Can you be happy for 100 days in a row?

What made you happy today?

Perhaps you enjoyed a conversation with a friend, or had a really good work-out, or treated yourself to a cheeky tea and cake combo this avro!

Or maybe you are sitting there thinking back through your day and nothing springs to mind…  In which case, this could be the challenge you didn’t even know you were waiting for!

#100happydays

Did you find happiness in some yummy afternoon tea...

Did you find happiness in some yummy afternoon tea…

The first step to long-term happiness is finding small everyday things to be happy about.  Once you start to become more aware of the little things, they will soon add up!

The idea behind the #100happydays challenge is to take one picture each day of something that made you happy.  You can choose to post it on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram with the #100happydays hashtag, or email it into the foundation to avoid publicity, or even just keep it to yourself.  The hope is that by creating this daily ritual of stopping to share your happy moments, you will start becoming more mindful of the existence of such moments thus training yourself into the good habit of appreciating life.

Slipping into Neutral…

... or a really good workout ...

… or a really good workout …

Whenever I ask someone how their day is going, the general response is a half-shrug and an “alright”.  With our increasingly busy lives, hectic schedules, and constant rushing between activities it can be all too easy to slip into a groove.  Wake up, go to work, come home, have dinner, go to bed.  Same old, same old.

But is every day really the same?  Do you just go through the familiar motions without even a moment of happiness?  Or can you think of at least one moment today when you have a genuine smile?

If these questions are causing you any sense of doubt, perhaps it’s time to consider this challenge…

“But I don’t have time for this”

Just stop and think about this statement for a second:  you don’t have time to be happy?  Seriously?

... or maybe a care package from home?

… or maybe a care package from home?

I am pretty bad for schedule over-loading.  Between general PhD-ness, fieldwork, teaching, and general existence I find it pretty hard sometimes to keep on top of things (see an older post on the over-whale-ming side of PhD life).  Unfortunately, the first thing to suffer are the people around me, and before I know it the phrase “Sorry” is being text around several times a week along with time-related excuses.  And that is just for the locals – for my long-distance friends and family, it’s even harder as emails go weeks without a response.

This has been on my mind a lot, as my friend Janelle is submitting her PhD thesis today, and moving away from Perth next week.  We’re both aware that it’s going to become even harder to stay in touch over the coming months.  Janelle was one of the first friends I made in Australia, and I am really going to miss having her within convenient tea-and-whinging distance.  So when she suggested using the #100happydays idea as a way of keeping in touch, I was up for the challenge!

So how am I going?

See for yourself!  All my photos are available to see on my Instagram site.  I’m now up to day 20, a fifth of the way in, and even the Sceptical Scot in me can see it’s yielding results.  I’m really enjoying seeing what Janelle is up to, and having a smile over whatever has made her day!  Even though we’re in the same city, being in different universities makes day-to-day contact difficult.  But this means at least we can share the same emotion over the same event each day!

Even better, other friends are cashing in on the deal.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had several messages from people (both local regulars and far-away pals) saying how much they’ve enjoyed getting these snapshot glimpses into my life.  So I’m happy, Janelle’s happy, and our happiness is making other people happy.  Win!

… So I’ll ask you again.  What made YOU happy today? 🙂