It may have escaped your attention but this Sunday (March 20th) is International Day of Happiness. That’s right, a day dedicated to that most pleasurable of emotions – being happy. Thousands of people around the world from London to Libya and Kenya to Kazakhstan will be taking part in activities designed to make them that bit happier – and we dare you to do the same! To make sure we could get ourselves as happy as possible on this most enjoyable of days, we consulted real life Happiness Expert Dr Andy Cope, author of Be Brilliant Everyday and founder of training company www.artofbrilliance.co.uk. Here are his eleven Happiness Dares for you:
- Give a 7-second hug! The average hug lasts 2.1 seconds. However, for the love to transfer, a hug has to last 7 seconds or longer. So hug everyone you love and hang on for the full 7 seconds (although we recommend not counting out loud or it might spoil the effect!)
- Practice the 10/5 principle: This means smiling at everyone who comes within 10 feet of you and making eye contact & saying ‘hi’ to everyone within 5 feet (yes, even on the London underground).
3. Set yourself a HUGG: A HUGG is a Huge Unbelievably Great Goal; this is something that is massive and that inspires you (eg, to write your novel, to run a marathon, to be the best mum in the world, etc). Work out what you need to do to make it happen, then do it.
- Write a list of the top 10 happiest moments of your life: The general rule is that happiness comes from doing stuff rather than accumulating stuff. You’ll realise that most of the things on your list are ‘experiences’ rather than ‘products’. Set yourself a goal to have more experiences.
5. Say ‘yes’ to everything – all day! We dare you.
6. Read a bedtime story to your kids. And read it like it is the most exciting book in the world. Yes, even if they’re 24 and 19!
- Three good things: At the end of the day, spend 5 minutes writing down three things that have gone well today, and the reasons why.
- Commit to doing some exercise: Don’t kill yourself, 20 minutes a day is fine (it might feel like a chore at the time but it releases all sorts of lovely chemicals which will infuse you with an inner glow).
9. Listen…and I mean really listen to people. Stop finishing their sentences. Tune in and show an interest.
- Watch out for the 90/10 principle: This states that 10% of your happiness depends on things that happen to you while a whopping 90% depends on how you react to these events. Make a conscious choice to have a positive attitude.
- A letter of gratitude: This is the ultimate happiness dare. Think of someone who has really helped you (someone who has given you time or supported you). Write them a letter, from the heart, that says how wonderful they are and what they mean to you. Then read it to them.
So happy International Day of Happiness to all our Belle About Town readers. Let us know how you get on!