Last weekend, at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival, I saw the film, Happy. It is a feature-length documentary that takes viewers to India, Bhutan, Denmark, Brazil, Japan, and Southwest Louisiana to explore the mindsets, cultures and habits that lead to happiness.
They also interview researchers in the growing fields of positive psychology and neuroscience who describe what they are learning about the ingredients for happiness.
The filmmakers have declared February 11 as World Happy Day and screenings of the film will take place around the globe. I recommend the film. Check out the website to find screenings in your area.
Research findings suggest that we have anywhere from 20 - 60% control over our own happiness. What that means for me, not having been born with the happy gene, is that I must take conscious steps to cultivate happiness.
If the word happy bothers you, choose another word to focus on, like contentment, ease, well-being or aliveness.
The film concludes that we can take active steps to cultivate happiness, such as:
- Gratitude - Pay attention to the small things that you are grateful for each day
- Novelty - Try something new
- Community - Spend time with family, friends, spiritual communities and/or neighbors
- Flow - Find activities or work in which you are so engrossed that you lose track of time
- Optimism - Notice your perspective. If you catch yourself being pessimistic, try to turn your thinking around
- Mindfulness - Practice being in the present moment, rather than in the future or the past
- Generosity - Help others
Happiness is contagious. So if you live in more ease and aliveness, others around you will too.
To learn more about these and other ways to cultivate happiness, you can read one of the many books that have been written in recent years, watch the film, and work with a coach.*
One way I am going to up my happiness quotient this weekend is through pursuing novelty and community. You will find me in New Orleans at the Krewe du Vieux Mardi Gras parade with friends and family.
What will you do to pursue happiness today?
*See resources below
|Happy movie poster|