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Kindness Expert Led a Conversation on Kindness at WONDER's ValenKINDs Day Special Event

11:32 PM

Written by Jesus Figueroa

Expert Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas Ph.D, science director for the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley, led a presentation entitled "CHOOSE KIND: THE SCIENCE OF KINDNESS" to connect the kind moments in "Wonder" to scientific study of kindness.

Although there's some bullying in the movie, there's much hope that, much like the kids in the movie, kindness triumphs and happiness can be achieved.
"The definition that alot of people hold is that happiness is crossing alot of things off your list, like you know — have I made enough money, do I have a beautiful enough spouse, do I have a house that I want to own, do I have the job that affords me the prestige that I need — and what we are finding or what you do find is that it doesn’t matter," Simon-Thomas said. "You can cross all those things off your list, but maybe at the end of the day you are not any happier than someone else who perhaps wasn’t as lucky and is extraordinarily happy."
Happiness comes from more than the possessions people have or achieving the goals set for themselves.

The important factors in happiness are within every person's control and can be accomplished with putting effort into the relationships people keep.
"If you look at the different things that really change people’s happiness, the things that matter most is our personal relationships...you as a person can form very meaningful and authentic bonds with people," Simon-Thomas said. "You can collaborate with people in ways that are very satisfying. You can have conflict with people and then move through it and have a stronger relationship because you have reconciled that conflict."
With happiness comes so much more and it is complex emotion which includes other positive and negative emotions.

Like Auggie in "Wonder," happiness has its ups and downs and it's not always easy to understand why things happen to affect the state of happiness.
"What we know is that happiness is a more broad characteristic of a life, more rich with experience. There is joy, pride and gratification in happiness, but there’s also sadness, there’s also anger when things go wrong. There is also fear at the suitable times," Simon-Thomas said.
"Wonder" is an inspirational movie with happiness and hope on the forefront.

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