COLUMBUS – Looking at the brighter side is not always easy when things get you down, but during August Ohioans and others around the country are being challenged to find ways to incorporate more happiness into their lives.
August is Happiness Happens Month, established by the Secret Society of Happy People. Founder Pamela Gail Johnson says while there are plenty of unpleasantries in the world, there are plenty of joyful things too. She suggests trying to start and end the day on a positive note.
“Even if that means not looking online, on our Twitter feed, or watching the news before going to bed,” she says. “Go watch a sitcom, or sit and meditate, or read a funny book, or talk to somebody who makes you laugh. Try to do something so you do find that little moment of happiness.”
The group has a Happiness Month Challenge, which encourages people to do something happy each day like wearing a favorite shirt, buying someone a cup of coffee or planning a mini-vacation. Johnson says the idea is to get more Americans to discuss their happiness, and celebrate it with others.
It’s not that most people don’t realize they’re happy, Johnson says, it’s just that they minimize the “small things.” She adds that happiness typically comes from tiny moments.
“When you clean out your closet, you’re not necessarily thinking that’s a happy moment. But the truth is after you’ve done that experience you’re probably very satisfied, you’re probably relieved its done,” she says. “The next morning, when you go to find something, at that point you become extremely happy because you’ve completed a task.”
Johnson acknowledges that it’s okay to get “down in the dumps” on occasion.
“Being angry, being sad, you’re going to have all the emotions. Nobody’s going to be happy just all the time,” she says. “That’s just not realistic. The question is can we be happy just half the time, or a little bit more to keep it in balance.”
Some of the drivers of happiness, according to the 2015 World Happiness Report, include budgeting with well-being in mind, eating healthy and exercising, seeking social support and increasing generosity.