Dr. Brian Inbody, Neosho County Community College president, spoke about the pursuit of happiness Thursday at Neosho’s Ottawa campus to a crowd of local female leaders at the quarterly Investing in Women luncheon. The event, which is jointly sponsored by Arvest Bank, Franklin County, Neosho, Walmart Logistics, the Ottawa Business and Professional Women organization and KOFO Radio, seeks to foster networking between female professionals.
Inbody, who was the first male speaker featured in the series, which is beginning its third year, explained the recent academic study of happiness, as opposed psychology’s typical study of depression.
Research shows happiness doesn’t come in the ways many people assume. Rather than money, beauty, materialism, youth, marriage, kids and situations being the key to happiness — much of what is inwardly focused — happiness instead is derived from being outwardly focused, Inbody said. Happy people devote a great deal of time to family and friends; express gratitude regularly, offer help to others often; are optimistic about the future; savor life’s pleasures and live in the moment; exercise regularly; are deeply committed to lifelong goals and “things larger than themselves” such as religion or causes. Happy people have the same things happen to them as everyone else, they just deal with them better using both poise and strength.
With those traits in mind, it’s no wonder that happy people excel at engaging with other people, finding meaning in life by being part of something bigger than themselves, finding pleasure in life and being delusional from an abundance of optimism. These people, no doubt, are surrounded by people because their happiness is contagious and people clearly become who they surround themselves with.
Having and creating positive relationships with other people leads to happiness, Inbody said. Behavior, such as kindness, gratitude and capacity for love, necessary to creating those positive relationships matter much more toward creating happiness than learning, curiosity, accomplishment or success. Being content and avoiding social comparisons is a good place to start creating happiness.
“Can’t nothing bring me down,” Williams sings in his popular song. Clearly those who want to be happy can be if they start by counting their blessings and recording them in a gratitude journal and committing acts of kindness for others. Those are great ways to build a community too.
— Jeanny Sharp,