It is a cruel cold world out there this Monday – a row over sexism comments in football , suicide bombers on the metros in Moscow, Dutch man on trial for murder, carers who eat the food meant for patients … Today is officially Blue Monday.
No wonder that some visionaries have started Action for Happiness. This group aims to change society’s outlook and priorities to make the world a happier place. They want to achieve a shift in culture: no longer should we pursue the rat-race, aim for more and better material things in life.
Funnily enough, Lord Layard (one of the founding members of this group) is actually a professor in Economics. He specialises in the topics like unemployment and education. He is convinced that the ultimate aim of public policy should be to make people happier.
Happiness should affect everything not just our individual lives, but how we build our homes, how we act in our work places, amongst our communities and how we teach in our schools.
I could be cynical about this, it is very convenient when unemployment is soaring and let’s face it happiness is not going to pay the electricity bill or any other bill for that matter. Then again, nor is unhappiness. So let’s play along, the BBC got on the bandwagon and it challenging you to join the happiness movement.
For those who cannot be asked to download the PDF – here the short cut:
Be Mindful. Be Grateful. Be Kind.
Simple? Yes because it is. Happiness is basic, it is the only thing worth pursuing when you strip all the other things away: wealth, power, romance.
In the BBC challenge under Be Mindful, they suggest you meditate for ten minutes a day. I am not a big fan of meditation especially when you are forced to do this and like yoga it is all too arty for me. Ten minutes of doing nothing, just enjoying doing nothing – that I can appreciate. No stress about having to achieve something. Just sitting around, day dreaming.
Be Grateful, they suggest you write down three good things that happened in your day. Why don’t we start with one… A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I played this game: “What was the best part of your day.” just before we went to sleep. One rule only: you are not allowed to say Now! The challenge also suggests you write a letter to someone you are grateful for. I suggest you write a postcard (much brighter and easier to fill) to a friend you haven’t spoken to. E-cards don’t count – you lazy people.
Be Kind. Do we need to go into this? The BBC gives you a list of suggestion, in case all the cynical cells in your body have eroded any trace of common courtesy.
I leave you with this, hope it makes you a little happier today. ( Unless you don’t like Rufus, in which case… ah well, keep on smiling!)