March 20th is many things: among them, the first day of Spring, and also the International Day of Happiness. It’s no surprise that these two days coincide: happiness is all about being in bloom, growth, a hopeful future after a cold winter.
First, some history behind the International Day of Happiness. Founded in 2013, this campaign is a global celebration to increase awareness of happiness as a "fundamental human goal." It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries. We're so excited to join in on the celebration and share our passion for happiness with our tribe.
At Fred and Far, we believe that each of us holds the key to our own happiness. And to unlock the spring of your life, you have to do two things: 1. Take responsibility for cultivating a positive mindset; and 2. Know yourself and your needs (so you can meet them). What do we mean? Let’s break it down.
Take Responsibility for Cultivating a Positive Mindset
We know you’ve heard us preach about it. Choose Happiness. Be Happy. Think Happy. Despite what life may have us believing at times, circumstance doesn’t define how we feel: our thoughts do. And our thoughts are completely within our own hands (and minds). When you start seeing the world through a lens of positivity and gratitude, the universe in turn begins to conspire in your favor. The next time something happens to you that triggers a series of negative thoughts, simply pause and ask yourself, “Is this true? Is this really really true? Do I want to believe this runaway train of negativity? Or is there a different way I could think about this?” Before your negative thoughts take over and spiral, breathe, breathe again, slow down, and consider an alternative point of view. A happy one.
If you’re having a hard time cultivating a positive mindset, it’s not your fault. We live in a culture where bad news and negativity reign supreme. Visit any news outlet and the bad news outnumbers the good news 100 to one. And here’s the sad truth: they are simply feeding us what we click on, read, and hunger for the most. In psychology it’s called a negativity bias: and we all have it. While we say we prefer good news, we’re actually attracted to bad news. Of course, just because that’s the way things are, doesn’t mean that’s the way it must be. We’ve started the social media campaign #GoodNewsIsReal to remind ourselves (and you) that there is good in the world, and it’s our responsibility to share it. This campaign is our latest effort to support a happiness mindset, where we choose happiness and help you, our tribe, do the same. We hope you’ll start sharing some good news on social media, and tagging us, so we can share it as well. You can also leave a comment with a link to good news!
Know Yourself and Your Needs
Happiness is deeply personal. There’s no one size fits all, no panacea, no single formula for happiness that is equally potent for two people (sorry big pharma). That means that in order to feel happy, we have to know ourselves and prescribe our own medicine.
Imagine you wanted to make someone you love happy. What would you do? Chances are, if you’re like us, you would think about that person, his or her preferences, your shared moments, his or her dreams and aspirations… and then once you’ve done ample research and reflection, you’d come up with something, whether it be a gift, an experience, a simple thoughtful gesture. The more personal, the better.
Now imagine you want to make yourself happy: why should the exercise be any different?
To be happy, you must first know yourself. And chances are, the older you’ve gotten, the more beholden you’ve become to your job, or your family, or countless other responsibilities or tethers of adulthood, the less you’ve asked yourself what makes you tick, what makes your inner light shine, what makes you bloom. And once you lose sight of yourself, your happiness starts to dissipate as well, because it’s hard to make yourself happy by accident.
So today, this first day of Spring and International Day of Happiness, here’s our challenge: fill out this prompt as an exercise in self-discovery, and then go out and do something to make yourself happy.