Thank you for attending the MARPAC Health and Wellness Strategy’s Speakers Bureau with Dr. Frederick Voon

Free download for personal use

Please enjoy a copy of “Your Inside Guide to the Emergency Department–And How to Prevent Having to Go!” as my thanks to you.

—Dr. Fred Voon

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Notes and References

Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind.

Hardwiring Happiness,” R. Hanson.

  • Negativity Bias
  • “Velcro for the Bad. Teflon for the Good”
  • “Neurons that fire together wire together”
  • “By taking just a few extra seconds to stay with a positive experience… you’ll help turn a passing mental state into lasting neural structure” – Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

Neurons Connecting video

Happiness Hack #1: Savoring.

  • “The Banquet is in the First Bite” –Michael Pollan.
  • My challenge to you:  take a deep smell of every bite of food for one meal.  It won’t cost you any extra time or energy.
  • Is there anything else in your life that you enjoy, that you perhaps rush through a little bit, that you can EXTEND and enjoy longer? 

Happiness is actually composed of 3 separate and measurable things: Pleasure. Engagement. Meaning. — Martin Seligman, Ph.D.

“Subjective well-being as a combination of High positive affect, Low negative affect, High feelings of life satisfaction” — Mogilner, C., Whillans, A., & Norton, M. I. (2018). Time, money, and subjective well-being.

Happiness Hack #2:  Spend a few minutes thinking about what gives you meaning in your life.  In what ways at work/home are you already engaging?  Can you notice even small moments of pleasure? My challenge to you:  write it down. Then put it somewhere you can look at what you wrote later on.

Lyubomirsky S. (2013) The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does.

  • Happiness Pie: It is comprised of 3 main things
  • 1:  Genetic Set Point. Born, innate, changes little over lifespan   (50%)
  • 2:  Circumstances. Where you live, won awards, married, good job.  (10% Only!)
  • 3:  Intentional activities. Things you do and how you think in your day-to-day life. (40% Under your control!)

5 Year Reflection Book, “One Line a Day”


Dr. Laurie Santos, Yale Psychology professor

Ebbinghaus illusion. Cornsweet Illusion. Image credit Dale Purves.

Dunn & Norton. (2013)  Happy Money:  The Science of Smarter Spending.

  • People who spent money on OTHERS were measurably happier than those who spent money on THEMSELVES.
  • Dunn et al. (2008) Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science.


  • Happiness Hack #3:  Choose Experiences OVER Things. 


  1. Fixate on an ANCHOR sensation
  2. Get DISTRACTED by thoughts
  3. RECOGNIZE (Meta-Awareness)
  4. REFOCUS Attention

Happiness Hack #4: 54321 – 5 Senses Scan – Things you SEE / HEAR / FEEL / SMELL / TASTE an 8-week, once-a-week course called “Art of Living Mindfully,” a guided group led by a physician, and covered by MSP.

CBT Skills Cognitive Behaviral Therapeutic skills and practice. Similar time commitment and participation, different focus, complementary.

Happiness Hack #5: Get an APP. My favorite, best bang-for-your-buck is Buddhify.

Further Reading / Listening

Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness: A scientific approach to getting the life you want.

Hershfield et al. (2016) People Who Choose Time Over Money Are Happier. Social Psychological and Personality Science

Beyond the hedonic treadmill: revising the adaptation theory of well-being. E. Diener, R. E. Lucas, C. Scollon

The psychology behind why few of us feel rich, CBC News

Greater Good Science Center / Greater Good in Action 

How to Eat – by Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness for Beginners Audio CD – by Jon Kabat-Zinn Ph.D. (Author)

Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan, Daniel Goleman, Jon Kabat-Zinn