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Interview with our Keynote, Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD

Keynote, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky

Keynote, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky

Advance LA is thrilled to welcome our Keynote Speaker, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D. to our 2015 Conference, The Science of Happiness: Purpose. Connection. Optimism. Grit.

Why is the scientific study of happiness important?
Most people believe that happiness is meaningful, desirable, and an important, worthy goal. Happiness is one of the most salient and significant dimensions of human experience and emotional life.  Not only does happiness yield numerous rewards for the individual, it makes for a better, healthier, stronger society.

Why Are Some People Happier Than Others?

I have always been struck by the capacity of some individuals to be remarkably happy, even in the face of stress, trauma, or adversity. My students and I have found that truly happy individuals construe life events and daily situations in ways that seem to maintain their happiness, while unhappy individuals construe experiences in ways that seem to reinforce unhappiness. In essence, happy individuals experience and react to events and circumstances in relatively more positive and more adaptive ways.

What Are the Benefits of Happiness?
Relative to their less happy peers, happy people in Western societies have more rewarding and longer-lasting marriages, more friends, higher incomes, superior work performance, higher community involvement, better mental and physical health, and possibly even longer life.

How does this apply to young adults with autism, learning differences, and ADHD?
Young adults with challenges who learn practices that increase their happiness will not only FEEL better (more tranquil, more joyful, more curious, more affectionate, more proud, etc.), but they are also expected to experience the same benefits of happiness as their typical peers.  For example, people who are happier smile more and are more likable and approachable to others – thus, generating more social support and making friends.  People who are happier are more productive and creative – thus being able to accomplish better whatever their goals are.  People who are happier have stronger immune function, thus getting sick less often.