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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Do good lives have to cost the earth?

Friday, March 19th, 2010

windOn the face of it, it would seem we must make impossible sacrifices if we want to do our bit for the environment and lead more sustainable, less damaging lives. This book shows that isn’t the case at all. It brings together household names who share a conviction that, on the contrary, living well needn’t cost the earth - and will tell you why and how.

Their collective vision, covering areas from architecture and politics to food and happiness, will completely reframe the way you think about climate change and what you’re willing to do about it. Far from the usual doom and gloom, many here argue that climate change presents a once-in-a-century opportunity to address a whole basket of problems with energy and imagination.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

Free Hugs Campaign

Thursday, March 19th, 2009


www.freehugscampaign.org

‘Free hugs’ is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann,  a man whose sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives.  In this age of social disconnectivity and lack of human contact, the effects of the Free Hugs campaign became phenomenal.

Freehugs troops are now mobilising all over the globe. From Sydney to Helsinki. From LA to Tokyo, from London and Paris. To find out when a free hug event is organised in your area, check out the campaign website here.

I’d like to buy some happiness please

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

By Houston Paea

Google happiness’ and here’s what you’ll find. Hundreds and thousands of hits’, each and every one of them dedicated to either:
a) showing you the way to self-actualisation’ (fancy term for doing what feels right for you, or what makes you feel fulfilled’)
b) offering you tips’ and pointers’ showing you the way to true happiness’, or (and this is often the most common one)
c) ads for books, interviews and tickets to seminars that all offer you the chance to experience true happiness…at the cost of a small, but serviceable Honda.
happy in a field of flowers
It’s almost like they’re telling you, nay, commanding you to be happy, and that happiness is only attainable via The Secret’ RRP $31.99.

Since when was happiness not just a personal feeling, but a commercial product? Christmas, Easter… all of these days have been commercialised to the point that for most they have lost their cultural or spiritual value, but surely our core human feelings and emotions should be left untouched by the pervasive grasp of commercialism? Well, obviously not. Self-help books have their own section in the bookshop. It is estimated that self-help books generate roughly ’£80m a year in Britain alone. In US, where the market is more established, they are worth more than $600m! Globally the happiness industry is worth billions. You can study happiness at university, look for it at clubs, workshops and seminars, find it in books and magazines, go on happiness retreats and cruises. Every trip into town, just look around at the people shopping; they’re shopping for happiness’.

Has it always been this hard to find happy? If anything, the influx of happy’ products flooding the market has caused more distress, as people see them and realise that their lives aren’t as good as they could be; completely forgetting that they were fine up until they read that book or saw that TV ad. piggy-bankHow sad that our psychological well-being can be so strongly influenced by commercialisation and clever marketing to the point that we are willing to give up our hard earned cash in pursuit of a little bit of plastic happiness.

Who IS happy then? There are a lot of ways to measure happiness and there have been countless surveys and studies to try and work out who the happiest people are and which is the happiest country. They use all sorts of measures examining wealth, education, health care, life expectancy, resource use. The results tend to differ with various studies claiming Denmark, Vanuatu and Nigeria all the happiest country. (New Zealand usually makes it to the top 20!) What they do agree on is that you probably can’t find true happiness for $31.99 at your local book shop!

A 2003 study of more than 65 countries published in the UK’s New Scientist magazine found Nigeria has the world’s happiest people. The survey findings seemed to confirm the old saying that money cannot buy happiness, in fact it found that consumerism, or the desire for material goods, is actually a happiness suppressant.

Based on the results the survey proposes that the PATHS TO HAPPINESS’ are:

  • Genetic propensity to happiness
  • Marriage
  • Make friends and value them
  • Desire less
  • Do someone a good turn
  • Have faith (religious or not)
  • Stop comparing your looks with others
  • Earn more money
  • Grow old gracefully
  • Don’t worry if you’re not a genius


Want some more happiness in your life?

TAKE ACTION!

  • old-lady-smilingLaugh! You could evold lady smilingen join a laughter club. The concept of laughter clubs was started in India about 10 years ago by Dr Kataria, who was doing research into the health benefits of laughter. He went to the local park gathering friends and family to come and laugh with him. It started with a few jokes with friends and has grown into a world wide phenomenon. There are now 5000 clubs all over the world, including a couple in NZ!
  • Talk to someone new. Talking to someone can bring unexpected surprises and you might make a new friend, or make a real difference in their life.
  • Join people around the world and celebrate World Laughter Day on 4 May.
  • Check out The Happy Planet Index which measures ecological efficiency alongside human well-being and happiness. Calculate your own happy planet index.


LEARN MORE

A blog of one woman who tested all the happiness tips, theories and experiments available for a year.
An interesting article about Gross National Happiness in Bhutan and the ideas and concepts behind it.
Check out the Gross International Happiness Project who want to take Bhutan’s idea to the rest of the world.
This website
has a great summary of some important thoughts on happiness by some of the world’s great philosophers.

A happy planet

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

By Megan Eldergirl-smiling

Someone once quoted to me “When I was in primary school, they told me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.”

So what is it that makes us happy? And is it the same everywhere in the world?

Finding happiness
According to our parents money can’t buy happiness, love, friends etc. And do you know what? It really can’t. To me anyway, happiness is having my friends around me, a roof above my head and being content inside. To some, it might be knowing that you’ve studied enough to pass a test, played a great game of sport or simply have a moment to head to the beach and forget about study. For others it might be going on holiday, getting a new car, apartment or cell phone. In general people in the West tend to be more individualistic and being happy is often seen as a reflection of personal achievement or material wealth.

Global happinessrainbow-world
Around the world, happiness means different things to different people. In the more community based nations for example, China and South Korea, happiness and satisfaction is likely to come from fulfilling the expectations of family, self-discipline, cooperation and meeting social responsibilities. In some parts of the world, happiness is linked to religion. In Japan, the ancient Shinto religion is woven into the lives of all of the country’s citizens. A happy life is a gift given from the Gods above. For most Muslims true happiness is found in knowing their purpose in life and by following the commands of God. Happiness is an exclusive quality of the soul and therefore cannot be attained by material success - money, power, fame, etc.

In Bhutan, a country which is one of the most isolated and least developed countries in the world, the wealth of the country is measured in Gross National Happiness (GNH). GNH was designed to protect the resources of Bhutan so they wouldn’t be exploited by the pursuit for development and national wealth. Law states that not less than 65% of the land must be covered in trees, and because of this law, 72% of Bhutan is covered in forest. The laws of GNH state that the government must conserve and promote Bhutanese culture, including language, art and national dress, to ensure that these traditions are not lost. In contrast most countries use Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which measures economic output only. Put simply, GDP measures a country’s level of happiness (or wellbeing) on its wealth, while GNH measures a country’s wealth based on the level of happiness.meditation

No one, in any part of the world, is going to be happy all the time, in fact it would be kind of weird to be happy 24/7, but despite our differences happiness is an integral part of people’s lives all over the world. In general it seems to depend less on what you have materially and more on your social, mental and spiritual resources.

I definitely want to be happy when I grow up.

TAKE ACTION!

  • Laugh! You could even join a laughter club. The concept of laughter clubs was started in India about 10 years ago by Dr Kataria, who was doing research into the health benefits of laughter. He went to the local park gathering friends and family to come and laugh with him. It started with a few jokes with friends and has grown into a world wide phenomenon. There are now 5000 clubs all over the world, including a couple in NZ!
  • Talk to someone new. Talking to someone can bring unexpected surprises and you might make a new friend, or make a real difference in their life.
  • Join people around the world and celebrate World Laughter Day on 4 May.
  • Check out The Happy Planet Index which measures ecological efficiency alongside human well-being and happiness. Calculate your own happy planet index.


LEARN MORE

A blog of one woman who tested all the happiness tips, theories and experiments available for a year.
An interesting article about Gross National Happiness in Bhutan and the ideas and concepts behind it.
Check out the Gross International Happiness Project who want to take Bhutan’s idea to the rest of the world.
This website has a great summary of some important thoughts on happiness by some of the world’s great philosophers.