Happiness, or the lack thereof, lies at the root of what makes life meaningful. But it is sometimes hard to figure out what exactly constitutes happiness, especially in a culture like the Unites States that tends to conflate money with meaning.
Roko Belic, the director of Happy, the documentary, traveled the world collecting strategies from places like the slums of India, frenetic cities in Japan, surfers in Brazil, and tiny Bhutan, the first country to measure Happiness as a national product.
Here are four tips from the film to develop a happiness skill set.
And while results may vary, watch for these telltale signs to make sure you are on the right track: absorption, a sense of something budding in your chest, and an increased interest in cooperation.
Claim your community
All your relations, family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and community have a huge impact on your happiness. Prioritizing these relationships, and devoting time for social bonding lies at the essence of our humanity. A healthy sense of community and a caring social network may be one of the best indicators of happiness.
Find your fulfillment
Lose yourself in some absorbing activity, such as gardening, dancing, crafting, building, or whatever your vocation; this ability can offer you a sense of complete fulfillment.
Practice random acts of kindness
The Happy film urges people to get off the “hedonistic treadmill” of material desires, and onto the more solid footing of compassion, cooperation and service. Extend kindness in ever-widening circles and notice how it often comes back, twofold.
Appreciation is the key
Happiness stems from genuine gratitude for all that you have, and a willingness to express that appreciation. Counting your blessing is a great way to shift the focus from what you don’t have to what you already can enjoy.
Watch the film Happy, on Netflix or on GaiamTV.com with a free 10-day trial subscription.