​The Community Church of Mill Valley conversation series “Who Is My Neighbor?” hosts Ruth Whippman on Feb. 5 to discuss her journey into the American obsession with happiness. When Whippman, a British documentary filmmaker for the BBC, moved to America, she began to hear from her new neighbors an almost obsessive preoccupation with one word: “happiness.” When she began to explore the topic, what she found was a paradox: despite the fact that Americans spend more time and money in search of happiness than any other nation on earth, research shows that the United States is one of the least contented, most anxious countries in the developed world.
So Whippman undertook a journey to investigate how this national obsession infiltrates all areas of life, from religion to parenting, the workplace to academia. She attended a controversial self-help course that promised total transformation, where she learned that all her problems were all her own fault; visited a “happiness city” in the Nevada desert to see why it has one of the highest suicide rates in America; dug into the darker truths behind the influential academic “positive psychology movement”; and ventured to Utah to spend time with the Mormons, officially America’s happiest people. Out of this came the new bestseller, America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness Is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks
Whippman has also written for The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Guardian, The Independent, The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine and The Pool amongst other places.She is a regular contributor to Time.com and a blogger for the Huffington Post. 
The 411: Ruth Whippman discuss ‘America the Anxious’ on Sunday, Feb. 5 (4-5pm) at the Community Church of Mill Valley, 8 Olive Street. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

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