The Happiness Advantage at Tel Hai

Teresa LongThis month, eight of Tel Hai’s leaders had the opportunity to spend time at the Leading Age PA annual conference held in Hershey, PA. LeadingAge is a trade association representing not-for-profit organizations that provide housing, healthcare and community services primarily to seniors.

Tel Hai has found value in participating in this organization. I had the opportunity to attend a preconference Executive Symposium on Tuesday and general and educational sessions Wednesday through Friday.

There were four general sessions; all of which the consensus were “winners.”  General sessions were presented by innovators, broadcasters, athletes and authors. One particularly resonated with me. On Thursday afternoon, we heard from Shawn Achor, author of bestseller, The Happiness Advantage. He is touted to be one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success.

Shawn shared that in our culture, we train people to look for the “negative.” With that being said, we can imprint the brain with a positive pattern if we do so intentionally. He reminded us that whatever we scan for first becomes our reality. We were reminded that with a proper focus only a couple minutes a day, we can change our predisposition.

He offered five concrete suggestions for impacting our level of happiness. These can all be heard in his fast paced and famous TED talk, “The Happy Secret…” One that stood out to me was to identify and record “Three items of gratitude” daily. Toward the end of the presentation two nuggets were gleaned: “Happiness is a choice” and “Social connection is the greatest long-term predictor of happiness.”

I was reminded to take time daily to reflect on at least three of the many things for which I am grateful and to make time for social connections regardless of how busy I might find myself. The long-term “Happiness Advantage” is worth the little effort of intentionality.

Teresa Long

Executive Vice President, Resident Services

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