The REAL reason I created HUGS (video)

Awright everybody. I’ve got a little secret I’d like to share with you.

The whole purpose of this HUGS business is to teach you how to be happy — now, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.

Yeah, I know, it’s real sneaky of me to couch it all in terms of ‘success!’ and ‘fun!’ and ‘kicking ass!’ and ‘academics, extracurriculars, social life and logistics!’, but there it is.

This is necessary because there were times when I (and Michael) were reaaal unhappy at college. I mean the pits. The kicker is that we knew people who were even worse off than us. Craziness. And frankly, we just don’t want that to happen to you.

And lemme tell you something: nobody bothers to teach you at school what goes into being happy (not even at Harvard, ahem).

So I’ve got a special treat for you. A little while ago, I met Prof Sonja Lyubomirsky, UC Riverside Professor of Psychology and author of The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want, at a talk she was giving here in LA.

Turns out she’s a Harvard and Cabot House grad (like yours truly), so she was kind enough to agree to a one-on-one interview on her fabulous book (see the part with all the cool foreign editions).

There have been a number a number of excellent books on happiness published in the past few years, and I have devoured nearly all of them. Not only do I use their principles to help my students and hypnotherapy clients lead happier lives, but I also enjoy applying the principles to my own life. The books are also fun to read, with accounts of quirky psych experiments (which some day you’ll be volunteering for at William James Hall for $20) and fun, touching anecdotes.

The How of Happiness is one of the best of the happiness batch. Amongst all the happiness texts I’ve read (and there have been about 8), this one I found to be the most practical in its ability to increase real happiness in your life.

This is because of Prof Lyubomirsky’s judicious use of questionnaires and the Person-Activity Fit Diagnostic, which figures out which activities end up creating the most happiness for you. The results for me were somewhat surprising and allowed me to focus more of my time and energy on the activities that, unbeknownst to myself, meant the most to me.

I recommend everyone, young and old, to get a copy of The How of Happiness for yourself and someone you love (eg mom & dad). There is no greater gift than enabling “the experience of joy, contentment or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful and worthwhile.” So go forth and be a happiness enabler.

In Part 1, we talk about how the book can help you custom-design your own happiness program. We also discuss savoring, flow, and 2 of the 3 happiness myths. As you watch the videos, do show signs of life by rating them and leaving comments. And if you find the material useful for your friends, be sure to share with them via Facebook and Twitter so everyone benefits from the good word.

In Part 2, we finish up the happiness myths, get into hedonic adaptation and the infamous story of Markus and Roland.

Get your copy of The How of Happiness on Amazon

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