Action for Happiness
Charity makes happiness a global concern. But is it understood?
Posted Apr 14, 2011
An exciting thing happened in London, on Tuesday. Action for Happiness, a new charity, celebrated its launch. Action for Happiness' mission is to encourage people to increase the happiness of others. Because doing good feels good. They have already connected with a wide range of charities, companies, and community organizations which promote happiness, and are looking to expand their already global network.
Three ideas really stood out at the event.
First, happiness has become a very meaningful concept. This is encouraging to see. People are focusing on more than just smiles and friendliness. Happiness has, quite rightfully, become about making the most of the good times, and about dealing with the bad times. It has come to include resilience and a positive outlook during adversity, both of which are significant parts of happiness.
Second, research, primarily positive psychology, has really boosted the case for happiness. Many of the ideas presented at the launch event were not new, but the fact that there is now a scientific basis for happiness seemed to give them new life. And there certainly is a strong scientific basis for happiness. Research over the past quarter-century has shown that happiness has a wide range of benefits for individuals, teams, organizations, communities, you name it. What's more, research has found that it is possible to build happiness - it is not a matter of luck.
However, if this scientific basis is to remain relevant, it must be properly applied. The fact that happiness has evidence behind it must not be seen as a green light for any happiness-increasing idea. Some ideas will work better than others. And that's fine. This is not to say that the ideas that do not have scientific evidence lack merit - far from it. But if you wish to rely on the scientific evidence for happiness to support your project, it will become increasingly important for your project to have scientific evidence, as well.
Third and finally, happiness is really catching on! Action for Happiness' launch event received a great turnout, national media coverage, and a strong social media reaction. More importantly, however, the launch event brought together a very diverse group of people, all of whom brought their unique ideas and approaches to happiness. And everyone brought their enthusiasm to exchange views and expand their horizons. After all, working with others and expanding your horizons is a huge part of building happiness.