Google trends shows strong upward movement around the term Happiness. Of course, this is driven by uses of the word such as Quarterback Brett Smith finding happiness in Wyoming but overall, the trend is indicative of a world that is seeking to learn more about happiness and endeavoring to find ways to become and remain happy.
My friend’s husband, Dr. Celestino Fernandez has begun teaching a class at the University of Arizona on the “Pursuit of Happiness.” Next semester will be the third offering and each time, the class has maxed out with over 500 students. This prompted Celestino to conduct a series of outside lectures on Happiness and each time, there have been overflow crowds. Frankly, he’s a brilliant scholar and many choose to attend simply to hear Dr. Fernandez but this pursuit of happiness has become a big deal.
Disruption has also become a big deal. Everyday I read an article on the next disruptive technology or business model from crowd souring to USB ports to eatwith.com. It appears in every conventional model or idea, the new economy is hacking a direct, more immediate, cheaper way to accomplish the same things. So why not approach this subject of happiness with the same energy and verve. Let’s hack it directly – now.
Here is my 2014 wish for all of you, courtesy of Dr. Fernandez and others’ academic research:
- Make time for family and friends. Schedule it on a calendar now.
- Get moving – preferably outdoors within nature. Go for a New Year’s day hike or walk preferably with family or friends.
- Find quiet time. Try meditation if only for a few minutes while looking at something green and growing. Put this reminder on your scheduling device.
- Create “beautiful” spaces inside or outside of your home. This is a place that will make you smile when you see it. Take a look around and plan a project to accomplish this year. Is it a garden? Making a room more serene with a different color? Adding comfortable cushions to sit on?
- Smile and laugh more. It’s contagious. Rent a funny movie.
- Help others, give to those less fortunate and volunteer – any form of doing for others increases one’s happiness. Figure out which causes you are more passionate about and then seek out organizations that address those causes. What volunteer opportunities do they have? Is this yet another way to spend time with friends and family?
- No matter your faith, practicing spirituality leads to increased well-being. Pray. Go to church if you have one. Find one if you don’t. Read about ways that others have benefitted from incorporating more spirituality into their lives.
- Practice compassion and forgiveness. Let go of emotions that keep you tied to unhappiness and stress.
- While money doesn’t “buy” happiness, it is does help one to feel secure. Cut your costs. Make a budget. Consider developing a financial plan.
- Take care of your health. Being in good physical and mental health has a direct correlation to well-being.
In the language of the Hopi, “Soosokmuy sinmuy amungem mongvastiqw pu’ piw haalayyani”
Translated: For all the people let there be prosperity and happiness