“Unleashing Happiness” a monthly blog by Karen Lee Stevens

Founder and Director of Wellness Programs, Karen Lee Stevens shares her insights as she explores regular topics and experiences through the lens of mental health, wellness and the human-animal bond.

Karen Lee Stevens discusses Arthur Brooks' new book entitled Build The Life You Want

BLOG POST #5 – Come On, Get Happy

January 3, 2024

by KAREN LEE STEVENS

If you grew up in the ’70s like I did, you probably remember teenage heartthrob, David Cassidy. With his tousled hair, infectious smile, and soulful voice, Cassidy captured the hearts of millions of teenage girls, vis-à-vis Keith Partridge on the hit TV show, The Partridge Family. Every week, Cassidy serenaded viewers with the lyrics to the show’s theme song, Come On, Get Happy. I was beyond smitten by both the boy and the bubblegum music.

Fast forward five decades, and the word “happy” is getting its fair share of media coverage. Perhaps it’s due in part to the research of Harvard professor and happiness expert, Arthur C. Brooks, whose latest book, Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier shot to the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List. This timely tome delves into the science behind happiness, drawing upon cutting-edge research and real-life examples to provide practical guidance on how to cultivate greater joy and fulfillment in our lives. And when you think about it, who among us couldn’t use a little more joy in their lives?

(Side note for all you “O” fans out there: Brooks’s co-author is none other than TV titan, Oprah Winfrey.)

Karen Lee Stevens discusses the science behind happiness.

Happiness, Brooks says, is not just a fleeting emotion; it’s a state of being that many of us actively pursue. We all want to be happy, and in this search for joy, we often find ourselves exploring various avenues, from self-help books to mindfulness practices. And then there are those of us who entertain the notion that material possessions hold the secret to our bliss. Sorry to break it to you, but happiness doesn’t come in the form of a fancy sports car, an extravagant home, or a private jet.

Happiness, it appears, is brewed from engaging in the little things in life, which helps elevate our emotional state and fuels resilience, creativity, and overall happiness. Sipping a steaming cup of tea, sending a note of gratitude to a friend, or —my personal favorite — basking in the soothing presence of a beloved pet are examples of ways we weave together a tapestry of well-being. I’ll bet you can think of many other simple activities that bring you joy. When you actively seek out the small pleasures, it’s like flipping a switch in our minds, illuminating the brighter side of life. In other words: we’re happier.

Karen Lee Stevens talks about the science behind happiness.

Perhaps David Cassidy was on to something with his jovial jingle. Happiness, it turns out, is not a mysterious destination; it’s a joy-filled journey. It’s not about chasing an elusive feeling, but about actively engaging in thoughts and activities that contribute to a life that aligns with our values and brings us fulfillment.

So, as we follow a path toward a happier life, let’s remember the somewhat sappy song by a ‘70s heartthrob and the words of a contemporary happiness guru. Let’s come together, get happy, and build lives filled with joy, gratitude, and the simple pleasures that make each day a brighter, happier journey.

Karen Lee Stevens discusses the science behind happiness.

Questions, comments? Contact Karen@TherapyDogsSB.org

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