A few months back, my Sunday night yoga instructor Ali shared with us that she had just finished watching a documentary that she wanted to recommend to all of us. It had a very simple name… one that caught my ear immediately.
Happy. Plain and simple… Happy.
The movie itself is available via Netflix, for purchase via Amazon, or for rent via the Happy website. As the movie reveals over and over again, the entire world is looking to be happy. That’s their primary goal… knowing that there’s a high likelihood that you too are chasing “happy”, I thought I’d share how you can find this great film.
Why did I want to watch this movie? I truly believe in the pursuit of happiness, especially as my friend Ben Franklin describes it below.
[pinterest]I am actively working each and every day to achieve happiness, and if this movie held any secrets about how to get there, I wasn’t going to miss it. I also believe that Ali shared this title with us as a gift. One that I couldn’t resist opening up.
Why am I recommending it to you? It’s touching, and an excellent reminder that happiness is within your grasp. I warn you you’ll smile, and if you’re sappy like me you might even have a few tears, but it’s all worth it.
I’m going to give you a few highlights below, but you really need to watch it to get the full gist! I also took pictures as I was viewing the film… so you’ll see a few shots of “happy” people throughout today’s post.
The film opens with a visit to a small town far, far away… where a man who owns a rickshaw is talking about how happy he is. This story is even more compelling because he is not the type of man Western society would think to be joyful. He lives in a shack with a large family, and is often treated poorly by his clients. He shares that the best part of his day is when he sees his son waiting for him when he comes home from work. He tells the camera that while they don’t have much money, they are very rich. That’s something to ponder…
Also of interest, the scientists also shared that physical activity is one of the best ways to generate dopamine, a happiness-enducing chemical. And, they shared that when these attempts at physical activity are NOVEL, that’s when we’re the most happy. This makes sense when I think of different exercises that have brought me the most joy: Yoga Around the World, Zumba at Fitbloggin, and Blindfolded Yoga to name a few. Each of them were more than just a treadmill exercise, they were novel… and they brought me joy! I think of the folks that completed the Bolder Boulder this week, and those that love those Tough Mudder races… it’s because they’re unique and bring happiness!
America is richer than ever, but as a society, we aren’t happier. Studies show we’re about the same, despite the increase in dollars that we’re earning. I find it no coincidence that the most popular class at Harvard (at the time this movie was released) was Positive Psychology. In other words, the super smart kids at Harvard… yep, they want to learn about happiness too! They’re trying to figure it out, too!
Another fun fact I picked up through watching the film is that 50% of your ability to be happy is based upon your genes. And, surprisingly, only 10% is circumstance (your job, your environment, etc.) That still leaves 40% for intentional activity… which is how you choose to live. That’s right! 40% of your ability to be happy is associated with your actions.
It’s always fun to have your beliefs backed up by science. Studies from this group also showed significant impact upon happiness tied to individuals who mediated on gratitude and compassion. (It works! I knew it!)
I was a little surprised to hear that Japan is considered the most unhappy of wealthy, industrialized countries worldwide. I wouldn’t have necessarily thought this… but the reason is that they work too hard. People are literally dying because they are working too hard. They call this epidemic Karoshi, and I found it heartbreaking. Stress and overwork is causing death. If that’s not a wake up call, I don’t know what it…
Ever wonder what made you happy before you spent countless hours online, or even what life was like before electricity? This movie shows that you don’t need anything like this to be happy.
Here are a few things that can bring you happiness… and they’re 100% free:
Have new experiences
Spend time with friends and family
Do things that are meaningful
Appreciate what you have.
Bottom Line: When it comes to happiness, the more you have, the more everyone has. Rent this movie. Enjoy it. And, seize your happiness!
What makes you happy?