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What's Your Secret For Happiness?

To tell you the truth, my secret for happiness is PLAY and my favorite way to play is through children’s clinics designed for children and parents. This is where children and parents can gather and learn about emotional health. These classes are held regularly at our Lindon campus and periodically at our other satellite locations in Tucson and Tempe, Arizona, and in Logan, Utah.

These classes empower children to recognize heavy feelings and are designed to help children understand that they CAN do something good with their heavy feelings. Teaching children at young ages how to verbalize and reach out for emotional support can help them increase their emotional intelligence. Research shows that emotional/social Intelligence is an important part of raising healthy, happy children.

Being able to find happiness as a child or as an adult are important steps in mental/emotional health. We all want to feel positive emotions like feelings of contentment, safety, peace, and joy. And that universal demand for good “feels” is matched by an endless line of emotions that travel the neuropaths via technology, food intake, chemicals, entertainment, educational achievement, workplace promotions, travel etc. And yet, as rates of depression and anxiety increase throughout society, happiness has never been so elusive. It may be that we’re just doing it backwards.


Experts in psychology and experience management say that chasing happiness is almost always futile. They believe a better approach would be to build a meaningful life and let happiness find you. Happiness can be a byproduct of the journey. We are finding that we can create conditions that make enduring happiness more likely, from understanding brain chemistry to adopting daily practices that put you in the sweet spot for happiness to catch up with you.

Research says that obsessing over happiness tends to leave people more depressed and less happy. Brain J. Hill, an Experience Design and Management Professor at BYU, acknowledges that people who are self-focused are not usually happy. People looking for happiness in money, power, fame, pleasure, and comfort can only attain temporary satisfaction. We set ourselves up for disappointment to think that “I will be happy when . . .” A better pursuit, Jared S. Warren, a psychology professor at BYU, says is what the Greeks called eudaimonia, meaning “flourishing” or “the life well lived.”


Happiness is more likely when people do the things that support healthy brain chemistry by getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. People want the secret to happiness without recognizing the importance of laying the foundation that provides the bio-chemistry you need in your brain to be happy. It’s hard to think positively and function if you don’t take care of your body.

It is just as important to pursue positive healthy thought patterns. The brain is naturally on the lookout for potential threats and negative possibilities, which can cause undue stress and unhappiness. The brain is wired for surviving, not for thriving.

Our brain is on the lookout everywhere we go to back up whatever belief we are clinging to. If we believe that “I’m inadequate” or “incapable”, the brain’s on the job, searching for reinforcement and for proof.

Adapting olden-day instincts to modern-day realities takes conscious effort. And, when something goes wrong, thought patterns can influence how long and deep the drop in happiness will be. “Our minds are set up so that one bad experience reminds us of other bad experiences. It takes self-awareness and a certain level of consciousness to flip those negative belief systems. Some people are more optimistic and quickly return to seeing the bright side, while others-because of brain chemistry, reinforcement history, trauma or family patterns or a combination of all of these things . . . have a tendency to wallow. It’s more difficult and takes personal effort to get out of the bad mood. You can consciously override the automatic wallowing and tell yourself, “I’ve learned a lesson, and now I’m going to focus on positive things.”


Happiness isn’t a destination; it’s something that finds you along the way. Let joy find you even during periods of grief, or unresolved pain, or even in struggle. There can be shorter moments of joy along the way as well as longer periods of joy and happiness. Let’s make room for more joy in our lives and train our brain to focus on what is working. This is a more sustainable system for happiness, especially as we continue our own personal healing journey.

We can and should be modeling and inviting our children and adolescents to establish healthy habits for happiness and to aim for a life well-lived. Knowing what to focus on and how to manage heavy feelings in healthy ways is something we should all continue to embrace. Check out all of our services here at IHA, especially our online children’s curriculum and be sure to sign up for our Children’s Clinic on Saturday, March 4, 2023. Come join us and discover your “sweet spot” for happiness with lots of learning, creativity, and fun!

Loves always,



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