What makes you happy? And what makes the world a happier place? Ideally, happiness is a chain that connects us all, with every one of us becoming an essential link in this chain.
One happy person has the power to make the people around them happy as well. How many of you have ever started laughing just because the people around you did? Or maybe you have simply returned their smile.
How InterNations Decided to Officially Celebrate Happiness
Happiness plays such an important role in our lives that the United Nations decided to dedicate 20 March to highlighting its positive impact.
When we at InterNations launched the Social Impact Night, a new kind of event to raise awareness of social issues and bring members together to take action for a good cause, this also happened in March. What better month to organize the first Social Impact Night than the one when the International Day of Happiness is celebrated?
The simplest way to increase happiness in your own life is to help someone else. Therefore, we dedicated our first Social Impact Night to helping refugees at Bayernkaserne, a local shelter in Munich. We asked our members to donate all kinds of items which would make both children and adults happy, such as toys, board games, materials for handicrafts, or even musical instruments.
Those members who didn’t bring along any articles showed their support by donating money instead. More than 200 Euros were collected on behalf of Caritas, the non-profit organization that runs several refugee shelters in Munich, while the goods donated to Bayernkaserne made more than 70 residents happy.
How InterNations Members Spread Some Happiness in Their Own Lives
During the first Social Impact Night, Thomas Zawadzki, an expert on positive psychology, presented an inspiring speech called “The Moment of Happiness” and shared his top five tips for a happier life:
1. Enjoy your relationships with family and friends; get in touch with other people — for example, InterNations members — and build a network for yourself.
2. Actively express your gratitude: if someone has done something to help you, make sure to tell them!
3. Offer help and support to others as well, whether this is a favor for a colleague or friend, or a random act of kindness for a passerby.
4. Try to be an optimist: look for the potential positive outcome and work on ways of making it come true.
5. Live in the here and now rather than hoping for the future or dwelling on the past.
After this speech, our guests were asked to write down what made them happy and what they would do to make someone else happy. The moment when everyone started answering these questions, we could see a smile appearing on everyone’s face. Deciding to share their own happiness already proved to be infectious.
Moreover, their answers demonstrated that the secret to happiness consists of seemingly small and trivial things. Curious to know what makes our members happy? We’d like to share some of their answers with you:
“To see happy people around me.” — Ricardo, Italy
“Going home and meeting old friends.” — Mara, Argentina
“Dancing.” — Annika, Germany
And what will they do to make others happy in turn?
“I will call my mother to tell her that I love her.” — Nella, Greece
“Bring some sweets for my students.” — Elena, Spain
“Making my friend Eva tea.” — Amelie, Germany
“Cook French food and make someone laugh. A lot.” — Astrid, France
How You Can Join Us in Making Others Happy
The secret of happiness lies within us, and you have the power to make the people around you happy as well. We’d like to invite you to celebrate the International Day of Happiness together with us.
In March we will try to make others happy and post about it (maybe even including a photo) on our social media channels. Just join us, and the chain of happiness won’t be broken!
(Image credit: 1) Stocksnap.io 2), 4), 5) InterNations 3) Pexels.com)
Filed under: InterNations Changemakers on March 10th, 2017