18 April 2014

Can You Be Happy For 100 Days?

My #100happydays Challenge

Are you a glass half-full person?
All too often in life, it's easier to focus on the negative rather than the positive.  Generally, I like to think of myself as a 'glass half-full' person but events of the last few months have taken their toll and my outlook has been somewhat clouded by a general shroud of emotional fog.  Finding things that made me happy has been somewhat of a challenge.

However, the introduction of a new exercise to my Happy Hounds dog training classes got me thinking and also happened to coincide with me seeing a facebook post about happiness...

Focusing on the positive

In my training classes it struck me that the human tendency seems to be to focus on the negative, mistakes or 'training disasters'.  If I asked a question like: "How has your week been with Fido?" I'd receive a range of answers, normally along the lines of: "Oh, Fido's been really naughty this week,"  "Fido won't stop chewing" or "Fido just ignores me when I ask him to do something." Somehow, the positive experiences weren't making it through into people's psyches. 

So, rather than starting my classes with a generic question about how the week has gone, all class members are encouraged to share a positive experience from their week.  It can be any thing that their dog has done to make them proud or happy, something they find cute about their dog, any improvements in training (no matter how small or incremental) or any training successes.  And, even if I do say so myself, this change in focus has had quite an impact - both on me and my classes.

Image: Parka, Weimaraner, focusing on his owner
Parka focuses on the positive
Classes start with even more of a positive vibe. Concentrating on and pinpointing the things that make us happy is good - not just for us, but for our dogs too.  It's amazing what a difference this subtle change in question has achieved.

All too often, we concentrate on 'what could have been', 'missed opportunities', 'life's annoyances' and before we know it, we're looking at life as a 'glass half empty.'  Quite frankly, this is exhausting - it saps the energy out of us, makes us concentrate on minutiae and ignore the bigger picture of the life that is happening to us now. Have we forgotten what it's like to be happy?

The challenge to be happy...

In my opinion, happiness is a transient state - fleeting moments in time.  But, what if all those fleeting moments could be captured?  Would they add up to make a solid state of happiness?

Image of 100 happy days website home page

Well, that's where the "100 Happy Days" challenge comes in. If you use social media at all, you will have probably seen some photos using the hashtag: #100happydays  The aim is to share a photo, every day, of something that makes you happy and to do this for 100 consecutive days.  The organisers hope/believe that by participating in, and completing, the challenge that happiness levels will increase.

I'm all for increasing happiness and getting my 'glass half-full' mojo back, so decided to start my challenge a week ago on 11 April.  I'm a bit of a shutter monkey and love taking photos with my iPhone, and I figured that I'd give the challenge a go.

Share the happiness

Collage of first 8 photos posted to my challenge
My first eight #100happydays
At the time of writing, I'm a week into the challenge and I can honestly say that, yes, I am feeling a tad happier. It may be early days, but I feel that this challenge will make a difference to how I feel.

I'm sharing my photos via Instagram and if you'd like to see what makes me happy on a daily basis, you can follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

And, if you decide to take the #100happydays challenge do let me know - the world could certainly do with more happiness to spread around.

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