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On Happiness✨- April '24

Dear Friends,

Last month, the 2024 World Happiness Report from Gallup reported that the US dropped out of the top 20 happiest countries. In fact, the state of happiness appears to be in crisis, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic period of 2020-2022. During this time, rates of depressive symptoms have quadrupled and have not declined since according to Harvard University professor Arthur Brooks, and the co-author of, 'Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier.'

What is at the root of this crisis? Too much time on social media, financial troubles, political polarization, increased isolation resulting in loneliness? While the truth lies in a combination of many factors, let’s turn our attention from “why” to how" can we be happier?

The basic remedy according to Brooks is to have love in our lives and feel that our work is serving other people - which is part of what we aim to do at Band Central by connecting audiences and musicians with local nonprofit causes.

 Brooks identifies 4 pillars to happiness:


Brooks doesn't define FAITH as narrowly as religion. Rather, it's about having something that brings transcendence from the psycho-drama of our own lives. Brooks encourages that we reflect on our life as observers, which activates the prefrontal cortex region of our brains, and liberates us from getting caught up in our own drama. Faith can empower us in so many ways - religion, yoga, meditation, walking in nature, studying philosophy, caring for a pet, etc.

Regarding FAMILY, it is common for there to be periods of difficulty or tension. Taking actions to restore harmony, when it is possible and safe to do, can be a worthwhile effort toward being happier. Additionally, cultivating 'chosen family' with friends and community members can provide us with support, love and happiness. 

Regarding FRIENDS, Brooks encourages us to find “real friends”, not “deal friends”, and to be clear on the difference. Real friends accept you as you are and support you unconditionally through life's ups and downs. Deal friends are the buddies who can help you get ahead in life, the friend from whom you need or want something.

Finally, regarding WORK, serving others, fostering appreciation, and adopting an appropriate work-life balance are integral to happiness. Managers and bosses can prioritize doing more in the workplace to emphasize the merit and dignity of work to improve staff morale and overall happiness.  

A few other takeaways that relate to Band Central are:

Money is connected to happiness, although maybe not in the way we think. Access to money for survival reduces unhappiness as it reduces stressors. For those of us with our essential needs met, there are 5 things we can do with money; spend it on stuff, time, or experiences, give it away, or save it. The joy of having stuff is fleeting, but experiences, sharing and saving bring happiness.

Finally, regarding HAPPINESS, remember to “put your own oxygen mask on first” . When we take care of ourselves, we can better take care of the relationships, friendships and work that we are truly engaged with.

In sum, happiness is love and connection. Substituting other things for love is a problem. When we are complementing love in our lives, we are doing it right.

The YouTube interview below between Arthur Brooks and Professor Scott Galloway inspired this letter. It is well worth the 30 minute view!

I hope you find our communications entertaining, informative and useful and will join us by attending our live music events, listening to Band Central Radio on WPKN at 12 noon the 4th Monday of every month, or via the Podcasts App on WPKN Podcasts and following us on Facebook.

Peace and love,

Rob & The Band Central Team



We are fortunate to have an organization in Black Rock, Connecticut, called Team Woofgang & Company, led by the dynamic duo of Kelly Maffei and Amy Stern and their new executive director, Christine Paine. Woofgang & Company provides individualized vocational training, lifelong learning and social opportunities to neuro diverse adults, all free of charge to the team members and their families. 

Since their inception in 2017 Team Woofgang and Co. have evolved from baking healthy products for animals in their homes to establishing their very own kitchen in Black Rock. In addition to their production curriculum, they also have a storefront where individuals can learn how to balance the cash drawer, monitor inventory, practice customer service and perform general shopkeeping skills. 

Now in their 7th year of operation, they have grown in size to help over 80 individuals.  They participate in 24 different markets, fairs and festivals and promote socialization through engagement with local universities and high schools. 10% of the revenue required to keep the non-profit moving forward comes from sales of their products and the balance comes from donations, grants and fundraisers. They provide daily purpose, honoring each individual for their ability to contribute meaningfully to their community all while honoring their basic needs for social opportunities.



The past two months we have shared videos from the Playing For Change Series. This month, we offer our own rendition of Journey's Don’t Stop Believin’, performed live by Band Central on April 4, 2024 at Park City Music Hall to benefit CT Institute For Refugees & Immigrants.

Please enjoy this classic performed by Stephanie Harrison, Gray Fowler, Chris Parker, Tommy Weeks, Pat Marafiote, John Torres & Rob Fried.


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