How to find happiness? Katie Couric explored the pursuit of happiness today at Stanford University, California with a panel of experts in psychology, business, neuroscience and design. Fresh Dialogues was super happy to get a front row seat at the event.
Here's what we learned:
1. Adopt Happy People Habits
Look on the bright side, be grateful, exercise, eat well, invest in deep friendships and be authetic.
2. Embrace Good Stress
Sometimes short-term stress, for example appearing on a panel at Stanford, can be a good thing. Embrace it and don't let the fear overcome you. Remember Yoda: Fear is the path to the dark side.
3. Find Meaning in Your Life
Be a generous giver and do what makes you feel good (i.e. philanthropy, volunteering, giving back). Give the gift of an experience not things. (E.g. treat your wee nephews to a night at the Lion King Musical -- trust me, it's the best birthday present ever!)
4. Be Creative
Don't opt out of creativity in 4th grade! Nurture your small creative successes and you will have better ideas, confidence, tenacity and less insecurity.
5. Don't expect to be happy all the time
Happiness ebbs and flows through the day, through the months and years. It's OK to wallow for a while.
Finally, for parents: how to make your kids happy? Let them fail sometimes. The panel was unanimous on this one: being a helicopter parent, insisting on "everyone is a winner" can be counterproductive. Plunge them into new environments, give them challenges, and they will learn resilience and be happier in the long run.
Many thanks to Katie Couric and her excellent panel: Jennifer Aaker, Firdaus Dhabhar, Ian Goblib, Sonja Lyubormirsky, David Kelley.