So today is the first ever International Day of Happiness. I heard about it through my inbox this in an email from Daily Good, which is often a bright spot to my day. Mark Williamson wrote a story for the International Day of Happiness (which I really want to call the International Happiness Day because that unnecessary preposition in there feels very unnatural) listing his Manifesto for a Happier World. It’s well worth reading.
I love this idea. I love that over the last decade or two, there’s been this call for research into positive psychology, for getting back to roots, to people, to good values.
Because modern society is sick. We’re busier, sleeping less, stressing more, fatter, unhappier, unhealthier, less satisfied, more connected (digitally) and yet more lonely, and we are constantly bombarded by messages of negativity and sensationalized awful from the media.
And I’m thrilled and people are calling for a counter movement to all of that.
For my own part, I stopped watching the news years ago, after I ODed on 9/11 coverage. I disconnected from the toxic people in my life. I started making more time for the things that are important to me (which is largely writing). I’ve made efforts to take better care of myself, both with a healthy diet and exercise and with making sure I get adequate sleep (most of the time). I’ve enacted staunch boundaries with my day jobs so that they don’t overflow into everything else (as much as I can). I’ve made a concerted effort to be nicer to myself, more understanding of my own limitations. And I’ve done my best to appreciate the small things.
And I can tell a difference. I’m calmer, less stressed, more satisfied with life (despite the periodic flail, which I am convinced is a natural part of the creative process).
Am I happy all the time? No. Nor are you supposed to be. You can’t have the positive without the negative for contrast. I read a quote the other day that really highlighted this so well:
The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.
~Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
So I’m taking today as an opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to leading a happier, more joyful, wholehearted life.
Are you willing to take that challenge?