I find happiness in the arrival of spring, as the previously bare trees begin to bud, and crocuses and daffodils emerge from the earth bringing spots of bright color to the terrain. Finding happiness in little day-to-day things like this helps us program our brains to look for the positive in all situations. This in turn helps cultivate a sense of peace in our lives, enables us to feel more confident, and makes us more likely to spot opportunities when they cross our paths.
It takes some effort, but it’s worth it. Research has shown that making an effort to experience three positive emotions (e.g., happiness, appreciation, gratitude) for every negative one (e.g., anger, fear, performance anxiety) helps us to become more resilient and better able to navigate difficult situations. This article by Bryan Robinson offers some great tips for training your mind to achieve this golden ratio. It’s not about spiritual bypass or wishful thinking, but rather learning to re-frame our perceptions and reactions to various situations.
Another bonus it that, when we are more positive, it infects those around us in a good way! Harvard Medical School professor Nicholas Christakis, who researches the contagion of emotions, has found that having happy people living near you such as friends, next door neighbors, siblings, or spouses increases your probability of being happy. And positive feelings spread from person to person through this happiness network, so that your happiness reaches must farther than you imagine. Christakis says, “we’ve found that many emotions can pulse through social networks.”
So, how do you go about integrating more positivity into your life? Action for Happiness is an organization that offers practical ways of obtaining happiness. They provide tons of free resources that help to cultivate happiness, including simple actions that you can take every day, downloadable guide books, a free coaching program, and livestream events with inspiring speakers!
March 20 is the International Day of Happiness. It was adopted by the United Nations in 2012, and first celebrated in 2013 with the intention of bringing awareness to the importance of happiness for not only the well-being of individuals, but a human right that should be built into the public policy of all nations.
On this day, people are encouraged to celebrate by reflecting on what makes them happy, and how they can change the world through their positive actions. Other ways to celebrate include bringing happiness to others, donating to charity, or volunteering. Here’s wishing you a Happy Day of Happiness!