“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”

Although Reese Witherspoon’s rebuttal in Legally Blond is filled with holes, I partially agree with her logic.  I feel like there are a many things that happy people just don’t do.  I am intrigued by happiness and living a purpose filled life.

When I am truly happy (not exhausted from seeking one thrill to the next, or a seemingly well-behaved smiling “Stepford wife”), I am amazed a how much I can give back.  As a result, I have been very proactive in finding and maintaining a true form of happiness.

I want to help people find their happiness.

America’s largest problem: According to a study reported on ABC news America is one of the top ranking nations for depression.  It’s almost baffling when you consider how blessed many Americans are with access to resources.  Unfortunately this access to resources, instead of making Americans happier, has made it easier for many individuals to become overindulgent, overweight and over-stressed.

English: Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Resized,...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs gives a systemized explanation for why those who have obtained his or her physiological and safety needs are now seeking belonging and self-esteem in the wrong places and in the wrong ways.

I had the opportunity at the YMCA to work with men and women in rehab.  We would provide a location that they could exercise which was a really helpful resource to their recovery.  Often times it was inspirational to be around these individuals as they regained hope; however, it was equally detrimental as some of them slipped back into their old habits.

I am grateful for recovery programs but would love to find a way to put them out of business.  Along the same lines I am grateful for the protection prisons provide us but I would like to put them out of business also; after all, “Happy people just don’t kill other people.”

Working with teens and children seems to be the appropriate time.  Working with the YMCA,  essentially putting prisons out of business was their aim.  Predominately the idea was that if we got children involved in “good” activities they would be less likely to participate in harmful activities.  Although I believe in the power of sports, camps and after school programs there seemed to be a component missing.  The irony is that many of our sports idols and celebrities are not known for living in a space of self-actualization.  I read a Rolling Stone article once that poked fun at how it was a hazardous to your health to be famous.  In a chart they tracked celebrity plane crashes, overdoses, trips to rehabilitation facilities, divorces, etc.  So if connecting a teen to a talent is not enough, what is?

 

The solution in progress:  Work with teens to develop self-esteem, a sense of belonging and help lead them to the road of self-actualization by teaching them principles found in Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence (service, empathy, optimism, etc.) and connecting them to their skill sets, talents and opportunities for service.

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