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Speaker talks happiness

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Did you know that it takes six seconds to feel the full effects of a hug? Or that waiting with bated breath for text messages to be returned can lower your self-esteem? And that writing in cursive engages both the logical and creative sides of your brain?

These studies, among others, were touched upon by Matt Glowacki on Wednesday afternoon at Jefferson Community College during a presentation titled “Doing Happiness.”

Mr. Glowacki, who was born without legs, has become one of the most popular college speakers in the country by mixing stories of his own struggles and successes into high-energy presentations at schools and faith-based organizations.

A Wisconsin native and resident, Mr. Glowacki also owns a mobile disc jockey and entertainment service and runs a successful business building and selling wheelchairs to Paralympic athletes.

Mr. Glowacki returned to JCC this year to give students tips on how to bring happy conclusions to difficult situations.

“Tragedy plus time equals humor,” he told students before sharing the tale of the most embarrassing moment in his life — an episode that included a graphic description of the events leading up to and following the severing of a commode from the wall of a middle school boys locker room.

The story ended with Mr. Glowacki, smelling somewhat less pleasant than a rose, giving two presentations to hundreds of middle school students.

It’s a story he tells now to illustrate his point about the ability of humans to influence their level of happiness by being conscious of their moods and interactions with other people.

If you’re struggling, Mr. Glowacki told students, talk to someone.

“And guys, I don’t mean texting,” he said. “The real damage that happens from texting comes from how long it takes someone to respond to your text. It lowers your self-esteem.”

A simple way to correct for that is to send open-ended text messages that give recipients the option to respond at their leisure. In the meantime, senders can reassure themselves that their texts will be answered in due time, Mr. Glowacki said.

He also told students that Americans spend 35 to 55 hours a week programming themselves with television and cautioned them to be mindful of what they’re watching.

The program started with a hug.

Mr. Glowacki called a JCC student onstage and locked him in an embrace while the audience counted to six.

“Did you feel it be funny around four?” Mr. Glowacki asked the student.

“I was feeling funny,” the student replied, before Mr. Glowacki asked audience members to give each other 6- second hugs.

“Go getcha some hugs,” he said.

For his trouble, Mr. Glowacki presented the student with a bubble wand.

“A bubble wand is one of the best toys you can have because you create happiness with you wherever you go,” he said.

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