WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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happiness to others, which is especially disconcerting when 76 percent of Americans answered "yes" to the 2013 TIME magazine poll ques- tion: "Do you believe that on their social media profiles, other people make themselves look happier, more attractive, and more successful than they really are?" Fortunately, social scientists attribute only 10 percent of our happiness to our environment, with 50 percent coming from our genetic make-up and the remaining 40 percent from our intentional choices. Yes, indeed, we can choose happiness. Coach Susan Peppercorn recently earned her certification as a Positive Psychology Coach under the guidance of a leader in the movement, Tal Ben-Shahar, former Harvard professor of the wildly popular Positive Psychology course and current Chief Learning Officer of the Whole Being Institute. Ben-Shahar defines positive psychology as the scientific way to study happiness, focusing on individual and societal flourishing—on cultivating happiness, strengths, self-esteem, and opti- mism. He contrasts the relatively new discipline with traditional psy- chology, which he believes focuses too much on pathology, alleviating neurosis, anxiety, and depression. For nine years, Peppercorn has been working with organizations to improve team effectiveness and professionals to manage career transi- tions. With her new training, she recently launched "Work Happier," a coaching practice to help clients crystallize satisfying career options Are We Happy, Yet? 82 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 The happiest person in America Gallup recently conducted a national survey of thousands of individuals from every state to find out which people in America are the happiest. After crunching the numbers, they created a statistical composite of the happiest person in the country. He is a tall man, 65 years or older, a resident of Hawaii, married with children, owns a business, and is Asian-American and Jewish. Could this man really exist? Gallup went out in search, and guess what? They actually found him! Meet Alvin Wong, a Chinese-American, Kosher-observing Jew, owner of a health care management firm in Oahu, with a wife and two kids. Asked if he is indeed happy, Wong replied, "My life philosophy is, if you can't laugh at yourself, life is going to be pretty terrible for you." M E D I A B A K E R Y 080-088_WWMa14_science of happiness_v3_WellesleyWeston Magazine 2/1/14 4:20 PM Page 82

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