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

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Positive #2: Cesar Millan – The Dog Whisperer.  Today we watched a Dog Whisperer marathon.  Lots of gems.  Of a dog with a bum leg, he said that a dog does not feel the pain of a handicap from a physical disability.  Their disability is mental and caused but when you don’t allow the dog to be a dog. The other interesting thing was that there was usually nothing “wrong” with the dog but with the owners behavior or misinterpretation. Very interesting.

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I did Kung Fu for 7 years. This was here in Salt Lake but before I became the Happy Therapist. Today I went back at the age of 47. I noticed a LOT of changes in my attitude. I used to run myself down for not doing things perfectly or for not doing as well as others. Today I was genuinely proud that I showed up and stuck with it. I remember I used to beat myself mercilessly in my head just when I needed to encourage myself. Today I found that I not only had optimism during the hardest moments but actually a sense of humor! Today I am eternally grateful to Positive Psychology and how it has truly changed my life.

Frank Clayton LPC

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I am SO excited! For the first time ever, I will have an on-site employee that will take care of everything! It will be wonderful that clients will be met with a warm smile and a cold drink. Paperwork will just magically disappear. Angela is friendly, efficient and a self-starter. It seems that she is very excited about working with the Happy Therapist too. Thanks to Shawn Achor‘s book, the Happiness Advantage, I know a lot of techniques to make working with me a, well, HAPPY experience! Welcome, Angela!

Frank Clayton LPC

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One of the things I love about being the Happy Therapist is that when people find things related to Happiness, they think of me and they share them with me. Case in point, one of my rockstar students from Happiness 101, Valeri Hardy Lewman brought this video to my attention. It shows one of my favorite new authors, Shawn Achor, explaining The Tetris Effect . I want to point out that we can train our brain to automatically seek out either positive or negative – which will you choose?

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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I am so glad about the way our car broke down.

My wife and I drove south to Sedona on the day before Thanksgiving to rendezvous with my mother-in-law.  Just after Kenab, the battery warning light came on the console of my wife’s Saturn Vue – which is a hybrid.  I predicted that the light would go out within 5 minutes.  I was wrong.  The owner’s manual advised to service the vehicle as soon as possible.  The next town was Page, Arizona.  Another 20 miles down highway 89, another warning light came on – this time brining into question the working order of the brake system. By the time we saw the lights of Page, electrical systems were shutting down one at a time.  As we came down the hill to Page, when my wife applied the brakes, the headlights, rear lights and all lights inside the vehicle (including lights on the console) flittered out.  When she released the brakes, the lights came back on.  Of course, going down a hill, brakes are more important than lights. We came to rest on the 89 and the corner of a main intersection.

Now, being the happy therapist, you might think that I just whipped out my optimism and said “No problem”, right?  Well, not exactly.  One of the first things I teach in Happiness 101 is to be real and acknowledge how you actually feel.  I was disappointed and concerned.  There were some real challenges that needed to be addressed: What is wrong with the car and how are we going to get to Sedona?  Another thing I teach in Happiness 101 is that happier people are more likely to see solutions to problems and look for things that are going right, rather forecasting doom.

The first thing I found myself grateful for: the fact that we had cell phone service.  My wife and I immediately began exploring our options.  We remembered that we had AAA AND my wife remembered that our car insurance covers towing.  I called AAA and she called the car insurance company.  10pm the night before Thanksgiving and agents answered at both agencies – something else to be grateful for – and they were both nice!  Insurance would cover $100 of towing.  AAA would cover 100 miles of towing and had “trip interruption coverage” – which meant they were willing to pay up to $1,000 of reimbursement for anything that might help us get back on our way, including hotel stays, meals and rental car!   ‘Lots of good news, but we were still stuck beside the road…. Well, I was going to say “in the middle of no where” but anywhere north or south of Page was the REAL “middle of no where”.  By comparison, Page was a thriving metropolis.  Boasting a population of 9,000, luckily one of those residents was a tow truck driver.  While  we waited, my wife and I counted our blessing.  While chilly, temperatures were tolerable – a real blessing because we had no heat at all.  Another blessing was that “civilization” was only a short walk to the Radisson Hotel.  Our vehicle was also well lit, so there would be less likely that we would be hit.  We were also thankful that we had our cell phone because they also doubled as flashlights.  I was especially thankful that I had thought to charge mine shortly before the car trouble began.  We were also very appreciative of the couple that stopped to make sure we were okay.  There was a real reassurance in that small gesture that helped us during those long minutes.  The thing I was most grateful for was the partnership of my optimistic wife.  While she did express concern about the vehicle, she was quick to point out how lucky we were to be in Page and how bad things might have been had the brakes gone out on a steep leg of our trip.  We were grateful that we were able to travel with our vehicle in the towtruck to Flagstaff.  We appreciated the tow-truck driver, B.J..  A friendly fellow who made good conversation – one who talked but did not talk TOO much.  He was warm and when we thanked him for rescuing us on Thanksgiving eve, though he has a wife and daughter, he assured us with a nice “it’s all part of the job” response. We were glad that BJ recommended taking the car to a dealership that would be properly equipped to deal with the problem.  It was also directly across the street from a nice hotel – and they had an opening!  The staff there greeted us with warmth and expediency, recognizing the harried look of two worn holiday travelers.  They even gave us the late check-in discount.  I think they were just showing mercy on us when it was needed the most.  The warmth of the hotel bed was a welcome and a stark contrast to the chill of the roadside breakdown.

My wife woke me gently after the Jacuzzi tub washed away any traces of negativity from our predicament.  She announced that my mother-in-law would arrive to pick us up in a matter of minutes.  Upon checking out, the morning staff offered the very first “Happy Thanksgiving” greeting of the day with a genuine note of warmth.  I remembered how lucky I am to live in such an amazing place: where there is warmth and care and good people ready to lend a hand.  I thanked both of the women at the front desk for working on a holiday and they verbalized their appreciation for acknowledging this.  After all, they have families and friends too.  Were no one willing to work, there would be no warm, safe hotel to offer haven.  Moments later, the smile and hug of my mother-in-law felt like the crossing of a great finish line.  The race not about car repair, but  about giving thanks – and I won.

Frank Clayton, the Happy Therapist

 

 

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Published on KSL
Let me start by saying a person should never, never, never go off their medications without talking to their prescriber. It is dangerous and potentially lethal.

According to the Behavioral Risk-Factor Surveillance System, Utah is currently the happiest state in the union. It is also one of the saddest. Utah sits right in the middle of the “suicide belt,” which stretches along the Rocky Mountains from Wyoming and Idaho, through Utah and Nevada and down to Arizona and New Mexico. As of 2008, the mortality rates gathered from the U.S. census indicated that Utah ranked ninth in the nation for suicides. In September 2010, the Utah Department of Health declared that Utah was the fourth greatest consumer of antidepressants in the nation with 12.71 percent of residents being prescribed antidepressants.

The problem is that these medications do not work on most of the consumers to whom they are prescribed. Continue reading Antidepressants don’t appear to work for most Utahns

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Jonathan Glick brought gratitude stones to our party last night (the perfect thing to bring to a party of the Happy Therapist, right?). It sparked some great conversation and gave us more ways to recognize and be reminded of our blessings. Thanks Jonathan 🙂

~Frank Clayton, the Happy Therapist

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