In Barbara Fredrickson’s book, Positivity, she lists only a few Happiness Habits that Sonja Lyubomirsky does not: Find Nearby Nature. I have found this to be especially soothing and relaxing. Between clients I often take 10 minutes to go over, slip off my shoes and walk barefoot in the grass. There are two nice shade trees and even a picnic bench. I go there at least once every weekday and I have never seen anyone else there using it (besides birds). It is a wonderful haven and helps me to connect with Mother Earth.

Frank Clayton LPC

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Got to watch the movie “Happy”. I met the director Roko Belic when I went to the IPPA training in Philly. I missed the screening when I went there but I contacted him and he was kind enough to send me a secret link. We might be screening it here in SLC. It’s very good. ‘Lots of solid information backed up by science. And Sonja Lyubomirsky is in it – so you know it has to be good 🙂

Frank Clayton, the Happy Therapist

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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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Frank arrives at IPPA


It is very late (1:30am here in Philadelphia) so today’s report will probably be fairly short, but I have SO many exciting things to share with you!  Today was the first day of the 2nd Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association.  I was SO excited as I entered the downtown Marriott for the first time.  I saw a sign directing me up…. up…. (and away!)  Once in the right place, registration was a snap.  I was handed my IPPA bag and envelope (I felt like Charlie from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).
One great surprise is that tomorrow (Sunday, July 24th) the IPPA is holding Special Interest Groups (SIGs) during the lunch hour.  There were several to choose from but I must say that I was happily shocked to see that Barbara Fredrickson will be hosting one of these SIGs.  She is the author of Positivity, which is my second highest recommended book (next to Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, The How of Happiness).  She will be talking on Monday and will be closing out the conference with Richard Davidson on Tuesday, but to get Barbara in small venue is quite a treat! Continue reading Report from IPPA Conference, Day 1
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When it comes to suicide, Utah currently ranks #9.  In an effort to save lives and lower the rate of suicide in Utah, Happiness 101 will offer a webinar to reach out to the rural areas of the state where suicide is the most prevalent.  The online class will be completely free.   There will be no prescreening.  Classes will be held on Wednesdays from 7-9pm from October 5th to November 9th.

This webinar will be absolutely FREE.  The only cost will be to buy the text book: The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky.

Happiness 101 is an uplifting class where you will learn HOW to be happy, build a support system, and learn to break unhappy habits. Most people believe the myths of Happiness and therefore spend a great deal of energy chasing it, only to end up disappointed. Scientific research has now revealed the things that actually bring us Happiness. Even better: you can start being Happier NOW. Continue reading Free Happiness 101 Webinar to Reduce Suicide in Utah

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I got the green light to be one of the speakers at Salt Lake Behavioral Health’s next CEU opportunity on May 27th. I get to talk about happiness to colleagues for two hours! Whoo Hoo!


~Frank Clayton, the Happy Therapist

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Setting strong, realistic, do-able goals is SO important when it comes to Happiness. Sonja Lyubomirsky named going after goals as one of the 12 Happiness Habits (The How of Happiness). Because this is so important, I invited Life Vision guru Ann Webb to the Happiness Boost internet radio show. It aired this morning. Ann was very generous in giving specific tips on not only how to make a good goal but how to see it come to fruition. You can listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio and you can find out more about Ann and exactly how she helps people to realize their goals on her website,

Frank Clayton, LPC

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Once you have chosen your goal, here are some tips for success:
“Do, or Do Not”. If you’re going to make a New Year’s Resolution, then DO IT and do it right! Be crystal clear about what it is that you want and why. Is it REALLY what you want – or something you THINK you should want. If you are not properly motivated to complete your goal, you will probably not have enough commitment to see it through.

Keep your goal in front of you. It’s simple. If you can’t remember your goal, you’re not going to accomplish it. I suggest that you find a way to keep your goal in front of you. I have a list that I use every day. If I want to add a new goal, I simply add it to my sheet. If you don’t keep a to-do list, you can keep your goal in front of you by making it the wallpaper on your phone or computer, make it your password or do it the old fashioned way: write yourself a reminder note. ‘Just make sure you move it around – if you don’t keep it fresh, you’ll stop “seeing” your reminder.

Reasonable Resolution: Start out small. Make it almost ridiculously easy. If your goal is to work out every day, start by walking at a leisurely pace for five minutes. It’s not about the sweat and it’s about the habit. You can always expand on your time and intensity later.

Make it Fun/Enjoyable. If there is any way to make your New Year’s Resolution fun or enjoyable, actively seek out a way to do so. Honestly, I do not enjoy exercise. But I do enjoy video games, which why I use my Wii to stay in shape. Find something that works for you and your goal.

Variety. Whether you want to eat healthier food, make more friends, exercise or have more fun, variety, as they way, is the spice of life. When things get rote or boring, we are more inclined to stop doing them. Don’t wait for it to get old. make a plan from the beginning to keep it fresh.

Be smarter than yourself. Try not to get yourself in a position where you’re white-knuckling. Make a plan to outwit your “present self” later. In the moment, your “present self” might think “one donut won’t hurt” and ruin your diet. Outsmart yourself by not buying the donuts in the first place. Beware of “seemingly unimportant decisions” or SUDs. You can usually tell a SUD because the words “just” or “only” is probably in the sentence. “I’ll just have one” or “I’ll only drive by the liquor store”. You know yourself. Plan for weak moments.

Give in – ONCE in a While. If you are too militant about your goal, it may suck all the fun and enjoyability out of it. So, if it is appropriate, PLAN to give in once in a while. I say PLAN because it is too easy to let your “present self” entice you to give in during a weak moment. If you’re really crafty, you might even use your “give in” as an incentive. For instance, let’s say that you have committed to stay within your budget. You could give yourself permission to spend some extra money on yourself if you stay within your budget for a month.

Support. Support is one of THE key predictors of success. In her book, The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky lists Support as one of the five keys of Happiness. Friends and family can offer informational support (tell you about support groups, or good books), emotional support (encourage you to keep going if you lose confidence, share in your struggles and triumphs) and tangible support (lend you a book or give you a ride to a class). Accountability is a huge piece of support. It’s one of the reasons Weight Watchers work. Sometimes accountability is one of the primary reasons and benefits my clients come to therapy. You can succeed by telling others about your goal and/or enlisting an buddy to help you succeed.

If your goal in 2011 is to be Happier, join us in Happiness 101. The next semester starts January 12th. Click here for details.

Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor

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In April of 2009 I picked up a book that changed my life: The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. I took the tests to measure my level of Happiness. The lowest score possible is a one, which would be depressed. The highest score is a six. The average score is 4.30 My score was 4.20 I just took the test again and I am Happy to report that I have am indeed Happier. I scored a 5.03 You may remember that I recently reported that I tested positive as a pessimist (see article: I Was Wrong and I am Hopeless). You can test your optimism by going to Martin Seligman’s website. My HOPE (according to the test I was hopeLESS) is that as I cultivate my optimism, my Happiness will will increase even more. Dr. Lyubomirsky gives specific techniques on how to do so in her book. I wonder: if I tested at a perfect six – would that mean I literally could not be happier? Some of the questions were interesting. One of them was about how attractive I think I am. I had made a point of not looking at my previous answers when I retook the test. Evidently I think I’m prettier because on that question my number went up. I thought this was incredibly ironic since many people think if they make themselves more beautiful will make them happier. Evidently when one becomes happier, they think of themselves as more beautiful. ‘Wait ’til the beauty magazines find out about this.

Frank Clayton
Licensed Professional Counselor

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I awoke to silence, appreciating that it was not the sound of our alarm clock. I stirred slightly then enjoy a good stretch of my long legs. Reading these familiar signs that my conscious day has begun, the feline moved in. This is his window of opportunity to enjoy his favorite activity. I could feel him step over my legs and walk the length of my body to rest against my chest and stomach. My left hand naturally laid on his furry tummy. He felt warm against me. His fur was soft. He purred at the first stroke of his belly. On weekdays, the urgency to start the “to do”s du jour cut short this opportunity to exchange love, warmth and companionship between me and my 20 year old cat. I seized the chance to appreciate the moment: he did not wake me up this morning in hopes of starting this morning love-fest early. I was thankful that he is still with us and not succumbed to illness as his brother did two years before. I reveled in the familiarity of this daily chance to love and be loved. I Fended off thoughts of moments past and future, I drank in the present. I noticed how he purred harder when I curled my fingers just a little more. When rubbed lower, Midnight twisted his body slightly upward and stretched his legs downward, giving me better access to his stomach. I realized that when my fingertips get warm when I pet him. With my ears and fingers, I listened to his purr, wondering for a moment exactly what is it inside his body that makes that love motor run. On the heels of this thought was an appreciation that I do not know the mechanics of Midnight’s purr box, for it would be to demystify the wonder and magical quality that rests at the core of the feline mystique. Realizing this thought could lead me astray from the present moment and I returned to enjoy it. I Petted my cat on a languid Sunday morning. Midnight was black. He was close. He was warm and soft. Outside, it was white with new fallen snow. It was beautiful. I knew it is cold and icy beyond my window, which helped me to appreciate the warmth of my bed and my cat all the more.
Savoring Life’s Joys is one of the twelve Happiness Habits suggested by Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness. When is the last time you took a moment to drink in the present and appreciate all it has to offer? They happen a often. Seize the day for this one will not pass by this way again.
~Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor

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