Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Doing my little bit

As we near the end of the first ever UN decreed Day of Happiness, I thought rather than just sit here writing about happiness and how to increase it for yourself and others, I would a) get out there and do it myself and b) write about how my 'happy' day went.

First of all, to be honest, it was much like any other day. I say that not in a downer sort of way but in a good way. I say that because I purposefully wanted today to be pretty much like any other day, just with a bit more mindfulness of the happiness cause than usual...(which is saying something in my case!)

I love that there are celebrations of all kinds going on all across the world but for me, the actions we take today need to be replicable every day as well for this to really work.

Also, on the face of it I don't really feel like I really did much, or achieved much, or got anything done today. But when I look at the list below, all the little things really add up. Reading it back made me smile. Reading it out to my husband made him smile. Happiness spread: job done already!

So, with all that in mind, here are all the bits and bobs I did today to live and spread happiness in my own little way. Happy Day, as lived by me:

  • A generous helping of sharing, shouting, tweeting and blogging about happiness, #happyday #happy heroes and all related happiness shenanigans. I would apologise to anybody on the receiving end of my bombardment but I shan't. It's good for you so there.
  • 2 good deeds involving things I find tiresome and boring but that I know the recipients will really appreciate.
  • One bit of cruddy news threatening to turn day sour, re-framed
  • A sprinkle of smile therapy to help with the above: Saw a cloud, looked on the bright side
  • Made a new friend :)
  • Chatted with my nearest and dearest about nothing in general, just because
  • A trio of grandparents grateful for a call and up to date with my news
  • Up and out of bed early to make the most of the day 
  • (Then got stuck doing one of earlier mentioned deeds thanks to v slow computer but am reframing that to 'flow'!)
  • Actively decided not to stress and not to pursue thinking that I know leads to stress, something I am particularly susceptible to. Am hoping I can carry that one through to tomorrow and its looming deadline or I'm in trouble.
  • Ate well, tidied home, moved around
  • Finally  mastered something I've been struggling with for ages. Woo hoo!
  • Got outside in the fresh air and walked around aimlessly just taking it all in
  • Smiled at everybody and nobody in helps if they'll actually make eye contact but when they do, it works
  • Said I love you to three different people (all relatives, just to clarify!)
  • Treated myself to some cheap and cheerful tulips and some new (in the sale) bath oil to soak in later
  • Left a penny for somebody else to find
  • Left some change in the self check out coin tray to cheer up the next weary shopper
  • Took my time poring over a new book
  • Lingered outside a pretty shop window enjoying the spring display (since 'tis also the spring Equinox today)
  • Gave my husband a great big hug after a long and silly day at work
  • Snuggled down in front of some nice cooking programmes and a series we're watching together
  • Shared it all with you.
Nothing big. Nothing earth shattering. Nothing special. But all with happiness in mind, and happiness in my heart.

If I have made even just one person a teeny weeny smidgeon happier today, then I have done my bit and I can go to bed happy.

Sweet dreams x

UN International Day of Happiness

Well, it's here!  The first ever day dedicated purely to inspiring and spreading happiness.

This day marks a resolution by all 193 United Nations members to give happiness a greater priority. To recognise that progress should be just as much about human happiness and wellbeing as it is about economic growth (and how related the two are depends on who you talk to but the point is to focus not on economic growth at all costs, but on the more important end result of human happiness and wellbeing).

For more information about the day and why and how it came about click below:

Action for Happiness on UN International Day of Happiness

The main message for this year's Happy Day is to ACT:
A: Affirm the Pledge - make a personal pledge to try to create more happiness in the world
C: Cheer Happy Heroes - celebrate the people who bring you and others happiness
T: Take part - do something to mark the day and spread some happiness

The idea is to concentrate on spreading happiness to others. Obviously because that way more people are reached, but also because one of the best ways to generate your own happiness, is to first make others happy.

You can take the pledge and find lots of ideas on how to get involved and all the events going on at a specially dedicated day of happiness website.

But for now, here are some of my own simple ideas for how you can spread some happiness today (and beyond!). And by the way, I have personally tried all of these so can vouch for them!
  • Make a point of smiling at people you pass in the street. Many may think you're a bit loopy but you're guaranteed to get a few smiles back and give somebody a little lift
  • In fact, just smile fullstop. That bonkers bloke on Ally McBeal who was always doing 'smile therapy' actually had a's proven that smiling can make you feel happier as well as the other way round! Plus a smiler is nicer to look at than a grump for everyone else
  • Make or buy somebody you wouldn't normally a tea or coffee, apropos of absolutely nothing other than making them happy
  • Leave a little bit of small change in a vending machine or ticket machine for the next person to find
  • Phone a friend or family member you haven't spoken to in a while who you know will appreciate it
  • Pay a few randoms a compliment: "ooh, that cardigan really suits you!" and watch the effect it has
  • Say thank you. A lot. Especially to somebody who has always been there for you but maybe you've not really expressed quite how grateful you are
  • Hug! Be careful with that one...there are those who celebrate random hugging but just pick your victims carefully!
  • Get outside, walk around, get some fresh air, go for a walk
  • Do something different
  • Teach somebody about something you know and love 
  • Learn a new skill
  • Let somebody who you know isn't very happy at the moment that you're there and that you care
  • Cheer your happy heroes with #happyheroes or using the Cheers app - let them know who they are
  • Offer your services to somebody who could do with them, or volunteer
  • Donate to Action for Happiness
  • Write a letter to somebody who isn't into texting and email but never gets letters anymore
  • Get lost in something you love, get into 'flow'
  • Share and retweet all the news you see about  #happyday and #happyheroes to spread the word
  • Savour the moment, enjoy it, live in it rather than worrying about the one coming next
  • Share the moment
  • If it floats your boat, meditate. If not, at least be mindful, especially of how you're reacting to others
  • Force yourself, if something crappy happens, to reframe it, to find a new angle on it, to see it from a different perspective and to find a positive even if only a tiny glimmer. Then share it
  • Choose today to start your own happiness my other blog posts or my facebook page The Happy Catalyst for plenty of ideas and inspiration
  • End the day by finding and mulling over three things you're grateful for today
  • Enjoy it!
I'd love to hear your own ideas of how we can all spread happiness today and beyond in the comments box below so please do share.

I hope everybody has a really happy Happiness Day, whatever you're doing, and that little by little we get the message out there that happiness and wellbeing are truly what matter most.