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Michelle Gielan

Michelle Gielan, Founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, is an expert on the science of positive communication and how to use it to fuel success.  She works with Fortune 500 companies and schools to raise employee engagement, productivity and happiness at work.  Michelle is a Partner at GoodThink, a positive psychology consulting firm, and she holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Michelle is an Executive Producer of “The Happiness Advantage” Special on PBS.  She formerly served as the anchor of two national newscasts at CBS News, as well as a correspondent for “The Early Show.”  In 2009, she produced “Happy Week”, a series focusing on fostering happiness in the midst of the recession.  In 2011, she appeared in her own weekly health and wellness segment, “Manic Monday” on FOX News Chicago.

Michelle graduated cum laude in Computer Engineering.  Her research and advice have received attention from Forbes, USA Today, CNN, FOX and NPR.

Michelle's Latest Work

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It’s human nature to always want the next best thing, to covet the new smartphone, aspire to the big promotion. After all, the grass is always greener on the other side, right? Not always.

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ZEST NOW: How to Improve Your Relationship – Scientifically Proven

Scientifically verified tips for using positive communication with your partner after 50. #1: Write a gratitude letter to your partner letting them know the big and small things you’re thankful for about them. Give it to them or read it aloud (while they blush). Why: Studies have shown that people who regularly practice gratitude are more satisfied […]

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HUFFINGTON POST: Expect the Unexpected — The New Psychology of Success

Set a goal, make a plan, and achieve success? Not so fast. In today’s post-recession economy, your five-year plan to achieve your life goal is all but null and void. Today, the road to success is full of twists, turns and unexpected detours. A recent study commissioned by American Express found that over half (52%) of Americans, […]

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Are you a LifeTwister?

Our research shows that those with a LifeTwist mindset are able to bounce back more quickly from setbacks, not to mention find greater happiness in the process.


PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: Wanted: Job Seekers With This

Training Your Brain for Success in Your Job Search A friend of mine was recently interviewing at companies in Manhattan in hopes of landing a new job. Like many candidates out there, Ann is highly qualified and has a great track record.  But I’d place my bets on her over the others any day because […]

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If you’re stressed, feel overcommitted, or are simply trying to make a positive change in your life, the Power No could be just what you need.

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PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: Beating Cabin Fever

It’s March, and in many parts of the country, it is still cold.  That means that for many of us, it’s natural to experience a bit of cabin fever.  Whether you’re feeling cooped up, grouchy, anxious, or down, there are things you can do to boost your mood and beat the winter blues! Remember Spring […]

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PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: Valentine’s Day Survival Guide

Valentine’s Day is here, and while many of us dream of chocolates, roses, and romantic getaways, if we’re not careful, the only thing we might get is a dose of disappointment and heartache.  Whether we are single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can be stressful.  40% of people surveyed say they have negative feelings towards the […]

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PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: 5 Ways to Develop Meaning at Work

Does this sound like your workday?  The alarm goes off.  You get up, shower, and head to the office.  You say hi to the same people every morning, respond to emails, eat lunch with a couple of your colleagues in the cafeteria downstairs, and wait for the clock to tell you it is time to go home.  During most […]

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PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: How to go from “I think I can” to “I know I can”

If life were to present you with a challenge or if something were to go wrong unexpectedly, would you be able to handle it?  Think about that for a minute. You might be thinking: If what were to go wrong?  How can I answer that if I don’t know exactly what we are talking about? The key […]

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PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: New Year’s Resolutions: Setting Yourself Up for Success!

Do you want to loose 5 pounds this year?  Find a new job?  Carve out more quality time with your family?  If you find that keeping New Year’s resolutions is tough, let’s first start with 3 strategies on how to set them. Be honest with yourself.  Take time to listen to your heart to understand what you really want to accomplish.  […]

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PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: Positive Relationships

An important relationship in my life just ended… and I’ll admit it, I didn’t really see it coming.  That event has sparked a lot of thinking about relationships in general, and why I value them as much as I do (I am happy I do!).  Having healthy, productive relationships with my family and friends is […]



Kate White | Real Simple

happy_paper flyingGive a Compliment

A tech company I worked with found that its employees became more productive after the supervisor started offering one piece of praise a day. It wasn’t that each person received a compliment. All it took was one flattering remark total to make everyone, including the manager, feel more positive. Why? Whether you smile yourself or watch someone else smile, the happy facial expression can trigger your brain to release dopamine—a chemical that helps control your body’s reward centers and, in turn, kick your productivity into high gear.

Michelle Gielan is a cofounder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, a company that works with businesses and schools to increase productivity and happiness. She lives in Chicago.

Read the other suggestions Online


Fantastic Books on Positive Psychology - Read the New York Times bestselling book Before Happiness and the international bestseller The Happiness Advantage to learn more about this exciting research on happiness and success.

Online Learning at Home - Dive into the science on how a positive brain can help you achieve greater health, wealth, and happiness in every domain of life. In this dynamic online eCourse, learn how to apply the latest research-based strategies in order to start getting The Happiness Advantage right away!

Positive Psychology Assessments
Success Scale (Institute for Applied Positive Research)
Authentic Happiness (UPENN)

The Happy Secret to Better Work (VIDEO) - Great to share with your business teams and your kids. Watch this 12-minute, hilarious TED talk on the science of happiness by Shawn Achor. It’s so popular it’s become one of the most popular talks of all time with more than 5 million views!


Michelle speaks to Fortune 500 companies, schools and organizations about the power of positive communication to drive success and fuel happiness.   Her client list includes Google, Microsoft, 3M, Adobe, KPMG, Children’s Hospital Boston, Kimball International, HP, and Bank of America.

Sample Topics

Broadcasting Happiness: Creating Success through Positive Engagement

Effective, positive communication is the single biggest driver of success for business teams. New research in the fields of neuroscience and positive psychology is showing the incredible ripple effect positive communication can have on employee engagement, productivity, and happiness at work. After spending years as a national CBS News anchor broadcasting to millions and receiving an advanced degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Positive Psychology, Michelle developed simple, yet proven techniques for positive communication that drive individual and team success for quantifiable results.  She trains professionals on ways to inoculate their brain against stress and negativity, praise effectively, and shift the culture to create a talent-enhancing environment.

The Optimism Quotient: Changing our Mindset, Fueling Success

We often overestimate the impact our life circumstances have on our happiness and success. New research shows 90% of our long-term success is predicted not by our external circumstance but how we process the world around us. So what is the scientific key to our success? Optimism: the belief that challenges are temporary, and if we take action, we can improve our circumstances. Optimists are historically more successful – not to mention they have more fun achieving their goals! Michelle has conducted research with people experiencing everything from small setbacks to life-changing events, and she has identified hallmarks of an optimistic mindset and how to train our brain to process the world for greater happiness and success.  In this interactive session, Michelle shares the strategies for raising our personal optimism quotient, responding to challenges more effectively, and channeling this new mindset into tangible successes.

Catalyzing Success: Training the Brain to Seize Opportunities

Do you know someone who seems to always be lucky or turn anything they do into a success? The reality is that opportunities present themselves all the time to all of us, but that does not mean our brain is prepared to recognize and seize them! Scientifically speaking, our brain can limit its own potential. Yet exciting new research shows us there are ways we can retrain our brain to see and capitalize on opportunities. Michelle trains professionals on scientifically based strategies that rewire the brain to see more potential, increase the chances of being in the “right place at the right time,” and turn encounters and connections into a new level of professional success.

Sample Videos


If you are interested in scheduling Michelle for an event or TV appearance,
please submit your inquiry here or contact:
Jordan Brock

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