In a world filled with stress, challenges, and uncertainties, the quest for happiness and well-being has become more critical than ever. Marlena Brothers Frank, M.S., a professor of Psychology at Brookdale Community College, has unveiled a program aimed at helping individuals unlock their potential for joy, optimism, resilience, and gratitude. Known as B.O.O.S.T., which stands for “Being Present, Open to Connection, Optimistic, Strength Focused, and Thankful,” will teach individuals the fundamentals of happiness and how to lead a life well-lived. This program, initially launched for Brookdale employees through the Caroline Huber Holistic Wellness Center, offers a refreshing perspective on happiness beyond fleeting moments of joy and dives deep into the science of flourishing.

“If you are lucky enough, life keeps going…and so should you,” she said. “When you find yourself moving through the motions rather than living a life of meaning and joy, it’s time to take your power back.”

Marlena, an expert in positive psychology, specializes in understanding the factors that contribute to a fulfilling and meaningful life. Her program goes beyond the mere pursuit of fleeting moments of joy, emphasizing the importance of increasing optimism, positivity, love for life, resilience, and hope, fostering a sense of purpose, and thriving rather than merely surviving.

“What we’ve discovered is the profound interconnectedness of personal and workplace happiness,” Marlena explained. “These are not isolated entities; they are deeply intertwined. When you are thriving at work and genuinely love your job, it positively spills over into your life outside of work. Conversely, if you’re unhappy at work, it can have a detrimental impact on your overall well-being.”

Marlena highlights the need to address both personal and workplace happiness to lead a fulfilling life. She acknowledges the challenges brought about by the post-pandemic world, where a significant portion of the global population reported not feeling true happiness since the onset of the pandemic.

Marlena offers ideas and practices to help individuals regain and sustain their happiness. One of the core teachings in Marlena’s program is based on her grandmother’s wisdom, which inspired her TEDx talk.

Her grandmother shared three essential elements for long-lasting happiness:

Being Present: The practice of mindfulness, living in the moment and appreciating the now.

Being Grateful: Cultivating gratitude for the things we have in our lives, no matter how small.

Love and Connection: Nurturing meaningful relationships and genuine connections with others.

This perspective challenges the conventional notion that happiness is an external goal achievable through material possessions or specific life events. Instead, Marlena encourages individuals to recognize that true and sustainable happiness begins within, within the way we think, perceive, and appreciate life’s moments.

“It’s about shifting from the mindset of ‘I will be happy when…’ to embracing happiness as a practice that starts right now,” she explained. Research supports this view, suggesting that happiness derived from external acquisitions is often short-lived while lasting happiness is developed through daily practices, like being present, cultivating gratitude, and fostering meaningful connections.

Marlena’s program not only offers a fresh perspective on happiness but also provides practical tools and techniques to apply these principles in daily life. By understanding the science of flourishing, people can take the necessary steps to boost their happiness, whether at work or in their personal lives.

In a world where true, long-lasting happiness can sometimes feel elusive, Marlena’s B.O.O.S.T. program reminds us that the keys to fulfillment are within our grasp. By embracing the power of presence, gratitude, and connection, we can all take steps toward a life well-lived, no matter the challenges we face.