Want To Be Happier? Could It Be This Simple?

by drstephen

We all want to be happier.  Even the happiest among us want to be happier still.

Know this:  Harvard University is deeply engaged in the study of happy people.  They have teased-out the common traits and behaviors of the happiest people they could find.  Here are some of the high points:

1.  Use your strengths. It turns out that when we get to do things that come easier to us, we are happier. Humans like to be good at things. Remember that the next time that you apply for a job, encourage your child or ask your spouse to help you do something.

2. Savor the moment.  Apparently we needed research to tell us to stop and smell the roses. (Or at least I did.) As the world speeds-by, it seems that those who stop to appreciate how freakin’ fortunate we all are experience greater happiness. I’ll have to schedule that.

3. Engagement. Once again, the evidence frowns on multi-tasking. It seems that trying to focus on more than one thing at a time not only interferes with accuracy, quality, creativity, production and safety; it turns out that it robs us of our happiness as well.

Do this: Embrace the fact that it is not only what we do that matters, but how we do it.  Accept that your mind is a magnificent single-processor that blooms in the light of purposeful work; do something that allows you to express your natural virtues and engage in the splendor of the here and now.


Dr. Stephen Franson

Happy is the New Sexy

by drstephen


Want to be more attractive? Smile.

As it turns out, happy people are more attractive than sad, angry, stoic or confused looking people.

I don’t want to tell you how much money (and other resources) were invested to discover / prove this, but as it turns out, we are attracted to people who appear to be happy.

The scientist in me is compelled to double-click on the work attraction and unpack for you the logical explanation of this primal law.  I could write pages defending the notion that “happiness” conferred a reproductive or survival advantage to our ancestors…but need I?

(If you must…read here…and here)

Happiness wears many faces, but all of these faces are easy to read.

We know Joy when we see it.  We are wired to want more of it.  And we are driven to seek it’s source.

You can be its source. 

No perfume, sporty car or prestigious position can compete.

A smile is the magnet that pulls the strongest on the metal that we’re made of; but even more encouraging is the truth that smiles are always available and infinitely divisible. Give them away freely, you can always make more.

Happily (I am smiling.  I wish that I used emoticons, one would be useful here.),


Dr. Stephen Franson

Book of the Month: The Happiness Advantage

by drstephen

I am very “happy” to announce the launch of our long-awaited Bonfire Health Book of the Month Club!

The first book that we will feature is Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage.

In his Harvard University class by the same name; Shawn advanced the discussion around happiness and how it influences experiences and outcomes – and even predicts success.

What makes Shawn’s work unique is the over-riding narrative regarding the order of the happiness formula: Happiness first, and then success.

This flies in the face of traditional thought and intuition.  Most think that people are happy because they are successful in love, in school, at work, etc…as it turns-out; the experts had it backwards all along.

Achor takes the Wellness Paradigm to the field of psychology and turns it on its head.

He insists that better outcomes can be achieved for everyone if we expand our scope in healthcare beyond a limited focus on crisis care.  He suggests that when we study those “outliers” that are truly happy we can identify common behaviors that prime and promote the happiness that is clearly predictive of success.

And we agree with him.

Stay tuned for more this month on the Happiness Advantage.



Dr. Stephen Franson