I co-founded a non-profit called The Happiness Assembly. The Happiness Assembly is dedicated to advancing the prioritization of happiness in individual citizens and governments across the globe. We like to say that we infect the universe with our happiness and we hope to say that it inspires others to be happier and spread their happiness with others along the way. These photos were taken outside the United Nations on March 20th, 2014 by one of our co-founders and my best friend, Bethany, and sadly I'm just getting around to posting them.
I've been thinking about this idea of happiness more than usual lately. How one situation can happen and you lose all hope in the world, but then suddenly wake up and realize that life is so beautiful that it’s a waste to be drowning in sadness. We are given one life. One incredible, beautiful and magical life and it is our responsibility to live out that life where we are as fulfilled, as motivated and as passionate and we can possibly be. I’ve lived a very complex life for my young age and have been put in a lot of trialing situations that most people would deem abnormally difficult. However, that is life and all people go through hard situations. As someone that usually has an abundance of energy and a glow of happiness, I try and take the time to analyze and reflect on situations that may occur, how I could have acted differently and what I learned from that experience. In return, my happiness comes back to me very quickly. This is not the case for most.
I think there is a serious problem with mental health in our world and particularly with the mental health of kids in America. A few days ago, several articles came out on the 74 shootings in America since Newtown. Many of these articles also included a lump of data regarding the shooters backgrounds and which anti-depressants they were taking and what many of them had in common. Far beyond the issue of guns and The Second Amendment, I think the deeper issue surrounds mental health. I can't say that I didn't almost have an aneurysm reading about these troubling statistics. My heart was deeply hurt and deeply broken knowing that there is such a problem with mental health in our world and it is not being addressed to the capacity that it could or should.
I’ve recently been apart of a beta trial called v2 started by a really incredible entrepreneur, Sanjiv Sidhu. v2 offers a unique new tool to help rewire unconscious beliefs and behaviors to create lasting transformation, despite circumstances. Sanjiv speaks about how most people know how to do something, but actually making them do it is extremely difficult. It seems very rudimentary, but you’d be surprised by how helpful it is for it to be laid out. For instance, you can know how to eat healthy, but it doesn’t necessary mean that you will actually eat healthy. Sanjiv has designed an online tool that allows for you to track your behavior and beliefs over a series of time and how you can systematically rewire your personal thinking and thought. After my 90-day beta trail, I will be figuring out how to incorporate Sanjiv’s v2 tools with our happiness work into a usable model for curriculum for schools in America; something I believe we are both very passionate about. These values associated with empowerment, happiness and wellbeing, despite circumstances, are incredibly important and as we can see from the state of our current affairs, are often overlooked.
There is a silver lining. There is currently a global level of consensus floating around the world stating that happiness is something that is important. Once the resolutions at the United Nations were passed and thank you to Pharrell’s “Happy” song, one can only hope that more people are taking into account what it is to be happy. That consensus now is currently supporting the growth of happiness by supporting these efforts. The global stage that is supporting movements and actions such as new measurements, new initiatives and new possibilities are all shaping what the future of happiness can hold. There is a new online course out at UC Berkeley called “The Science of Happiness” that focuses on the theories of positive psychology and aims to provide practical lessons for students. It is apparently one of UC Berkeley’s top five most popular online courses and its free to audit and open to anyone with internet access around the world through their nonprofit online initiative edX. We have a generation of millennials that care about change in this world through their nonprofit online initiative edX. We have a generation of millennials that care about change in this world and have the ability to foster the results that we need to garner that change. At this stage, we can and should be making that change happen.
I'm a believer in such change. A believer in happiness and a believer in a world that has the ability to address these very difficult and troubling issues. A believer that will live her life in happiness and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
Photographer: Bethany Halbreich