problem. My vote would be to PUT THE PHONE DOWN, look into the face of your friend or loved one sitting across from you and talk to them. That person and your connection to them is one of the ways you can live a happier life.

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January 22nd and 23rd

January 22nd and 23rd

If you were to start a journey destined for “happily ever after”, how would you plan your trip? Where exactly IS “happily ever after”? Is it on the map? What does it look like and how would you get there? To get where we are going, we must know where it is and how we are to get there. In Happiness 101 I teach what happiness is and give a specific road map on how to get there. Most of the classes have been geared toward teaching individuals how to be happy. After all, it is difficult to be happy in a relationship, if one does not first know how to make one’s self happy. Studies (Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness) show that being happy takes thought (mindfulness) and effort – to consciously make decisions that will bring you happiness. This too is the way to “happily ever after”. Many marriages float along on a current easily jostled by moods, events du jour and life changes. Business man Harvey MacKay said people “don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”. There are many business basics that can be applied to relationships. This is the foundational concept of Dino Watt’s Business of Marriage” workshop.
Dino Watt

Dino Watt


Think about it: Would a marriage not fair better with a specific plan for success. How about regular “meetings” where you could discuss how the relationship has gone thus far and what direction you would like to go – together, as a couple. Do you even know the aspirations to which your significant other is currently striving as an individual? How might those plans effect you? In this planning, communication is crucial. Therefore, Dino has invited me to teach about the basics of communication; to make sure the signal sent is the signal received. When I work with couples in my private practice we usually find miscommunication to be a basic part of the problem. In a very short period of time, you will learn how to communicate effectively and have the opportunity to practice it and use it in your daily life immediately. This technique is ideal when you do not feel heard, have difficulty saying what you want to say and dealing with irate people. I use this technique in my daily life as a therapist, a friend and a partner. Join us for “The Business of Marriage” workshop, Friday, January 22nd (starting at 9am) and Saturday January 23rd. Cost is merely $198 PER COUPLE! Plus you can get $50 off just by going to http://bizofmarriage.eventbrite.com/ and use the discount code: Happiness101. This workshop is not only for those in relationship. It is also for people that want to be in a good healthy relationship. In other words, everyone is welcome! See you there.

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Happily Ever AfterAccording to Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the myths of happiness is “I’ll be happy when…”. For instance, “I’ll be happy when I am out of debt”, and “I’ll be happy when I get that promotion”. But one of the most rampant myths of this kind is “I’ll be happy when I get married”. In many Disney movies, when the boy gets the girl, they end it with very sweet tagline “and they all lived happily ever after”. Unfortunately this is a set-up. The falling in love and saying “I do” is just the beginning. Happiness in marriage does not just magically happen. I have been teaching the Happiness 101 class since April ’09 and one of the key points in happiness is CHOICE. Unless your marriage certificate came complete with Tinkerbell’s magic wand, either or both spouses have the choice to behave angrily, jealously, with pettiness or disinterest. They could also make the choice to behave affectionately, compassionately, lovingly or attentively. Even when love is expressed, the signal sent is not always the signal received. She might be expressing her love through attention, while he might be expressing his love through physical touch. In his book “The Five Love Languages”, Gary Chapman outlines the many different ways one might feel love or attempt to express love. When you really want to tell someone you love them, how do YOU express that? How does it really cut through to you that someone loves you? Was it the little considerate thing they did, or the diamond earrings? There is much to know and learn about love and happiness. For now, have hope. Statistically, married people are happy (Lybomirsky, The How of Happiness). Of course be careful with statistics. Not all happy people are married and not all married people are happy. Happiness, whether married or single, is a CHOICE.

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What does heaven look like on a daily basis?
Even if you are an atheist, I am sure you could conjure up an image of the here-after (upstairs, not downstairs).
No, really think about it.
We have lots of different areas here on earth. How would it be in heaven? Finances. School. Occupation. Relationships (family, friends, spouse). Sex. Body. Do you have a home? How do you travel from one place to another? Is there drugs in Heaven? How about wine? TV? Cell phones? What possessions would we have and what would we not? Food for thought. Which reminds me to ask: is there food in your version of heaven?
The question (“What does Heaven look like on a daily basis?”) was one I posed to the students of Happiness 101 class on Monday night. They spent several minutes writing down their answers. It helped them learn a great deal about themselves. Heaven, after all, is the ideal happy life, is it not?
It is so important that you write down YOUR answer to the question before reading on, that I am going to refrain from posting the rest of this article for two days. Please check back after you have written your answer.
~Frank

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happy sexesI’ve had a few questions about the upcoming Happy Sex Class. Let me set the record straight: this will not be a class that teaches anything graphic. There are plenty of resources for people to find out various sexual techniques. Such proficiencies will NOT be the subject of this class. Instead, we will be talking about the basics we have learned in the Happiness 101 class and how to apply those concepts in the bedroom. This is a unique opportunity because much of the class material has focused on how to be happy as an individual but there has not been a great deal of emphasis on how to be happy as half of a couple. What better arena to do just that than the most intimate part of a couple’s relationship: namely sex? I will strive to keep the quality and quantity of information high while keeping the embarassment factor to a minimum. That said, we hope you will join us Monday at 7pm. It’s $5 per person. Location 220 East 3900 South #7. For recorded information, call 801-262-0317

Frank Clayton
Licensed Professional Counselor

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