A web of support
In light of this research, the Society and Genzyme,
a Sanofi company, have collaborated to create
Everyday Matters (
interactive program that tells the stories of everyday
challenges faced by people across the nation, and
uses positive psychology to help them address
those challenges head-on. As part of this initiative,
five individuals living with MS were selected to
receive personal support from Achor and life coach
Michelle Clos, who also lives with MS, in mapping
out strategies to achieve a personal goal or overcome
a challenge. Adams will produce stories about the
participants, and the videos will be available on
the Everyday Matters website through the end of
2012. The program will also offer free resources to
help enhance the outlook and well-being of anyone
living with or affected by MS.
For Adams, who had already begun following
Achor’s advice before joining the team, taking part
in the initiative is just another step on her own
path to happiness while living with MS. “If I tell
their stories well, everyone who watches the series
will be able to do it themselves. It’s great to be the
conduit for helping other people achieve a more
positive outlook.” n
Emily Wojcik is a freelance writer and college instructor
living in Northampton, Mass.
C’MON, GET HAPPY
Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, has a website,
thehowofhappiness.com, where visitors can take quizzes to assess
their own happiness, learn the latest research on the subject and download a happiness app to stay on
track. Her book, The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want (Penguin Books,
2008), outlines a dozen lifestyle strategies for boosting happiness. Get started with this handful, below.
Cultivate optimism: Imagine the best possible future for yourself, and write these ideas down in a journal.
Avoid overthinking and social comparison: Use strategies such as distraction to cut down on how
often you dwell on your problems and compare yourself to others.
Practice acts of kindness: Doing good things for others, whether friends or strangers, either directly or
anonymously, either spontaneously or planned, heightens our own happiness.
Get involved in activities that truly engage you: Increase the number of experiences at home and
work in which you “lose” yourself, and which are challenging and absorbing.
Replay and savor life’s joys: Pay close attention to life’s momentary pleasures and wonders—and
remind yourself of them through thinking, writing, drawing or sharing with another.
Take care of your body and soul: Engage in physical activity, and become involved in meditation, your
religion, or even spiritually themed books or discussions.