Kicking off #LMA with Catherine A. Sanderson, Ph.D., The Science of Happiness. I know you won’t believe this, but I was skeptical walking into the program, but open-minded. Adored Catherine’s presentation (she has my sense of sarcastic humor) … you can find a version of it here.

So why should we care about happiness?

Happy people are:

  • less hostile
  • more productive
  • healthier (fight off colds, recover from surgery faster)
  • live longer

But we look for happiness in all the wrong places:

  • money
    • except for people who live under the poverty line
  • climate
    • FYI, living in California f***ing sucks
  • life events
  • children
    • parents experience more joy than non-parents
    • lots of stress from worry, heartache and stress


  • Men are happier when married. To anyone. But women need to be married to the right person. unhappily married women are less healthy than single women.

What does make us happy?

  • Behaviors
    • eating makes us happy (if it’s the right food — cake, chocolate, etc)
    • exercise
    • Related imageshopping
      • happiest when shopping for others (except for me, shoes make me happy)
    • nature (gotta admit, I’m happiest sitting on my mom’s front porch, on her country road)
  • Personality
    • your disposition
      • extroverts are happier (make friends easier, outgoing)
      • high self-esteem (can find the silver lining in any cloud)
      • optimists (they can find silver linings as well)
  • Friends
    • quality over quantity
      • get rid of the riff-raff of friends and focus in on the quality relationships
      • as we get older we prioritize the relationships … but we can do this at any age
      • the label on the relationship doesn’t matter
      • relationship just needs to be meaningful
      • the mere presence of a cell-phone automatically decrease the meaningfulness of the relationship

Three components of happiness

  • pleasure, but less important (ie, the glass of wine you had last night)
  • engagement (and anticipation)
    • such as planning a vacation
  • meaning
    • doing things that you find meaningful


  • Genetics accounts for 50% of our happiness. But the ability to adapt to our circumstances allows us to find happiness again, even under the worst circumstances.
  • It takes effort. We need to put effort into it and fight for it.

Top 10 strategies for increasing happiness

  1. change your behavior
    • exercise
    • spend time outside
    • meditate
  2. find your match (professionally, personally)
  3. read a book you love (for me, John Adams. Never wanted that book to end)
  4. keep a “gratitude journal”
  5. make a “gratitude visit”
  6. smile (even when you’re not happy)
  7. perform random acts of kindness
    • volunteer
    • donate to charity
    • give a gift (to anyone)
  8. spend money on the right things
  9. avoid comparisons
    • Fakebook
      • post honestly
    • We can choose the comparisons that we make
  10. build and maintain close relationships
    • if it wasn’t for LMA, would any of us be legal marketers?