Imagine an entire month dedicated to creating happiness! Happiness Happens Month has been celebrated in August since 1999. A whole month dedicated to celebrating what makes you happy, and indeed creating joy into your own life and those around you.
The idea that we create our own happiness has always been center to my work as a mindfulness guide. To help me understand what makes some of us happy, while for others happiness is elusive, (nerd alert) I took a 3 month course called “The Science of Happiness” taught by Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, both professors at U.C. Berkeley. The course is a deep dive in to the science of positive psychology and the roots of a happy and meaningful life. It has been offered free of charge online since 2014 (I took it in 2015) and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more. It is self-paced and can be accessed here.
The course centers around a fundamental finding from positive psychology that happiness is made possible through strong social connections, i.e. community. I talk often about the importance of social connections in this blog. Community is the primary focus or at least mentioned in nearly half my posts. In fact, I believe that it is one of the four building blocks that create a healthy, happy life.
The topic of social connections came up during a recent Zoom meditation group, and we all agreed that in order to foster these connections, we must be intentional. In other words, don’t wait for others to reach out to you, take the initiative. There are so many different ways to connect, you shouldn’t have to think too long to come up with something. Sure, for some of us it can be uncomfortable at first, but don’t let that stop you. You’ll soon find that it’s a natural part of your life. I even created a whole downloadable calendar of ideas to get you started. Special thanks to Action for Happiness for the inspiration – check out their calendars for every month of the year!