According to Online National Statistics, just less than 1 in 4 of us living in the UK consider ourselves to be unhappy.
One 27 year old thinks that he has the answer- and sets you a challenge: For 100 days, can you take a photo of something that made you happy, each single day, and post it to either Facebook, Twitter or privately on the 100HappyDays website?
Called #100HappyDays, Dmitry Golubnichy started the challenge after realising he needed a big change. In his opinion, "being happy is a choice and everyone can be happy just by appreciating little things in life one has". It seems that he is not alone in his opinion, as 350'000 people world-wide are taking part in the challenge, whilst the hash tag continues to circle Twitter and Facebook.
Should you consider undertaking the challenge too, or is this just another social media trend?
As MD of The Coaching Academy, I know that our coaches help their clients to get more out of life using well-researched life coaching practices, so I had a real interest in understanding how the challenge might help others with that mission. In light of many aspects of these practices, it's possible to uncover many ways that the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge may be more powerful and helpful for our lives than first meets the eye.
How you answer the following 3 questions may be a sign that it could help you.
- How Much Do You Focus on the Negatives in Life?
What's your first thought when you are making your breakfast and thinking about the day ahead?
"I wonder what will go wrong today?"
"I wonder what could go right today?"
During the course of a day, we may choose to focus our attention in specific directions, whether on our long-term goals, on our responsibilities, or even on just surviving through the day.
In this information-rich, digital age, we can be bombarded with negativity from all angles throughout the day. Personally, I avoid reading or watching the news first thing in the morning, as the news tends rarely to be positive. It's perhaps not that surprising that many of us find ourselves focusing only on the negatives setting off from this foot.
The 100 Days of Happiness may not only make you realise how much you focus on the negative, you may realise how much you have been missing as a result.
- Can You Spot the Hidden Treasures of Everyday Life?
By developing the habit of purposefully looking for something that makes you happy every day, you may find that you start to see them everywhere you go, without much extra effort needed.
Imagine that you have your heart set on buying a red mini. You're excited about the prospect, so it's in the forefront of your mind. Do you then spot red minis everywhere you go, and much more than you may have originally?
It could be that the process of the Reticular Activating System, or RAS has come into play.
Each day, our conscious minds filter the background noise of life and choose exactly what to focus on.
In this instance, you may not be aware that you are choosing to pay attention to the red minis more than you did before you went to the showroom.
The same can be said for happy moments in your life. By starting the 100 happy Days Challenge, you will spot happy moments, which will appear more and more as you train your mind, your RAS, to pay attention to them.
Eventually, what you choose to pay attention to may have a strong-hold on the way that you view the world, and how you respond to it.
We could see the challenge, therefore as training our minds the way an athlete may train for their sport: to achieve happiness, we have to regularly practice it and master the skill.
- Can You Choose Happiness When It Seems Impossible?
Viktor Frankl, a neurologist and psychotherapist as well as a Holocaust survivor, talks in his book, "A Man's Search for Meaning" about noticing how his fellow prisoners of Auschwitz incredibly found hope in small moments of happiness when living and surviving in the worst possible circumstance. In his book, he talks about how he noticed in the behaviour of his fellow prisoners, that it is possible to find a small moment of happiness in any given situation.
From the sun gleaning through the trees or the memory of a loved one, he noted how those moments can empower the human mind to build resilience and keep focused on the goal, however big or small, and despite any odds.
Have you ever felt hopeless about a goal you have set upon, or a challenge that you need to overcome? Maybe you want to write off the day and start again tomorrow?
By justifying a resigning response like this, what are you missing and how is it affecting the way you experience life?
Viktor Frankl found that our experiences of the challenges in life are always relative, but as people, our minds may be all the same in their capacity to respond as we choose.
The 100 Days of Happiness Challenge can be more than just a social media trend if you fully commit to the approach: there may be an opportunity to train yourself to find happiness, develop resilience and overcome any obstacle to live the life you want.
Could you take on the 100 Happy Days Challenge? Do you feel that it could help you?
What made you happy today?