Happiness: Sustainable strategies to increase life satisfaction


Dean E. Barley instructed Education Week participants on how to achieve “flow” and increase life satisfaction Thursday morning in the Harris Fine Arts Center.

Flow is achieved when stress meets abilities, he explained. Barley also emphasized the importance of children achieving flow.

“They’ll have more success, go to college, and have deeper social ties,” he said.

[media-credit name=”Stephanie Rhodes” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Dean E. Barley teaches a class on sustainable strategies to increase life satisfaction Thursday morning in the Harris Fine Arts Center.
Getting into flow often means using signature strengths and talents, he said.



“Examples of flow can include any project at home or work that calls their attention and utilizes their strengths,” he added.


Signature strengths and virtues are one way to achieve flow, Barley said. “When I’m using my signature strength there’s an excitement and joy.”

Barley explained that if one of your strengths is curiosity then one way to increase flow could be to explore a new place or a new hobby, especially with a loved one.

He counseled to use strengths creatively in work, play, relationships, and in worship.

Another way to increase life satisfaction is to savor things, Barley instructed. He said, “We need to relish the current moment and appreciate the present.”

“A key to savoring is to pace and vary our activities,” Barley said. Another key to savoring the moment Barley mentioned was to share experiences with another person to maximize the event.

Another way to savor thing, Barley said, is anticipation. He explained that it was healthy for minds to look forward to an event, and that it even lightens moods. He said it’s healthy to look back at the event later and reminisce. He said, “Journals are good, taking pictures are good.”

Barley encouraged people to imagine a free day and plan it hour by hour.  He said people should give themselves permission to take personal time. “People often just start to smile when they think of it,” he said.

“I want you to get into your flow by using signature strengths and meaningful activities,” Barley said.

He then turned to the topic of gratitude. “Gratitude is all about seeing things,” he said. “I’m going to invite you to see the world a little differently today.”

Acknowledgement, recognition and appreciation were the words Barley used to define gratitude. He explained that these things connected people. “By gosh does it improve relationships,” he said.

Make a commitment to write thank you notes, Barley encouraged. He said, “Make it a habit to say thank you.”

“We really take for granted the things that we have,” he said. He had the audience think about the things they had today and how most people through mortality had never experienced that.

He encouraged the audience to think about those people who have interacted with their personal belongings, from builders, miners and inventors to sales people.

“We are connected by our service to one another,” he said. He explained how all those people have dreams and families. “Lets make sure we are no longer invisible to each other anymore.”

Barley then turned to being grateful within worship. He said, “We live in a day and age when we have the fulness of the gospel. Are we thankful? Hopefully there’s a warm feeling saying yeah, we really are grateful and blessed.”

Lets savor our blessings, Barley said, and “We may see things that were invisible to us and enjoy life more fully.”

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