#100happydays

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I just learned about the #100happydays project through Newly Swissed and I am fascinated and also, what seems, the last person on the planet to hear about it.

The creator of the project, Dmitry Golubnichy, lives in Zurich and developed the concept last fall after visiting with friends. He was complaining about his life and his problems when his friends nearly hit him upside the head–his life was amazing, couldn’t he see that?! Well, actually, no. Like most of us he was caught up in the minutiae of the day-to-day and had lost perspective of what was wonderful and beautiful in his life. He decided to document what made him happy for the next 100 days, positing a picture of a piece of happiness onto his preferred social media platform.

blooms

 

lamb

What started out as a personal challenge has become a global movement, though he is reluctant to use that exact word. Indeed, people from over 170 countries now participate in the hashtag challenge and as of today there are almost 17,000,000 posts on Instagram alone. That’s million with an m. 

Through email exchanges with participants and large surveys, Golubnichy, originally from Latvia, found that people who completed the full 100-day project reported feeling at least 20% happier than they did at the beginning of the challenge. It’s an exercise in relishing the little joys and small happinesses that we encounter each day.

brunch

 

Adam

So, what are your thoughts? Initially, I think this is a great idea, especially for finding ways to not take our blessings and joys for granted. I live a pretty grand life and I think this challenge would help me appreciate and accept the little victories.

On the other hand, I’m more and more convinced that our goal as humans is not only to pursue happiness, or even to be happy all the time. Constant happiness does not make us more well-rounded or interesting people. We need sadness and humility and heartbreak to feel life in its fullest capacity and denying those contrasting feelings isn’t healthy or satisfying. I really love this quote from The Good Life that helps explain more what I mean:

Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.

In a personal sense, this philosophy directly applies to the past year. Adam and I have been in Switzerland for a full year as of this weekend and it certainly has not all been happy times and upbeat days. There were a lot of low points, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a good or meaningful experience, because it has. It has made me grow and change in innumerable ways and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities we’ve had. I haven’t been happy for a full year but I am satisfied with what has transpired, both good and bad.

These two approaches are very conflicting ideas, yet both valid and deserving of attention and debate. In some ways, I’m sure this falls on the glass half-full or half-empty spectrum, but I’m not ready to consider myself a pessimist simply because I don’t believe in constantly striving for happiness. I do, however, like the idea of finding pleasure in the everyday and celebrating small joys simply for finding perspective and contentment.

What about you? Do you lean one way more than the other? Have you participated in the challenge? I would love to hear how it went! Or, are you thinking about trying it? Should we all?

(top two images via, quote via)

 

9 thoughts on “#100happydays

  1. Interesting that the “happy” project came about not from necessarily a lack of happiness, but from complaining to his friends, which are two different things in my mind. Perhaps instead of BE HAPPY it should be “be happy or stop being negative.” One involves doing something while the other requires you to stop doing something. Booms. I just invented the next international trend. #whine-free-100. The catch is that its not possible to take a picture of something you have stopped doing so there is no use of social media. You just stop being negative . . .

    • I like your alternative a lot because one of the elements I don’t like about the #100happydays project is that you must always have your phone near you. It’s further perpetuating the dependence we have on technology and social media, which I understand will help hold you accountable, but it still creates an ever-increasing sense of codependency on devices. #whinefree100 it is!

  2. Kristina-you brighten my day each morning as I read your blog!!I liked your description of how we deal with our happiness and then not so happy times-Saying * it will be a good day today *helps-

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  4. I have this same position on weather. Those who live in places where the weather is a constant sunny and 75 might have it ok, but they’re not whole. I need to live in a place where there are 4 seasons. My contention is that you can’t truly appreciate the 75 and sunny days unless you’ve lived thru the 98, with 90% humidity and the 5 degree, but -15 with windchill days. Once you have experienced the high’s and lows you can’t understand how precious a happy 75 and sunny!!!

    • COMPLETELY agree. That’s why people in San Diego are so weird… Just kidding. But, seriously, I think you need the comparison to really appreciate the good stuff when you have it. Although, the extremes in Kansas City are downright insane. I liked those found in Charleston a little better, especially in the winter : )

  5. I also have to comment that it’s a little weird seeing you and A-team communicate with each other on the Blog. I like that Adam reads it and it makes total sense for him to comment, but still I find it strangely humerous. I picture you too discussing your posts over dinner and exchanging verbal “comments” not seeing them written here.

    • ha. It does seem a little funny, but I often don’t tell Adam what I’m going to write about and then he reads it at work and then he comments and so on. We also still talk about it at dinner : )

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