On the first day of spring, Tuesday, March 20, we also celebrated International Day of Happiness. In light of it, the week of March 26-30, West Chester University celebrated WISH week. WISH stands for well-being, interests and strengths, success and happiness. During the week, each day focused on  a different topic. Thursday, March 29, was dedicated to happiness. Events and different tables were set up in Sykes Student Union throughout the day. At night in Sykes Theatre from 7:30 p.m. to about 8:45 p.m., Mr. Uhlenbrock (known by many as Mr. U) spoke about happiness and connection.  Currently, I have Mr. U for PSY200 or Positive Psychology, which was my reason for attending the talk. However,  I’m glad I attended  regardless of any extra credit.

During the happiness and connection speech, Mr. U fit so much information and knowledge into the quick hour and fifteen minutes. He started with a brief overview of PSY200  and explained how it’s about the science of happiness. Throughout the talk , he engaged with the crowd , starting with his second topic of social media. Social media is so important in today’s generation, and we do not realize how much of our lives it takes up until someone points it out. There was also a guest speaker, Mary Jane Nelson, who talked about involvement. She spoke highly of sorority life that  helped her to get involved on campus as well as starting a club. Being a freshman, Nelson gave me a lot of hope and ideas on how to get involved on campus.

After Nelson spoke, Mr. U went on to explain the different parts of our life where we can find connection. First and most importantly, a quote Chris Peterson is given credit for is: “other people matter.” This has been said a lot in Mr. U’s class and it is essential to connect with others and remember their importance. After this, he spoke about how to generate happiness with other people. Although there are many ways, a simple way is giving or receiving  a hug. Hugging releases oxytocin or the “love hormone” the same way an orgasm does. Hugging may be uncomfortable with random people, but Mr. U had the whole theater hugging each other!

“North of neutral” is also a very common phrase in Mr. U’s class. Living “north of neutral” means that you are generally a joyous person and even when you are knocked down, depending on how high north you are, it is easier to bounce back. There are so many different things you can do to live “north of neutral” and having good relationships is the single most important way.

Throughout the rest of the talk Mr. U discussed connection with many other things like music, emotions, memories, social experience, nature, spirituality and  more. Most importantly, he mentioned connecting with him. Mr. Uhlenbrock can be found on WCU’s website and you can email him at SUHLENBROCK@wcupa.edu or visit his office hours. If any of the topics above were intriguing to you or left you with questions, I am sure he would love to talk to you more about it. You can also email me (listed below) and I will try to be as helpful as I can. If you want to discover more happiness remember to get involved and next year look out for WISH week and happy day.

Amanda Hearn is a first-year student majoring in psychology. ✉ AH888217@wcupa.edu.

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