Happiness is what we sell in the event planning realm. Yes, you read it right, happiness! I describe happiness as something that starts with your head and goes down to your toes.
Let’s start with your head—these crazy brains of ours—and the simplest form of happiness: laughter. If you hire on-stage talent with a comedic touch, you’re dosing people with endorphins. Though laughter is simple, don’t undervalue it. When laughing, your brain releases endorphins and it makes us feel good. Laughter is healing, and studies document reductions in stress, blood pressure and improved recovery rates when injured or ill. Make time for laughter and reap the benefits!
Recognition & Connection
Event planners help clients achieve their professional and often financial goals, and our brains love accomplishing tasks and reaching goals. When we reach a goal, we’re rewarded by a positive neurochemical called dopamine that makes us feel good. Set realistic goals and celebrate accomplishments to feel the dopamine flow.
Most of us appreciate being recognized by colleagues or clients for a job well done. When organizing a gathering to hand out awards, accolades, bonuses and recognition, our brains release another positive chemical called serotonin. Improving our status makes us happy, and serotonin gets the credit for the positive feeling we get from recognition.
My favorite neurochemical is oxytocin, which you may know as the “love drug” or even “hug drug.” Connection is something most humans deeply crave and connecting makes us happy. Real and authentic bonding around a shared cause or value makes our brains release oxytocin, and we feel good. The good news with all of these neurochemicals is that we are in control and have the ability to change our habits to release more happy chemicals in our lives. Check out the book “Habits of a Happy Brain” by Dr. Loretta Breuning for more tools.
Gratitude & Community
Dr. James Doty, who I adoringly call the crying neurosurgeon, is the founder of Stanford’s Center for Compassion Altruism Research and Education. Doty has compiled the incredible scientific findings backing the significant health benefits received when we are kind, compassionate and grateful. Lead with your heart and everyone wins, including you. If you don’t have a daily gratitude exercise check out the sidebar for a simple tool. Also look up Doty’s podcast at JamesRDotymd.com.
Our journey from head to heart ends with your toes, which we’ll refer to as our community. Research by Dan Buettner (“Blue Zones of Happiness”) and Richard Florida (“Who’s Your City?”) dive into the results of studies on happiness, and your community is a huge source of happiness. The right community offers you access to people who become an inner circle of trusted confidants, allows you to find your partner, and provides the freedom to live out your values and have pride in your life. All of these play into living a measurably happier life.
If you’re involved in events, you have the extraordinary opportunity to engage clients and their audiences in so many of these elements of head-to-toe happiness. Event spaces and gathering places play a huge role in creating happiness, and the opportunity for you to start the cascading effect of happiness is huge. Never forget what you’re selling is more than just a space or a service.
Tips to Improve Your Happiness
ACCOLADES – Celebrate your accomplishments big or small each day for a boost of serotonin.
CONNECT – Happier people gather socially, and oxytocin makes us feel good in groups we trust.
TO DO – Break bigger tasks into chunks and check off completed items on your to-do list for a dopamine boost.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – Be grateful for life’s gifts. Set an alarm each day at 12:34 and express gratitude for 5 things in your life from the simple to the large.
LAUGH – Have your favorite comedian or funny movie clip, comic book (Calvin and Hobbes is my personal favorite) or blog around for a spurt of endorphins.
Anthony Poponi is the owner of humore.us (Humorous) Events in Crested Butte and couples his comedic creativity on stage as an emcee, keynote, moderator and auctioneer.