Imagine this open letter to the universe:

Dear Happiness,

Where are you? As I look around the world, isolation and despair rule. People are suffering and finding solace in drugs and suicide. We are driving ourselves crazy as wars rage, the earth weakens and stalemates drive political and personal wedges between us. People live on 4×3 inch screens and thirst for deeper meaning. Am I more than my digitized real estate on social media? Is there a future and a place for me to feel relevant? Can you help?

In the words of Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schultz, “The Doctor Is In,” or in this case, the Happiness Doctor is in. His name is Dr. Jay Kumar and yes, he’s making house calls. A specialist in the field of brain science, behavioral health and happiness, Dr. Jay has written a new book called Science of a Happy Brain. It offers a very practical understanding of how our brains work and how we can live a happy life. If the open letter hit a chord and you want to chart a course for happiness, read on.

Dr. Jay is a renowned public speaker and thought leader on happiness. He shares his personal journey and the convergence of “empirical scientific knowledge and experiential spiritual wisdom” in his latest book, a most welcome one in a world hungry for answers to complex and desperate questions.

As the Director of Contemplative Practices & Well Being at Chapman University in California where he lectures and teaches the highly popular happiness course, Dr. Jay’s practical knowledge and the applicability of his work are put to the test. You know, for example, that when he talks about happiness in the context of love and spiritual strategies, his study of world religions and experience with Buddhism offer actionable insights (or Golden Rules, as he calls them) alongside his neurological understanding of what makes for a happy brain.

Of course, Dr. Jay is not alone in the rising popularity of happiness courses for students hoping to treat depression, addiction and stress. Dr. Laurie Santos who teaches courses at Yale University on the science of well-being and happiness is garnering attention, as have many of Oprah’s go-to thought-leaders. One of her favorites, Brene Brown, talks about happiness and the power that comes from embracing our insecurities.

Why Dr. Jay is Unique

Dr. Jay’s holistic approach to happiness will help people discover what his students already know. Not only does Dr. Jay address the root causes of unhappiness, but he provides a comprehensive recipe for rewiring our brains that draws on holistic personal and professional experiences and data.

First and foremost, Dr. Jay sees happiness as an ongoing pursuit. It is a direction and not a destination. I couldn’t agree more. I know I am in good company with well-known transformational leaders like Deepak Chopra who are already cheering Dr. Jay’s expertise in Science of a Happy Brain.

Dr. Jay’s previous book Brain, Body, and Being laid the foundation for his studies. It examined how one’s thoughts, feelings, actions, attitudes and behaviors can physically alter your brain structure, whether for better or for worse. Following this first release in 2015, Dr. Jay created a more formalized approach for gathering research and findings by co-founding the Applied Brain Science Research Institute (ABSRI). It is “an international organization that explores the dynamic intersection of science, spirituality, and society in order to advance solutions for critical issues facing our contemporary and complex world.”

What does this mean for people like you and me?

Happiness is about finding the intersection of economics, science, politics, culture and religion. Science of a Happy Brain brings hope to a world in crisis, and a generation discovering where enduring happiness resides. Essentially, we can’t know happiness without asking about the meaning of life, why we behave the way we do or what really matters to us.

This makes sense and Dr. Jay’s personal examples, like the death of his mother from suicide while he was in his mid-twenties, do two things: they illustrate the growth that can come from understanding, and they speak to his courage and commitment to helping others.

The personal epiphany for readers who follow his train of thought is both compelling and enlightening. Anyone who has tried to develop new habits and understand old motivations realizes that knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things.

The Path to Happiness

The first five chapters of Dr. Jay’s new book explain our human need for seeking happiness.

To read on, follow the remaining story in our WS BLISS feature on Dr. Jay’s groundbreaking work in our collected stories HERE or visit our January BLISS issue HERE.

Better yet, purchase Dr. Jay’s book HERE. It’s the perfect gift to yourself or another, for shaping a happier self.

 

Rose McInerney

Author Rose McInerney

Rose combines her love of all things artfully-designed to connect women to a shared community of learning and a richer, more fulfilled self. As a passionate storyteller, published writer, and international traveler, Rose believes women can build a better world through powerful storytelling.

More posts by Rose McInerney

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