On April 22nd, 2012, I began a little project that would change my life. I had my first DSLR camera, a Canon Rebel t2i that was spending more time in the closet than around my neck, and a great idea: to document things that made me happy, at least one a day, to post on Facebook. I would do this for 30 days, and see what happened. This was the original “cover photo” I used:
Now, of course, it’s 289 days later and I haven’t stopped. After 30 days of publicly posting, I formed a small private group on Facebook called The Happiness Challenge, made up mostly of people who had shown an interest in my project. I went with a closed group because as I continued posting, I realized that my posts were becoming more private, almost like an online diary, recording not just external things, but my feelings and emotions as well. The people of The Happiness Challenge have become some of my favorite in the world, and my day isn’t complete without spending time in the group, enjoying their posts and comments.
Hello, HappinessThe simple act of finding something- even just one thing- each day to be grateful for was life-changing. Not only was I immediately happier, but the identification of my blessings brought even more blessings to my life- some of which were tangible. A new car. A new, beautiful home for me and my husband- our “Casa Happy”.
Do it Yourself
Thinking of doing your own Happiness Challenge? I’m here to help. To start, when my 30 days were up, I wrote a sort of Welcome Post for new members of the group, which I’m happy to share with you here:
It’s occurred to me that some of you might not know what to post in The Happiness Challenge. I realize that not all of you are here to “join in”- and that’s fine, lurkers are most welcome. But for the former, I thought I’d share some tips with you, mostly based on my completion of my own 30 days:
- Any form will do. I chose a photography challenge because I wanted to get to know my camera better. But you don’t have to. You could post: a YouTube video of your favorite song, a link to a News article that brightened your day, a favorite quote, a single word.
- At its very core, the Challenge is about Gratitude. Ask yourself what you are thankful for- however small- in your present life. That’s your happiness.
- Happiness can be in the smallest things. I know my posts can be intimate and philosophical, and I know I have a tendency to write paragraphs and paragraphs- but you don’t have to. This is not a competition. Finding happiness in the most mundane of things can be the most beautiful kind of happiness of all.
- There will be bad days. There were days all I wanted to do was post a blank photo captioned “NOTHING Makes Me Happy”, days when sadness and discontent seemed to cloud any hope of happiness. But if you try hard enough, you’ll find that there is always a way to turn it around- and find that sadness can be something to be happy about.
- If you’re having a really bad day and need someone to talk to, contact me. I will try to help.
- Don’t worry what people think. I realize this is easier said than done, especially with such a public forum, but I promise you this: people will surprise you with their hearts. I didn’t know how many “lurkers” were viewing my 30-days until after it was done- and I received dozens of private messages and emails of thanks from people who didn’t leave a single “Like” or comment.
- Don’t be discouraged. Some people will mock you, poke fun at you, or try to rain on your parade… and the happier you get, the harder they try. Don’t let them. Send them love. Remember that they’re usually the ones who need happiness the most.
- Be prepared for changes. It’s tough to say how much I changed after my 30 days, because I was already quite the sunny girl before I started. But I’ve noticed that more people- complete strangers- have been smiling at me. People are more helpful. People are friendlier. This happy thing, apparently, is contagious.
Happy Dose is taking “this happy thing” a step further- our way to spread more joy, encourage others to embark on their own journeys to happiness, and just put a smile on your face.
I hope you find some happiness in these pages.