Happiness is an oft maligned term – too idealist, too vague, too twee for some. I’m rather fond if it myself, that idea of a cheerful state of being. In my mind it’s a step back from passion, elation or resounding joy, those more hedonic emotions that I flirt with occasionally, and sits in a eudemonic state of contentment and wellbeing. My happy place.
Philosophers far greater than I could extend this discussion, and if you wanted to read more you might like to look at the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, or for a broad selection of thought try Wikipedia.
But if you are of a more practical mindset could I point you to Action for Happiness? With Lord Richard Layard as its co-founder and the Dalai Lama as its Patron, it’s a charity of note and widespread influence. It’s motto is simple: “Spread Happiness”, and the website is stuffed full of resources and ideas to help us all do just that. Colleagues in my department will know I am fond of their monthly calendars which adorn our office fridge, when we are there.
Don’t get me wrong – I have no desire to live in a world full of people blindly grinning; we need the shadow to appreciate the light. However, at a time when the world is cast in shadow, holding on to the light gives us a reason to keep going.
Here’s to happy times people.
Juliet Flynn, Organisational and People Development