Mar 152014
 
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Next FREE class to begins Saturday April 26th, 2014

Happiness 101 works! – and we have the numbers to prove it!

Using scientifically validated instruments, students of Happiness 101 show a decrease in depression and increases in their happiness, optimism, belief that they can make a positive impact in their own life and self-esteem. The evidence is so compelling we are working toward getting published in the Journal of Positive Psychology!

Here are some testimonials from a recent class:

“Happiness 101 helped me cross the bridge between understanding that attitude change is possible to experience attitude change.”

“I feel much happier now that I have taken this course.”

“[The] Self-Esteem [portion of the class] was a HUGE eye opener for me and one of those moments in life where it is a light bulb moment.”

“I have looked myself in the mirror and found so many things that I have loved about myself that I didn’t know existed.”

“I appreciated discovering more of my negative thinking errors and taking more responsibility for them.”

“I have learned that I have always had happiness inside of me and I always knew what made me happy.”

“It was humorous, enlightening, challenging, and affirming.”

“REALLY appreciated learning about self-esteem!”

“I usually don’t do well with change but the knowledge. I have now gets me excited to move forward with a clear mind and I am ready to see what the future has in store for me.”

“Since starting this class I’ve learned so much about myself and how I can become happier.”

“I have really enjoyed this class. I have seen a change in me.”

The next Happiness 101 class will be held on Saturdays April 26th to June 14th from noon to 2pm. Click here to find out more about Happiness 101.

Frank Clayton, The Happy Therapist
Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Oct 312013
 
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Article on KSL.com
Mike and JanetSALT LAKE CITY — Four years ago I called my best friend, Michael. We’ve known each other since grade school and made a point to catch up at least once a month. When I asked how he was doing, he said “Same (stuff), different day.” He was at work. He told me about how he and his girlfriend, Janet, had gone out to dinner and thought how she might be “the one.”

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Jun 282013
 
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What an absolutely amazing day!  And it’s only the first day of the International Positive Psychology Association’s Third World Congress!

It’s rather difficult for me to describe what it is like to (on these rare occasions) be with my own kind.  By this I mean that people really enjoy learning about Happiness from me in Happiness 101 but there aren’t other “faculty” to really talk to.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons I really enjoy teaching the class and public speaking – I just LOVE talking about it!

It started in the van ride from LAX to the hotel.  Four of us were there for the congress.  Now, regular (“normal”?) people usually need some sort of legitimate reason to strike up a conversation.  Not us!  Not when we’re in close proximity like that.  Suddenly I was among my people again.  People who completely get it.  There was Paula the school administrator from Rhode Island who is using positive psychology to bring hope to those just entering the job market.  Misa was the student from Washington state and figuring whether positive psychology will be her niche (she’s already got the bug, I can tell).  There was Evona who was of Polish decent (complete with the accent) using positive psychology as a business coach in Philadelphia.  Now, mind you, I was running very, very late for the pre-conference talk by Barbara Fredrickson.  I would never say something as blasphemous that I did not care about missing one of THE giants in positive psychology speak…. let’s just say that I was using Flow (a concept well established in the world of positive psychology) as an amazing distraction.  Paula, Misa, Evona and Frank.  Strangers only moments before.  Felt like family.

I truly was fabulously late for Dr. Fredrickson’s talk about genes and how they play a roll in Happiness.  Listening to people of this caliber is amazing and wonderful and also challenging.  I have a genius IQ.  I am a smart guy and I had to literally strain my brain to fully comprehend what she was sharing with us.  I could feel the vein in the middle of my forehead shudder and twitch as I strained to comprehend.  She was purporting that we are hard wired to strive for Happiness but not quite in the way we thought.  She compared Hedonic Happiness with Eudainomic Happiness.  Basically this was comparing the kind of Happiness in which we are only concerned with ourselves vs. the kind of Happiness we achieve when helping others – and why sometimes philanthropy (giving, volunteering) doesn’t bring us Happiness.  After it was over, she was mobbed much the way actors or rock stars might be.  I’ve had my picture taken with before and I was sure I would again before the Congress was over, so I decided to find my hotel – instead I found a friend.

with Patrea

with Patrea

Patrea and I met at the 2nd World Congress.  She is from Australia where she works as a Positive Psychology Therapist.  It was like finding the friend you made at Disneyland but only seems to materialize there AT Disneyland.  She is a wonderful person to share the experience the Congress.  We gabbed away and compared notes, excitedly asking one another which workshops we would attend (there will be 114 presentations in the four days – a lot to choose from!)   We also got caught up, like friends do.  I don’t think we stopped talking until the presenters started speaking.  Sometimes the talking was not necessarily to each other.  We would randomly strike up conversations with the nearest attendee.  Name badges tell your name and where you’re from.  Sometime geography alone was reason enough to talk to new friends.

 

 

Frank with "Mike" Csikszentmihalyi

Frank with “Mike” Csikszentmihalyi

Patrea is quite brash and she commandeered two seats right up front.  Aside from the reserved seats, they were literally THE best seats in the house!  Jane McGonigal (who uses positive psychology to create games to make the world a better place (see Super Better) breezed right by me.  I noticed that Mihay (“Mike”) Csikszentmihalyi (the father of the Flow concept) was only a few feet away – unguarded.  I asked for a picture and he graciously agreed and chatted for a moment.  Martin Seligman (the father of positive psychology itself) and Roy Baumeister talked for the majority of the Congress’ kick off.  I was truly blown away.  The concepts that these giants in positive psychology shared with us lead me to say the word “Wow!” and embarrassingly high number of times on my video immediately following.  They spoke eloquently and convincingly about:

How our language can indicate our negativity and accurately predict heart attack.  They were able to do this with scientific methods using a method called “coding” language on Twitter.  He also shared with us language that can make you more hopeful and optimistic – which according to their study will reduce the risk of heart attack!

Both Seligman and Baumeister both talked about the  science that demonstrates the importance of thinking about and conceptualizing a bright(er) future.  No future?  No hope.

 

More soon.  It’s after 2am.

Jun 112013
 
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Positive Psychology giant, Dan Gilbert advises in his book, Stumbling On Happiness, that when when one is unsure of what to choose, one should call for reinforcements; advice from others! There are SO many amazing lectures to attend at the upcoming International Positive Psychology Association’s 3rd World Congress, I’m not sure which ones to pick! So, I am inviting YOU to look over the schedule and make your suggestions. Of course if I go to the lecture you suggest, I will be talking about it at the upcoming Cutting Edge of Happiness talk (Saturday, July 8th, 9am to 1pm – click here for more info). Just look over the program in these following three pictures and leave your comments below – or you can also E-mail me at frank@saltlakementalhealth.com

IPPA Friday

 

IPPA Saturday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for all your help!

 

Frank Clayton, the Happy Therapist

Jan 232013
 
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It is easy to feel powerless against the recession. Headlines are rife with doom, and we have control of almost none of it: unemployment, the housing market and the national debt. In this constant stream of negativity, it is easy to focus on what we do not have control of and forget about what we do have control over.

How can one person feel worried sick while the next person is not? Why is one person depressed about the layoff while the next person is actually happy about it? The answer lies not in the circumstances but how we handle it.

I, myself, have been laid off during this recession, and I have struggled with depression and pessimism for most of my life (see “My Story: From Suicidal to The Happy Therapist“). Therefore I can deeply empathize with clients and students who tell me their story, which is usually peppered with words like “stuck,” “trapped” and “can’t.”

It is important to acknowledge sadness, hopelessness and worry. These feelings are not merely uncomfortable emotions — they are guideposts to feeling better; a divining rod to their belief system. In the very first class of Happiness 101, I tell students not to slap a plastic smiley face over their pain but to feel it and learn from it.

Positive psychology teaches that each emotion is feedback to us about our underlying belief system. It is here that we find choice and empowerment. For instance, if a man feels shame because he was swept away by the latest wave of layoffs, he might have an underlying belief like “If I am not providing for my family, I am a failure.” You will notice this belief statement leaves little room for extenuating circumstances — for instance high unemployment rates.

We do not have control over the world or national economy, but we do have control over our own belief system. In this example if the man replaced his belief with “As long as I am doing my best, I am okay,” instead of feeling shame, he might not only feel hope but possibly pride because his focus is on his efforts and not the outcome.

Whether suffering job loss, death of a loved one or a personal failure, we can always choose how we weather the storm. In his famous book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Nazi concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl wrote, “the last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

James Dean said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sail.” You might imagine that one person who believes he is helpless against the storm of the recession would have a very different feeling than the person who believes, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” (“Invictus,” William Ernest Henley)

After people have told their story and properly honored their feelings, they might be open to discussion about what they do have control over, rather than lamenting about what they do not. In the above example, this hard-working American had no control over being laid off. He can continue to apply for jobs but have no control over call-backs. He can do well in the interview but still not get the job.

Research has proven (Dan Gilbert, “Stumbling on Happiness”) that when people feel that they have no control, depression often follows. This is why it is important (at the appropriate time) to turn discussion toward what one does have control over.

In session, I challenge phrases like “I’m in a rock and a hard place,” “there’s nothing I can do” and “I am trapped.” Invariably I find that there are many choices — all at varying degrees of attractiveness.

For instance, the unemployed man might believe that his only option is to just keep applying for (local) jobs and pray that something comes through. When brainstorming, he might find several other options including: filing for bankruptcy, taking a job out of state, renting out the basement, filing for unemployment, asking for loans from friends, moving in with mom and dad and/or starting his own business. This man might find all of these options to be unsavory, but I have found that depression immediately begins to loosen its grip when we explore what is possible rather than lament over the lie that “there is no hope.”

We may not have control over the economy, but we do have control over our pessimism. If you believe that you are born pessimistic, I would like to point out that this too is a belief. Ironically if you believe yourself to be a born pessimist, you will behave accordingly, making no effort to change. Pessimism can not only poison one’s attitude toward braving the economic storm but it can adversely affect decisions that might have helped to pull you out of it.

For instance, if one says, “What’s the point in applying for the job? I’m not going to get it anyway” and he does not apply for the job, then his prediction comes true. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.” Hope is always a choice.

I have documented the progress of dozens of students and found that those who make the greatest progress are those who turn from hopeless to hopeful during the eight-week course. You can test your own level of optimism at www.authentichappiness.com and start improving your outlook by taking your cues from the father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, in his book, “Learned Optimism.”

Cultivating optimism is just one of 12 scientifically proven happiness activites suggested by Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book, “The How of Happiness.” Others include:

  • Expressing gratitude
  • Practicing acts of kindness
  • Nurturing relationships
  • Savoring life’s joys
  • Practicing religion or spirituality

Focusing on these activities (which you do have control over) will help you to feel empowered. Focusing on what you do not have control over will likely lead you to feel helpless and disempowered. There is much in this world over which we have no control — including the recession — but we always have control over our own positive attitude. The Nazis could not take it from Viktor Frankl. The recession can not take it from you. You always have a choice.

Frank Clayton, LPC

Jan 072013
 
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We are glad to announce that we are again accepting new clients. We accept most major insurance. Give our office a call between 11am and 6pm to schedule an appointment – 801-244-9049

Frank Clayton, LPC

Oct 212012
 
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Salt Lake Mental Health is no longer accepting new clients.  If you wish to be put on our waiting list, please call 801-244-9049
between the hours of 11am and 5pm.  If you have previously been seen by Frank Clayton, you may contact our office to discuss the possibility of returning.

The decision to temporarily suspend accepting new clients is to ensure that current clients are given the opportunity to be put on the schedule in a timely manner and to guarantee that each person is given the best therapeutic experience possible.  If you wish to be notified when we will be again accepting new clients, feel free to contact our office, or E-mail me directly at

If you are in crisis, please call the UNI Crisis Line at 801-587-3000

Frank Clayton, owner and president of Salt Lake Mental Health, Inc.

 

 

Jul 132012
 
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Saturday, September 15, 2012  2-5pm

Sugarhouse Park (1300 E. 2100 S.) Big Field Pavilion 

Utah has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.  Many people are not aware of this because people do not like to talk about it.  A big part of addressing the problem is to raise awareness and to educate.

The Happiness 101 team will be joining with thousands of people nationwide to walk in AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and we would appreciate any support that you give for this worthwhile cause.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of research, education and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. With more than 33,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. and over one million worldwide, the importance of AFSP’s mission has never been greater, nor our work more urgent.

Any contribution will help the work of AFSP, and all donations are 100% tax deductible.

Donating online is safe and easy!   Please click here to register or donate.

Thanks

Frank Clayton, the Happy Therapist

Proud member of the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition

Jun 122012
 
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In first-aid people are trained to be first responders.  In QPR, people are trained on specifically what to do when you a person admits that they are feeling suicidal.  Many people simply do not know what to do – anymore than they would know what to do if they had not received first aid training.

Suicide is a huge problem in the state of Utah and everyone pitching in to solve the problem is the way to go.  The more people trained in QPR, the more impact it will have on our state’s suicide rate.  Much more importantly, we can stop burying friends and loved ones.  As they say in the training, “suicide is the most preventable form of death” and now you can receive this training free of charge!

Join us for QPR /Suicide Prevention Training on Thursday, July 12, 2012 7-8:30pm at Kafeneio Coffeehouse (258 West 3300 South).  RSVP at our Facebook Event Page or via Meetup.com

Jun 102012
 
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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