Have you ever misplaced your wallet? After the initial feeling of dread tempers, the knee-jerk reaction is to search feverishly, retracing your steps and enlisting the eyes of each passerby you encounter to assist you.
“Just give me a couple of minutes to regroup,” Haywood Simmons says, without a hint of duress on his face. Simmons is a man who certainly practices what he preaches. His message: The science of happiness.
Simmons partners with happiness coach Tracy Traeder for PHitness Plus’ latest offering, “Finding Your Happiness.” The three-week clinic offers participants concrete strategies for managing stress, coping with anxiety, and sustaining happiness throughout your life. The “Finding Your Happiness” clinic is open to people of all ages. “This class is for anyone who feels plateaued in their life,” Simmons says. “If you are looking to grow or expand where you can go, this class is for you.”
Traeder and Simmons began their mindfulness journeys after committing to living healthy and active lifestyles. “I started to recognize the connection and the importance of taking care of your mind and your spirit as well as your physical body,” Traeder tells Madison365. “I had to make sure I was nurturing and caring for all aspects of my being, not just my physical body.”
As a certified personal trainer and positive outcomes coach, Simmons understands the intersections between physical health and mental well-being. “The ‘PH’ in PHitness Plus is about balance. Our goal is to create that balance in people. It all starts with the mind,” says Simmons, also a former UW Badger football player. “To build up resilience and be able to have happiness increases the chances you will make it to your workout sessions, meditation classes, and stick to your nutritional goals. The ‘[Finding Your] Happiness’ clinic clears the way for us to bring in that new person.”
Simmons and Traeder each bring nearly a decade of personal and professional mindfulness practice to the “Finding Your Happiness” clinic. The workshop will cover the science behind happiness and how our brains process negative versus positive information. Participants will learn how to identify causes of stress and anxiety in their lives and raise their “happiness baselines.” After students recognize their triggers for stress, Simmons and Traeder will educate participants on “managing, redefining, and reframing” stress, and how to promote happiness within your circle of influence.
Richard Davidson’s work inspired the “Finding Your Happiness” clinic. Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, examines a fundamental question: “Why is it that certain people are vulnerable to life’s slings and arrows, and why are other people more resilient?” Davidson also wonders, “How can we help nudge people along this continuum of resilience?”
Simmons and Treader couple Davidson’s research with their belief that happiness is not a destination or a pursuit, but an intentional practice. The ”Finding Your Happiness” clinic will equip participants with tools to not only navigate pitfalls and live a happiness-filled life, but also inspire these feelings in others.
The “Finding Your Happiness” clinic begins on Sept. 14. You can register for the “Finding Your Happiness,” by clicking here.