International Day Of Happiness

International Day of HappinessToday it is International Day of Happiness. Yes, it is an official day! As if not every day should be a day of joy and peace and kindness… But okay, it is nice – and important – to focus on the good things with even more awareness.

Fact is that many people do not feel happy. And the first thing most of us do, is pointing to circumstances. Others exclaim “happiness is an inside job”, which does not really help, if you do not experience it.

For a long time, scientific psychology had more or lessignored this field of happiness. That changed in the last decades and the field of Positive Psychology is doing a great job in defining and researching happiness. To me it is fascinating to see how all that we already know deep down in our own hearts, now comes out to be “proven”…

What influences happiness?

Martin Seligman  is one of the great researchers in the field of positive psychology. He started to define the area’s of influence in our feelings of well-being. He started out with three main categories and later realized that what he called “meaningful life” needed to be split up into three core elements. That means that right now, the basics that are researched can be summarized in the acronym PERMA.

  • Positive emotions – not just the feeling of happiness, but all emotions that we feel to be a positive and contributing to a happy and good life. Think satisfaction, awe, excitement etc.
  • Engagement – being drawn into activities that are in alignment with our interests. If you are truly engaged, you feel a kind of “flow“. It involves passion, concentration, clarity, being absorbed in what you are doing.
  • Relationships – for better and for worse. It is good to have people that are there when we need them and it is good to support those who need us. Yet relationships are also of great importance when it comes to our growth and expansion. Exploring together, creating together – all involves other people. We cannot do without them.
  • Meaning – a sense of purpose. Living from the why, striving for a (for you) worthy goal, feeling connected to a bigger picture – it all contributes to happiness. There are three components to this aspect of meaning:
    • Does it bring a feeling of well-being?
    • Is what we do a goal in itself? So not: I do this in order to get that. Instead: I do this because this is what I find meaningful to do  in itself. The journey is the goal.
    • Does it have value for me independently from all the other factors mentioned here?
  • Accomplishments – bth as mastery and success. We can enjoy accomplishments individually or as a part of a community. This feeling can be interrelated with the aspects above. We can do them in the context of projects or work – or just for the fun of it. We can learn a new language because we need it for our work. Or we can learn a language just because we love that language. In both situations we do something that can bring us the feeling of accomplishment.

The big picture and our daily lives

These are -in short – the fields that positive psychology are studying. Today, at the international day of happiness, it might be a nice idea to take a few moments to reflect how we are doing personally. What aspects make us feel good? What could we give more attention? Where are our strengths? How can we use these to make this world a happier place? You can come up with many questions or ponder just one. Reflection is great in the overview of the big picture of our life…

Since on March 20th the focus is on the things we can do in one single day to make the world a happier place, let’s come up with some random acts of kindness. Smiling a lot, sayoing nice words, being friendly, expressing gratitude… Spreading happiness is not that hard at all :-)

How do you spread happiness? It would be great if you give us some ideas in the comments below. Sometimes we overlook the obvious and it is great if we can help each other to gain more awareness. Especially in the so called “little things”. Our lives are made of them…

Have a happy day today – shine your bright light!

PS Did you see the movie in our theatre “Finding happiness“?

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