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Happiness is
Our Business

Society teaches us that happiness is a result, something you achieve or gain through accomplishments.

But a growing body of scientific research shows the opposite. Happiness is a state of mind, an attitude that can be nurtured and nourished regardless of external factors.

In fact, science demonstrates that people who are happy first are more successful later on: they have more energy and show more passion. And their enthusiasm is contagious. This is the foundational idea behind ABSRI: happiness matters now.

We unleash the passion of individuals, teams, customers and others by helping them put happiness first. We harness happiness to make a difference in lives, in businesses—and in the world.

Friends DrinkingOne of the most powerful human drives is the primal need to belong! Just as there exists a biological need for sleep, food, shelter, and sex; the deep drive for connection is a strategy for survival. Your brain evolved into a social organ that is nourished by being part of a community. In the absence of connection, your body goes into stress—literally! More research into the social brain reveals that one of the root causes of anxiety, social strife, and even political unrest in today’s world is the devastation felt of being unneeded and devalued by our tribe. Cutting edge research in brain science affirms a timeless spiritual truth—the antidote for anxiety is acceptance! Feeling needed nourishes your social brain. We hope you enjoy this beautiful piece by His Holiness the Dalai Lama that explains why this is so true.

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boats-and-towers“Housewives, workers who do windows, we had executives. And the thing that was the best, everyone helped everyone…I was compelled [to act], as I’m the type of person who can’t stand by and watch other people suffer. And to me they were suffering. They wanted to get off the island. And there was no way for them to get off the island, other than the water.” These are the heartfelt words of Captain Vincent Ardolino describing his bravery and courage on 9/11 as he took part in Operation Boatlift. For those unfamiliar with this event, it is the heroic tale that transpired in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers. Operation Boatlift is the largest known naval evacuation to have taken place in history.

What makes Operation Boatlift so powerful is that without even any hesitation or consideration for their own safety, Ardolino and over a hundred civilian captains instinctively knew what had to be done. Ardolino and his fellow “Boatlifters” from the greater New York metropolitan area organized an impromptu fleet of volunteer ships with one goal in mind—to evacuate the hordes of stranded survivors from the carnage. Why did they act? To save their tribe!

As we commemorate 9/11, we are reminded of humanity’s timeless power and enduring resilience that manifest the moment we become a tribe. Operation Boatlift is a social snapshot that illuminates wisdom advanced throughout the ages and reveals a forgotten secret about our common humanity. In times of tragedy and in moments of strife there exists an evolutionary drive for us to rush to the aid of others—our tribe. Tribe is the backbone of every society. Without our tribe, we perish. Tribe makes sure that we survive and thrive! You’ll know exactly what I mean by watching this powerful video!

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Hurricane HarveyIf there’s one powerful lesson that the tragic events unfolding from Hurricane Harvey teach us, it is this: When Mother Nature shows Her worst, humanity shines at its very best! Despite the hatred, divisiveness, and polarizing politics that we’ve witnessed the past few months in America, there exists a primal drive in times of crisis to become a tribe. Tribe is an evolutionary product of our social brain—the fundamental idea that the human brain evolved to become a social organ. that was the key to organizing into tribes for the sake of survival, sustenance, and safety. Tribe is the bravery of neighbors risking their own lives to assure the safety of others; the mercy behind Houston mosques becoming 24-hr shelters for victims regardless of faith; a mattress store opening its doors for people to sleep; and the universal stripping away of race, religion, politics, and class. Why does this happen? Compassion knows no labels. In a crisis, everyone suffers in the same way. This video beautifully captures the essence of the America that we all know and love—a nation built upon resilience and reserve, heart and heroism. Hurricane Harvey reminds us of the one tribe we call Humanity!

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TRIBE

Whether you admit it or not, you are fundamentally a social creature walking around with a complex social brain wired for tribe. Humans evolved for tribe as a strategy for survival. While tribe also helps you feel a deep and important sense of value, belonging, and engagement in life, there exists a dark side of tribe—tribalism! A relic of your primal “Stone-Age Tribe” brain, tribalism—when left unchecked—it leads to polarization, racism, and social apathy in society. The strategy to overcome the perils of tribalism and to advance the power of tribe is learning how to nourish your social brain with compassion and connection. It is the key for both society and you to thrive. Enjoy TED Video to learn more.

 

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Happy Business People In MeetingAre you one of the many Americans experiencing greater exhaustion from life? Compared to 20 years ago, 50% of us attribute our daily stress as a product from the stress felt in the workplace! The culprit? Loneliness! In order to know why that is, it’s important to understand a powerful feature about your brain — it is a social organ that evolved for connection and community! Companies that fail to value the importance of the “social brain at work” are at greater risk for employee disengagement, turnover, and lack of productivity. What’s the solution for better workplace performance and personal happiness? Nourishing the social brain by promoting a workplace where people feel value, belonging, and engagement.  Read more here.

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Group of six diverse silly adults sniffing asparagus stalks in kitchen. Bowl of pasta and vegetables are on the table.

Why are kitchens and the backyard grill always the most popular places to hang out at parties? The sights, sounds, and smells of gathering over food nourish your social brain—and more studies affirm that a nourished social brain is a happy brain! Your brain evolved as a social organ and is wired for connection and bonding with others as a strategy for survival. Personally, I find that nothing brings us a deeper sense of connection and comfort than communing and laughing over a joyous meal. It’s why holidays like the 4th of July focus around food, friends, and fun times! Read more in our monthly newsletter

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Can being more compassionate and kind to others actually be good for your health?  The answer is yes! While practicing altruism and helping those in need have always been a hallmark taught by all the world’s religions, it is now one affirmed by more research in brain science and behavioral health. We humans are fundamentally social beings with social brains that evolved for cooperation and connection. In times of strife, your brain rewards pro-social actions by releasing feel-good neurochemicals that boost your own health and happiness. So all the spiritual traditions got it right — being kind and compassionate helps not just others, but you. It’s a win-win all around! Read more here.

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Multiracial Group of Friends with Hands in Stack, Teamwork

A powerful discovery to come out of brain science research is that our brain fundamentally evolved as a social organ. In a harsh  and unpredictable world, our ancient ancestors realized very quickly that bonding into social tribes increased everyone’s chances for survival. To socialize is to survive! It’s precisely why more studies affirm that the key to building resilience in life is seeking out social connection. Contrary to what our materialistic culture wants us to believe, it’s spending more time with others—not spending  more money on things—that help us achieve greater health and happiness! Read more here.

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Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 12.15.53 AMA new study reveals that both humans and our chimpanzee cousins thrive from companionship. Researchers found that in times of strife, chimps who seek out others in their support group reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol by nearly 25%. Why? The human (and primate) brain evolved as a social organ that made socialization a strategy for survival. We are more Homo Socialis than we are Homo Sapiens. So, the key to greater health and happiness can be simply spending more quality time with your best bud! I guess The Beatles got it right when they sang “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Read full article here.

 

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Discover how to become rich in the Currency of Happiness in my latest interview with Find Balance DailyIn this engaging conversation with my friend Lauren Slater, I reveal content from my upcoming book why your brain is essentially a social organ. Explore how the four “social currencies” of contribution, control, connection, and compassion are the key to build an emotionally rich and prosperous society. After all, money is the currency of transactions, happiness is the currency of interactions!

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