Side Effects of “Happy Drug”…

“You are the most energized I have ever seen…”

That is what my husband told me a little over two years ago while I was planning my first fund-raising event.  My entrance into fund-raising arose from a comment I literally blurted out one day while overhearing Christopher Straub (local fashion designer and contestant on season 6 of Project Runway) talking with the owner of a clothing boutique in our city.  Christopher said “I think we should do a  trunk sale” and I immediately thought (it was one of those out loud thinking moments that I have),  let’s do it  in conjunction with a fund-raiser for Race For the Cure!”  Mind you,  I was not being asked to give an opinion or to even being involved (and to be totally honest,  I was in a dressing room… eavesdropping… ) but that moment was the start of creating my first event in raising funds for our local Race For The Cure!

My husband was so right… I don’t think I have ever been more energized and happier than when I was planning that event.  Getting local businesses on board to support the cause, finding breast cancer survivor models,  and knowing that we would be making a difference in creating awareness and support for finding a cure for breast cancer was the best happy drug that I could ever imagine ingesting!

Fast forward to today…

I am starting to plan for another fund-raising event.  This one is to support The Children’s Grief Connection… an awesome non-profit organization that allows school age kids dealing with grief due to the death of a loved one, to attend a free weekend long camp with other kids  who are also dealing with a death of someone close to them.

I am starting to feel the surge of energy and feel good side effects in contributing to others and focusing externally instead of on myself.  I am excited to start connecting with my local business community once again  (even though they are not yet aware that they will be getting involved…)!

What is it about helping others that creates happiness within us?

Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center in the Penn Department of Psychology and author of  Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being said it best: “Other people are the best antidote to the downs of life and the single most reliable up.”  In other words,  we find happiness by focusing on others in a positive way.  Dr. Seligman’s work in Authentic Happiness theorizes that there are five measurable elements  for well-being:

  1. Positive Emotion (happiness and life satisfaction)
  2. Engagement
  3. Relationships
  4. Meaning
  5. Achievement

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Human beings are social creatures… and as Dr. Seligman states, ” Very little that is positive is solitary”…

I urge you to do an exercise recommended by Dr. Seligman in his book Flourish:

“Find one wholly unexpected kind thing to do tomorrow and just do it.  Notice what happens to your mood” 

I would love to hear the results of your “exercise”!

5 thoughts on “Side Effects of “Happy Drug”…

  1. Hi Pat! I think that is awesome! I was wondering if you are involved with The Children’s Grief Connection weekend itself or just the fundraising aspect?

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    1. Hi Shannon! I am involved both as a volunteer too. I volunteered for the first time at our April camp and I am committed to being at all of them in the future! This is such a wonderful organization and if you are interested at all in knowing more about the camps, go to http://www.childrensgriefconnection.com – I think your girls would really enjoy the camp…a great way to acknowledge, cry, laugh and be understood because all of the kids are experiencing the same thing… Next camp is in November and I plan on being there in some capacity as a volunteer.

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    1. Shannon, you would be AWESOME in a volunteer capacity! I am so glad the girls are doing great, I thought as much when I read your posts. You are an incredible mom I hope you know!

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