A little while ago I completed the 100 Happy Days Challenge. The idea of the challenge was to post a picture of something that made you happy to social media, or if you didn’t want to publicise it you could email it to the Foundation privately. “Cool idea,” I thought, “But not really something I’m interested in.”
Then I opened the website and the first thing it said was “Can you be happy for 100 days in a row? You don’t have time for this, right?”
And they were right on the money. Somewhere deep down, my attitude was reflecting the idea that I had more important things to do than express happiness. In a way, I was saying I was “too busy to be happy”. How crazy is that, right? I mean, if you can’t be happy now, when can you be? Sometimes no matter what’s going on in life, we just have to take a moment to smell the roses. (Especially when we think we’re too busy).
I decided to post my photos on facebook, using my phone to take the photo and uploading it with the hashtag #100happydays. I was really excited to do it, and I made the resolution to take photos of both objects and experiences that brought me joy in every day life. It did get a little uninspiring after I’d been doing it for a while, but I’d made a public commitment so I kept up with it. And do you know what I learned?
Life is full of things that make you happy. I resolved never to photograph the same subject twice, so I had to actively seek out things that made me happy. As I went about my day, somewhere at the back of my mind was looking for things to revel in. And the closer I looked, the more there was to see. Some days I took several photos of different subjects and submitted them all at once.
And what’s more, I know that I brought a lot of joy to other people as well! I got so many comments and likes on facebook from people who were cheering me on, who appreciated the things I expressed gratitude for, or who were just happy that I was happy. People I hadn’t spoken to much got to know me quite well, and a couple of them have even resolved to undergo their own 100 Happy Day Challenge.
100 days might sound like a lot, but by the end of it I was so sad to stop. (I did stop, though, because I didn’t to lose all my friends by overloading their walls with an endless stream of cat pictures.) A couple of months is a great amount of time to set up the habit of practicing gratitude every day. It increased my awareness of the world and the pleasure I take from bearing witness to this miraculous ball of atoms we call earth. And, to sweeten the deal even further, there’s an option to have my photos printed in a book so I have a tangible reminder of the time I made the effort to express gratitude every day.
Happiness is worth pursuing, even (and especially) when it gets hard. Why don’t you make the time to try it too? If this is something that’s interested you, start it right now, this very minute. It can be tempted to put it off for another time, but if you can’t be happy now, when can you be? Grab your phone or camera and go take your first picture. And then link me to it! I’d love to see it, and to cheer for you in your own challenge!
Looking forward to seeing your photos everyone! Keep happy y’all!