5 Helpful Resources For Improving Happiness

People have been searching for the key to happiness for as long as humanity has existed. Many theories for achieving this blissful state exist, with scientists, academics, and psychologists all working to crack the riddle. Whether joy can be found through the study of brain chemistry, a communication game, a blog post, or a self-help book, this list, in no particular order, highlights resources to set audiences on a positive path.

At #1, we have Maura Sweeney. Also known as Maura 4 U, she's the self-titled Ambassador of Happiness. Sweeney runs a website featuring videos, podcasts, books, blogs, a self-leadership course, and keynote lectures, all created in the name of helping people exist authentically and contentedly.

Formerly a corporate manager, business owner, and homeschooling mom, Sweeney launched her vocational career at midlife with the goal of positively impacting culture. A Florida resident who has traveled to more than 50 countries, she combines a lifetime of personal and business experience to inspire others to improve their outlooks.

The Happyologist is #2 on the list. Through blog posts, books, online courses, and keynote speaking, Susanna Halonen, the titular Happyologist, is dedicated to making the world a more positive place, one person at a time. Halonen is the author of both "Happiness is Here" and "Screw Finding Your Passion." She is a published researcher, a TEDx speaker, an online columnist, and a regular commentator in the media, appearing in outlets including BBC and The Huffington Post.

According to Halonen, it's not success that fuels happiness, but rather happiness that fuels success, in every area of one's life. Halonen claims that being a happier person leads to more confidence, creativity, productivity, and meaningful relationships, both with others and with oneself. On the Happyologist website, interested individuals may sign up to receive inspirational letters in their email inboxes.

Next up at #3 is Happy Brain Science. As part of its mission to help organizations build happier, more engaged teams with a fun, science-based approach, it developed a team-building card game called Choose Happiness At Work, which is meant to help coworkers communicate better. The company strives to empower organizations and individuals to boost happiness at work, and to increase engagement, productivity, and creativity.

The founder, Scott Crabtree, draws on a background of neuroscience, organizational development, and human psychology. In addition to offering their card game, Crabtree and his team coach individuals and organizations to apply scientific findings toward better workplace relationships and less stress.

The Enchanted Self comes in at #4. The site's originator, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, has developed a positive psychology method for increasing happiness, optimism, and resiliency. She has been a psychologist in private practice licensed in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts since 1981. As of 2020, Holstein is based in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband.

Dr. Holstein describes herself as a positive psychologist and author who is determined to help girls, tweens, teens, and women find happiness and self-fulfillment in all aspects of their lives. Her written works include the fictional diaries of a young girl as she comes of age. Dr. Holstein has helped translate these stories into movies, including "The Truth, a Short Film," and "Falling in Love, A Coming of Age Selfie Film."

Rounding out the list at #5, the Inner Mammal Institute helps people build their power over their mammalian brain chemistry, by providing an understanding of the chemicals we've inherited from earlier mammals, such as serotonin and oxytocin. Founder and author Loretta Graziano Breuning believes that to understand how a human's brain can be triggered to produce good feelings, a student need only look to the social behaviors of wild animals.

Breuning is a teacher and former docent of the Oakland Zoo, as well as a former volunteer with the United Nations in Africa. It was in her travels that she was able to study primal conflict, and began developing her theories. The Inner Mammal Method is based on these observations, including the insight that mammals' brains originally evolved to promote survival, not to make them happy, which is why happiness is an active pursuit. In addition to offering online resources like videos and infographics, Breuning has written books, and produces a podcast called The Happy Brain.