Blog Section

The Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness

Does this title seem cheesy?  Well, it is legit!  Over the last 15 years the science of happiness is a serious area of study with validated research supporting it.  Among the findings are:

1-The brain can be changed. The scientific term for this is “neuroplasticity” meaning you can teach the old brain new tricks.

2-We can train our brain like a muscle, by adopting new thought patterns that can rewire negative thoughts.

3-All of us are hard wired for negativity (blame evolution!) so we all need to learn new ways to react and deal with everyday stresses.

4-Re wiring the brain does not take a lot of effort!
A few simple things will go a long way to change sadness into happiness.

As a therapist, I am always looking for new tools that support my 5 main treatment goals for clients:

1) Conquer negative thoughts, 2) Gain confidence, 3) Boost optimism, 4)Reduce Stress and last: Improve Relationships.  Don’t these 5 ares cover most everything?
One tool I have discovered to be very helpful is the website happify.com.  This website is amazing and has helped many of my clientele gain daily tools to manage stress as they sign up for daily happify, a video, quote, story or exercises that sets the mood for your entire day. What I love about this website is it is run by Positive Psychologists, Mindfulness coaches and other PHD level professionals that use research to instruct online users HOW to achieve overall balance and happiness. In addition, they offer ways to track your happiness but implementing a test every 2 weeks that measures your happiness. As a therapist, I endorse this fantastic website and find  it to be a great supplement to weekly therapy.  Most of the methods are based on DBT, (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) which is a evidence based therapy with practical methods that work fairly quickly. Check out happify.com today and understand how “Happiness is Winnable”. Best part is it is free!

More

A New and Innovative Way of Treatment

Wasatch Family Therapy Idea

Cindy sat in my office, seeking relief from the intense psychological anguish that she had been experiencing for the several months since having survived a fatal head on collision with an SUV. The driver of the other vehicle was intoxicated, swerved into Cindy’s lane of traffic and impacted her vehicle head on. That driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Since that time, Cindy had been experiencing insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks and difficulty functioning – classic symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

From a neurological stand point, her brain was essentially “stuck” in a primitive survival mechanism known as “fight or flight” – a protective measure that is designed to identify a dangerous situation and put the entire system on the defense at warp speed, all in an effort to ward off any threat to survival. Fight or flight is a mode of defense that operates on a “better safe than sorry” mentality. In Cindy’s case, even though the threat to her safety had ended months ago, her system was still stuck in that defensive posture “just in case” the threat, or anything like unto it, resurfaced. Although Cindy understood on a rational level that the threat had long since passed, her neurology was reluctant to let it’s guard down in the event that there was a mistake and the danger had not really passed.   Scenes from the event were relived again and again in her mind because literally that memory had been loaded into her neurological network in a manner that caused the rewind button to be continuously pushed by anything in her environment that even slightly resembled the near fatal accident – riding in a moving vehicle, the sound of a car’s engine, sirens in the distance, flashing lights, etc….

More