“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”
Many of us have heard this quote, but have we heard it so much that over time we’ve become negligent about its true meaning?
According to the United Nations, a profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognising that progress should not just be about growing the economy, but about increasing human happiness. So, in 2012 all 193 United Nations members agreed that happiness needs to be given greater priority in the world and March 20th was declared International Day of Happiness.
Personally, I believe that happiness has a huge, flow-on effect outside of our own circles as it stretches beyond ourselves and into the wider community. Here at Fish, and for others that work in the non-profit sector, I think happiness is paramount in the work we do. The way I see it, the happier we are, the more likely we will want to share that feeling and help others. And the more we help those around us, the better place our world will be. Essentially, happiness = a better world. So if we want to inspire change, we first must inspire happiness.
I recently discovered an organisation that is dedicated to doing just that. The Happiness Institute is Australia’s first organisation devoted solely to enhancing happiness in individuals, families and organisations. It works to teach people to be happier by offering services based on lots of research, especially that from the area of positive psychology. According to the Institute, “positive psychology is one of the fastest growing and most exciting areas of health and wellbeing and is based on the premise that it is not enough just to manage stress and depression.” Dr Timothy Sharp, aka Dr Happy, founded the Institute in 2003 and has been helping many people reclaim their happiness since.
Two weeks ago we celebrated the second Day of Happiness and the team at Fish were keen to get involved. We shared updates on our Facebook page about what happiness meant to us and we tweeted about it too. A couple of us took on the 7 Day Happiness Challenge, an initiative of Dr Happy and The Happiness Institute, to learn new strategies to boost our happiness. The challenge involved undertaking one simple task each day to help improve our wellbeing. This included things like doing something to take care of your body (I did a yoga class that day), making a conscious effort to laugh and have fun (I had dinner with a few friends) and carry out an act of kindness (I gave a piece of fruit to an individual experiencing homelessness). For me, it was a great opportunity to exercise a few little things that can quietly change and/or improve your mood.
Being happy is not just about being surrounded by rainbows and lollipops, or only doing things to gain momentary happiness, at the expense of others. With the increasing trend around the globe of anxiety and depression, learning about emotional resilience is vital. So, this Thank You Thursday, we give a big, happy shout out to Dr Happy and his Happiness Institute for having such a cheery ambition.
See you in the Pond,
The Fish Chick.