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By Lisa Cypers Kamen.

Liliy PondWe’ve all heard it before: “Money can’t buy you love or happiness or satisfaction.” Yet for some reason, these words of wisdom are particularly easy to forget. We focus on money and possessions. As we desperately seek joy from these external sources, we feel more tired, more depleted, and oftentimes more depressed than ever.

The truth is, joy is not something that can be bought or sold. It isn’t available in stores or even on (which seems to have almost everything these days). Instead, true joy stems from the one place no advertiser can paste its logo: inside you.

Many studies examining the relationship between money and happiness have proven that one is not necessarily dependent upon the other. In fact, after evaluating the 2010 Gallup Health-ways Well-being index, a Princeton University research team recently concluded that, amongst other things, happiness is based on life evaluation and well-being. Interestingly, the study found that “research suggests that wealthy people don’t take as much pleasure in actual pleasure as do poor people. In one test, social researchers primed some test subjects to feel rich and found that the ‘wealthy’ subjects didn’t enjoy luxury chocolate as much as the control group, the ‘non-wealthy,’ did.”

So take some time to focus on what you do have and just pause and be grateful. By focusing on the beauty in your life, health, peace of mind, family and friends, you’ll attain the very things we all spend countless dollars and hours fruitlessly looking for in shops: joy and contentment.

Happiness Strategy:

Throughout the year, we are pressed to find perfect gifts, whether it be for Christmas and Chanukah or a birthday or graduation present. Interestingly, most of us search for these gifts in department stores and online. The problem with a physical gift is that the moment you give it, the experience for you, the giver, is over. In contrast, giving the gift of a shared experience, whether it be an I.O.U. for a day of gardening or a hot air balloon ride, is a gift both the giver and the receiver will enjoy.

Not only that, a shared experience is one that allows you to focus on your feelings and relationship with that person and allows you to truly express your gratitude for him or her, rather than merely packaging your gratitude in the form of a disposable object. As you connect with a friend, colleague or loved one through the gift of a shared experience, you will both experience true internal joy, which is far being the fleeting pleasure brought on by a material gift.

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Lisa Cypers Kamen is a filmmaker, positive psychology coach, author, host of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio, professor and lecturer specializing in the field of sustainable happiness. She is widely recognized as an expert on the subject. Lisa’s acclaimed documentary film co-produced with her now fifteen year-old daughter, Kayla, “H-Factor…Where is your heart?” explores how people in varied circumstances find, generate and share happiness. In addition to her film on happiness, Lisa has also published a number of articles and books entitled, Got Happiness Now?, Are We Happy Yet?, Leadership: Helping Others to Succeed and Reintegration Strategies, about combat trauma and using positive psychology principles to create wellness in a post-war new normal. Lisa’s written work is featured on blogs for the Huffington Post, and and she is a TEDx community event speaker. In addition, she is the Happiness Expert for the Florida Department of Citrus/ Florida Orange Juice in its Take on the Day campaign.

Harvesting Happiness for Heroes™ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that delivers stigma-free integrated combat trauma recovery services to warriors and their loved ones. Modalities include scientifically proven strengths based Positive Psychology coaching and interdisciplinary tools such as film, yoga, meditation, art and creative writing designed to mindfully empower the client to achieve increased self-mastery, self-esteem and reclaim her/his life. HH4Heroes focuses on the balance of mind, body and emotion resulting in greater overall wellbeing and the transformation of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) into Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). HH4Heroes offers retreat workshops, one-on-one coaching, Battle Buddy programs, as well as our new R.E.B.O.O.T Online virtual community coaching classrooms designed to reach underserved areas. In addition, HH4Heroes deploys Return to Duty™ civilian and corporate training to help welcome a warrior home and into the community and workplace.

Lisa is committed to teaching Happiness is an inside job™ and helping others end their needless suffering through intentionally cultivating greater joy.

For more information, please visit, and

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