Happy New Year!

by Vicki on January 10, 2014

Happiness. We all seek it.

We include it in many of our greetings. Some of us seem better at achieving it than others.

What is it? A mindset? A mood? A way of looking at things?

Over the Christmas break, I watched a documentary on Netflix called HAPPY –

HAPPY is a feature-length documentary that leads viewers on a journey across 5 continents in search of the keys to happiness. The film addresses many of the fundamental issues we face in today’s society: how do we balance the allure of money, fame and social status with our needs for strong relationships, health and personal fulfillment? Through remarkable human stories and cutting‐edge science, HAPPY leads us toward a deeper understanding of why and how we can pursue more fulfilling, healthier and happier lives.

HAPPY takes the viewer from the bayous of Louisiana to the deserts of Namibia, from the beaches of Brazil to the mountains of Bhutan. Listen to the wisdom of a Kolkata rickshaw driver, the compassion of a volunteer at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying and the knowledge of some of the world’s leading happiness researchers. Witness as middle school students applaud the bravery of their classmates during a moving presentation on bullying. HAPPY combines real‐life human drama and cutting‐edge science to provide insights into the mysteries of happiness.

In 2005, director Tom Shadyac (Liar Liar, Patch Adams, Bruce Almighty) handed Roko Belic a New York Times article entitled, “A New Measure of Well – Being From a Happy Little Kingdom.” The article ranked the United States 23rd on its list of happiest countries. Shadyac, himself dissatisfied with his luxurious Beverly Hills lifestyle, asked Belic to make a documentary investigation into the origins of human happiness – – and why the U.S. ranks so low. This simple inquiry led to a global exploration of happiness research.

Happy – A Documentary Trailer from Wadi Rum Films on Vimeo.

If you are seeking to increase your happiness in 2014 and don’t want to take the time to watch the documentary, here are the keys points to know about happiness according to the filmmakers:

• Connectedness: Strong relationships with friends, family and community make people happier
• Generosity: Giving increases happiness
• Novelty: Breaking out of routine makes people happier
• Play: People who experience physical aerobic exercise are happier
• Flow: Engaging in a fully absorbing hobby makes people happier
• Health and longevity: People who are happy are healthier and even live longer.
The formula for happiness is not the same for everyone, but research shows that almost everyone can become happier.

I found the film to be both humbling and inspiring. Humbling in the sense that it portrayed people living in very very challenging environments and circumstances relative to the average Canadian. Inspiring in the sense that many of the people portrayed still managed to find much to be happy about in their lives.

The documentary offers much food for thought and practical suggestions for action to increase your happiness going forward.

I wish all our readers a very HAPPY 2014.

Reference: www.TheHappyMovie.com

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