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I genuinely hope you continue to celebrate the spirit and joy of the Season with your loved ones. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, this weekend’s Winter Solstice marks the day of the year when the light of the sun is the shortest. It’s the reason why all of humanity’s sacred traditions recognize and celebrate the “Inner Light” of the spirit that illuminates the world and radiates love during these dark days of winter. This is my Holiday blessing to you:

YOU ARE THAT BEACON OF LIGHT.
TOGETHER WE CREATE A BRIGHTER WORLD!

As my way of spreading more light into your life and the world, I’m thrilled to announce the official release of my new book:

Science of a Happy Brain: Thriving in
the Age of Anger, Anxiety, and Addiction
 

As you celebrate the Holidays, always remember to let your Light shine forth fully. It’s because of you the world becomes a brighter and happier place.

Happy Holidays,

Dr. Jay
Your Happiness Professor

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While you all seek to enjoy a “Happy Holiday,” let’s face it, the Holidays for many can generate unwanted stress and anxiety. During the Holidays 40% of Americans feel greater psychological and emotional stress. Do you know what the top Holiday stressors are?

Time and money!

It probably comes as no surprise that during the Holidays the pressure of buying gifts and the anxiety juggling commitments with friends and family can compound on to your already hectic life—leading to more anxiety and depression. But, there’s hope for the Holidays.

As outlined in my new book Science of a Happy Brain: Thriving in the Age of Anger, Anxiety, and Addiction,  the key to coping with Holiday stress is to remember where your real happiness resides—the quality of your relationships, the richness of your social bonds, and your greater purpose in life.

Your happiness isn’t measured by buying presents, but by being present with those who enrich your life with love, comfort, and joy. These are the real gifts in your life that allow you to find your “Happy” during the Holidays. Learn more at www.ScienceofaHappyBrain.com

Happy Holidays,

Dr. Jay
Your Happiness Professor

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So what do Albert Einstein, Paul McCartney and Emile Brontë all share in common? They all recognized the power of a creative mind and the importance of regular downtime. Many of the greatest achievements known to humankind from the Theory of Relativity to the greatest pieces of literature appear to have been Delivered in a Daydream. So how can letting our minds meander benefit us at school, work or on the field? More research on the brain affirms how regular afternoon naps, walks in the park or mini-meditations enhance productivity, boost concentration and augment memory. Enjoy these helpful tips on how your brain benefits from more fun and play in our popular blog series in the Huffington Post.

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NatureImageA growing body of research now believes the powerful idea that because humans evolved in nature our brains must also be wired to connect with nature. Do you ever wonder why spas, yoga studios and online meditation videos often play sounds of chirping birds, ocean waves, or soothing rain? It has to do with the remarkable concept that our brains are “naturally” happy and thrive in the great outdoors.

Alarming statistics indicate that American kids on average spend more time in front of a TV or computer screen (1,023 hours per year) than they do learning in school (900 hours per year).  The situation has become so dire that researcher and author Louv has appropriately coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” to capture the seriousness of the problem.

It is a curious sign of our times that even as young people are more adept in using Facebook, Twitter and the Internet than their parents or older relatives, they are also becoming more dependent on that very same technology to the point of social isolation.

Read more about the immense healing benefits of nature in my recent Huffington Post Blog co-authored with quantum physicist Menas Kefatos.

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like, follow, share word cloudAs our world becomes more connected via technology, we’re increasingly disconnected from people and our planet. We now live in an overconnected world where cell phones, the Internet, text messages, emails, tweets and broadcast media bombard us and consume our lives.
Research on brain and behavior concludes that we find greater happiness and joy in sharing experiences with others rather than receiving things. This groundbreaking research shows that our brain is a social organ. In other words, it’s designed to connect us with other humans.
Personal connections can serve as an antidote for many of the ills modern societies face, including isolation and entrenchment in ideas and habits. So, let’s make 2015 the Year of Connection!

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Twitter – docjaykumar

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Signpost "Emerging Markets"Happiness can be measured not only at a company level but a country level, and as everyone in business knows, you manage what you measure. National leaders and Economists are increasingly talking about measuring a country’s status with other metrics – even an airy concept like “happiness.”

Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK caused quite a stir in recent years by unveiling plans to measure national well-being by creating a National Happiness Index to provide quarterly measures of how people feel.

Many things of value in life cannot be fully captured by GDP, but they can be measured by metrics of health, education, political freedom, and such. So although the replacing-GDP discussion may seem a little abstract, its growing credibility in important circles could give it a real impact on economic policy. Boardrooms across the globe are also making efforts to use new metrics to measure overall success. So it would seem the concept of “Happynomics” is something worth exploring.

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Twitter – docjaykumar

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Business People Holding Bar GraphEmerging research from neuroscience, psychology, and economics makes the link between a thriving workforce and better business performance absolutely clear.  The bottom line is – a company with a happy workforce is a motivated workforce, which drives profits and company success.  Not only does happiness breed loyalty to the company, an individual’s happiness at work will create happiness throughout all areas of their life.

An annual review on employee happiness and satisfaction shows that the most content workers in the U.S credit their happiness to 10 key factors.  Work-life balance ranks highest, along with one’s relationship with boss and co-workers, the work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks, and job control over daily work.

Find out who the movers and shakers are on the list of America’s top 50 happiest companies honoring the top companies – as voted for by their own employees – dedicated to creating happier work environments.

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Twitter – docjaykumar

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friends at the funfairResearch indicates that in general, people are made happier by spending money with the intention of acquiring life experiences than by spending money with the intention of acquiring material possessions.  What does that mean, exactly?  The material possession, in other words, seems like a better investment. But when it comes to increasing our happiness and sense of well-being, research suggests just the opposite.

According to a growing body of social science research, the best way to increase the enjoyment, satisfaction and general happiness of your loved ones (not to mention office mates) is to give them real-life experiences.  All you need is a reasonable sense of what your intended gift recipients like (or might like) to do with their time. Depending on the gift-receiver in question, it could mean almost any kind of in-person activity, adventure, or escapade, from concert tickets to restaurant meals, from guitar or cooking lessons to museum or amusement park passes, from rafting trips to factory tours to island getaways. “The happiness we get from our experiences give us more enduring pleasure.”

So before you rush out to the mall to purchase the latest electronic gadget for the kids, or a new sweater for your great aunt, consider giving an experiential gift.  Even better if you are able to participate in the experience with your loved one!

Facebook – Dr. Jay Kumar
Twitter – docjaykumar

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Quote of the Week

“No external conditions are required for happiness. Happiness is who you are!” —Dr. Jay Kumar