How can we live the best life possible?
This is the question that has interested me most as a psychologist.
There are so many effective pathways to well-being: getting enough sleep, caring relationships, progressing toward important life goals, laughing, creativity, exercise, mindfulness, music, valuing yourself unconditionally . . . the list is a long one—and that’s good news!
We have many ways to live optimally. A Happier You®, my seven-week program to increase joy and meaning in life, combines a unique group of these pathways into a set of daily practices. They include spotlighting positive events, personal strengths, gratitude, love, and lightness in life.
My journey toward A Happier You began as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1990s, when I began working under Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Karen Reivich on the Penn Resiliency Project. We were teaching middle school students in Philadelphia how to use cognitive-behavioral strategies to cope better with stress.
Positive psychology as a field was just beginning to emerge. I didn’t know then how it would go on to become a driving force in my life.
Motivation, Positive Emotions, and Flourishing
After completing my master’s degree in counseling, I worked in the substance use treatment field as a clinician for 8 years, discovering Motivational Interviewing (MI) along the way. MI is a person-centered collaborative conversational style that helps people become more ready to make positive changes in their lives. I became a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers in 2012 and studied how people experience MI for my doctoral dissertation.
I really began to think about the role of positive emotional states in driving behavior. I also discovered the healing power of mindfulness-based approaches. My training in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy with Zindel Segal and Stephen Hickman in San Francisco was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It changed how I begin each day and manage stressful situations.
A Positive View of Human Nature
In mindfulness and MI, I found my home in that hopeful view of human nature, the idea that we already have within ourselves everything we need to flourish. We just need the right conditions around us to “bloom.”
This philosophy is a foundation for my work with master’s and doctoral students at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where I am currently the Associate Director of the Master’s in Mental Health Counseling Program, and a consultant to the Department of Family Medicine.
Personal well-being is about honoring every part of yourself. Each of us has a diverse array of talents, skills, interests, and knowledge. While psychology has served as a primary calling in my life, I also find fulfillment in writing plays, poetry, essays, and prose.
Creativity and the arts have always been important to me. Poems of mine have appeared in numerous print and online journals including The Iowa Review, jubilat, Sentence, and Blazevox. I’m currently working on a play and novel, and I also pen occasional health and wellness pieces for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In one form or another, we all develop a personal mission in life, a set of purposes and values that can act as a centering force for our choices.
Mine is to continue creating positive spaces in the world, strengthening communities by helping individuals and diverse groups of people focus on their strengths, their meaningful connections to others, and the things in life that make them feel good. Through writing, I also seek to create in ways that ignite, enliven, entertain, and help us understand ourselves better.
I strive to be filled in every moment with an awareness of the gifts in life. Although life is challenging and often stressful, I believe we all have the capacity to bring our best self to every situation. As Victor Frankl, the great existentialist thinker, once said, finding our why in life—those shimmering purposes and joys that hover just beneath the surface of our beings—can almost always lead us to the how.
Praise for Scott
I am so grateful that our students heard Scott’s message, and am planning to have him return next school year.
Incredibly engaging presenter who clearly cares about and is experienced with and connected to the material being presented.
Dr. Glassman was outstanding! He presented examples that really helped me understand the concepts.
Scott did an excellent job connecting with the students. The 7 points he shared about creating a “happier you” were accessible, practical and useful for the students and staff.
Presenter was awesome.
Provided excellent information in an engaging and interesting way. Dr. Glassman’s passion was clear! I felt like I was in grad school again. I even took notes.
Dr. Glassman was wonderful! I loved this presentation.
Dr. Glassman was a great speaker and his examples were incredibly helpful.
Speaker was exceptional and the program was well-organized.