Think happy, act happy, be happy
At Big Green Door we are constantly thinking about emotions, how to engage with people emotionally and the fine nuance of how to express them. So in the wash of the Royal Wedding and the World Cup, we’re going to focus on the fat happiness word.
The Buddhist, Matthieu Ricard talks of the elusive nature of happiness. It can be difficult to define, although it is something we all seek. Instead, he believes it is important to focus on wellbeing. https://www.ted.com/talks/matthieu_ricard_on_the_habits_of_happiness/transcript?language=en
The World Happiness Report measures six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity. According to the World Happiness Report 2018, Finland is the happiest country in the world (with a score of 7.6), followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Netherlands. All the top countries have high values for the well-being variables. The UK comes 19th (scoring 6.8) in the ranking and Burundi comes 156th at the bottom (scoring 2.9), along with South Sudan and the Central African Republic. http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2018/
Research shows that happiness in not the result of bouncing from one joy to the next, but a combination of factors including genetic make-up, life circumstances, childhood, achievements, marital status, social relationships, even our neighbours. According to Action for Happiness, although our genes influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, circumstances like income and environment affect only 10%. The good news is that 40% is accounted for by our daily activities, our relationships and the conscious choices that we make. So our own actions can really make a difference.
Action for Happiness is committed to building a happier more caring society, asking you to be loving, compassionate and true, a giver of joy and a healer of sorrow, a creator of a new tomorrow. So if you want to embrace the mindset of the Scandinavian countries please join them http://www.actionforhappiness.org/why-happiness
We can also learn from the East and the concept of Ikigai (pronounced ick-ee-guy) which roughly translates as a reason for being. It originates from the Japanese island of Okinawa, which has the largest population of centenarians in the world. Ikigai is the convergence of four primary elements: What you love (your passion); What the world needs (your mission); What you are good at (your vocation); What you can get paid for (your profession).
Each individual’s ikigai is personal to them and specific to their lives, values and beliefs. It reflects the inner self while simultaneously creating a mental state in which to feel at ease.
In their book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret To A Long And Happy Life, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles break down the ten rules that can help anyone find their ikigai:
- Stay active and don’t retire
- Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
- Only eat until you are 80 per cent full
- Surround yourself with good friends
- Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
- Smile and acknowledge people around you
- Reconnect with nature
- Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive.
- Live in the moment
- Follow your ikigai
In recent years there have been substantial advances in the science of well-being and we now have an opportunity to use this evidence to make better choices and to increase well-being in our personal lives, homes, schools, workplaces and communities.
The research shows that we need a change of priorities, both at the societal level and as individuals. Happiness and fulfilment come less from material wealth and more from relationships; less from focussing on ourselves and more from helping others; less from external factors outside our control and more from the way in which we choose to react to what happens to us.
A recent study by Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research have found that people who eat socially are more likely to feel better about themselves. They do not know precisely why, but ‘it is clear that this a regular social ritual, a moment of union and communion in our often chaotic lives. It can be a place of conversation, storytelling and closeness’.
A study from the University of Michigan revealed that digital contact is not a replacement for face-to-face contact. The study revealed that those who made social contact with friends and family at least 3 times a week had the lowest level of depressive symptoms.
The meanttobehappy blog considers happiness as requiring action. We must do certain things. And as we do them consistently, over time, we reap the benefits of a happier life. Action takes effort. Doing requires determination and desire.
It identifies 4 categories of principles for happiness: Thinking happy; Believing happy; Doing happy; Living happy; For each, it lists 10 ways to put each into action, for example:
|10 ways to act yourself happy
|1.Do what’s important to you
2.Do random acts of kindness
3.Do things that matter
4.Do now. Don’t procrastinate. Act decisively
5.Do what’s right
6.Do. Act. Move
7.Do until you are
8.Do the work of building strong relationships
9.Do seek professional help…as needed
10.Do things outside our comfort zone
So, the good news is . . . ‘Happiness is the direct and unavoidable result of the correct application of those principles that produce it. By discovering the principles upon which happiness is predicated, we will predictably experience more of it’.
Our August challenge: What activations can your brand put in place to think happy, believe happy, do happy and live happy?