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Davis Journal

Find joy by working from the inside out

Sep 15, 2022 02:16PM ● By Becky Ginos

SYRACUSE—What brings happiness? Is it that great job or a 4.0 in school? Did that 4.0 student enjoy her experience in school? Tanya Garn believes society is measuring the wrong things to be happy. Garn is a Human Development and Life Enhancement Specialist who shared her insights on emotional resilience at the Davis Chamber Women in Business luncheon last week.

“I worked with a teenager that was so stressed out he could not enjoy school,” said Garn. “My neighbor’s daughter was a 4.0 student and went into nursing in college. I asked her what she likes to read and she said ‘I don’t read. I’m sick of reading. I did too much of it in school.’”

Students have contests where everything is based on misery, she said. “It’s not your GPA in school or your income. That’s not what makes people happy. That’s not measuring the good things like whether you enjoy learning or have job satisfaction.”

Most people work from the outside in, said Garn. “Outside in is a desperate attempt for validation. We need to work from the inside out to increase happiness and well being.”

Happiness comes first then success follows, she said. “We’re starved trying to find happiness and joy.”

Each person is born with a set point for happiness, Garn said. “Fifty percent is the set point, 10 percent is circumstances and 40 percent is intentional activities. Those things we have the most control over the more we can change the set point and circumstances.”

Garn said her friend’s little girl had a Tootsie Pop but then she threw it away before finishing it. “When they asked her why she said ‘because it has poop in the middle so I threw it away.’ It’s also like running on a treadmill. You can’t get what you really need – there’s no progress.”

There are five areas that have a profound effect on psychology, she said. “The first is an ‘I am statement,’ which is your feelings, emotions, behavior and being aware of your thoughts and having a belief mindset. Say ‘I am …’ followed by a positive or negative statement. Thoughts can make a big difference. Your body and mind believe everything you say – make sure it’s positive.”

The second is spiritual, said Garn. “Spirituality is different from religion. Religion can foster spirituality but you can have spirituality without religion. It has to be heartfelt though, not based on what others think.”

People who are addicted go to AA and profess their need for a higher power, she said. “Tune into that no matter how that looks for you.”

The third is physical, Garn said. “There is scientific data that what we do with our bodies affects happiness. Exercise not only changes your body but it gives you a happy gut. That changes your mind, your attitude and your soul.”

The fourth area is mental, she said. “Lifelong learning is important. You might think you’re done learning and don’t need it. Find your passion and purpose.”

Keep a gratitude journal, said Garn. “Write it by hand. Studies have found that kids who kept journals did better in math.”

The last one is social, she said. “Doing kindness increases happiness. Go to someone’s door and thank them for something they’ve done. Go out and serve. It’s so easy to complain. Take an experience that was painful or difficult and see how it benefited you. Say ‘I can handle hard things’ so I don’t have to worry about things that will happen to me.”

Garn showed a picture from the old TV show “Queen for a Day.” “They picked the woman who had the most troubles and gave her a crown and roses,” she said. “There are no crowns or roses in life for he or she who dies with the most stress. We’re always going to have stress. Sometimes it helps us do better.”

Be joyful and happy first, said Garn. “Give yourself permission to enjoy life. Women are changing the world and your daughters will do even greater things.” λ