It’s 0700 on Saturday morning as I climb into the car and set off for the Cotswolds. It’s raining but I don’t care; I’m excited.
It’s been almost half a year since I first heard from the lovely Linda that she would like the Happynesshub to run a panel at WOMAD festival on ‘How to Find Your Happy’, and after bundles of preparation the day is finally here. I ponder on 2016 and how the Happynesshub has evolved since we launched in January. It’s been a whirlwind of a time. A year ago, we didn’t even have a website. Or a website designer for that matter (thank you Martin!). We hadn’t recorded any films and the official teamwork had not even begun.
Yet here we are, months later, Happynesshub launched, re-launched, workshops in the UK and abroad, Happynesshub Kids and Corporate in the offing; and so many wonderful, special people who have entered our lives. From you, our Hubbers, to our heroic Happynesshub Heroes who truly trialed the offerings, to the experts, academics, volunteers, CEO’s and interested parties I have met along the way – the list goes on.
Two hours later as I pull up at WOMAD with three of my most fabulous friends by my side (Magical Marta, TimD and PaulG), I reflect on how grateful I am that these wonderful souls have embraced the work and are now part of the Happyneshub team. T-shirts on (last minute decision – big green Happynesshub logo, itchy cotton, Marta’s too small, Paul’s too big!) and we are off to recce the tent (apparently it holds 300 people), meet our panelists and spread some joy.
I reflect again. I’ve been so busy driving forward, getting excited, making things happen, getting more excited, having more meetings, driving things forward, I wonder if I have failed to take it all in. I remember the day of the April re-launch, and our Happynesshub Heroes’ contributions, and I recall the gratitude that overflowed throughout those ensuing 3 weeks. Since then however it’s been NYC, Shanghai, Sardinia, Croatia – that crazy, mad, fun but frenetic journey I’ve been on.
So as our four panelists arrive (not without event, I might add), there’s initial relief. They’ve all turned up! And then there’s a moment. Take it in. Be grateful. Don’t take any of this for granted. Enjoy.
And so I did: and it was one of the happiest and most fun days of my year. And here I am today taking stock; expressing gratitude. It’s all too often easy to take things for granted, move quickly on to the next challenge – without processing, absorbing, being thankful. How many times have you achieved something – big or small – and rather than acknowledging your achievements as you would a friend’s, you swiftly move on to ‘the next thing’? Research suggests that acknowledging our achievements, even in a small way, increases positive emotions like self-respect, happiness, and confidence, and this in turn is associated with improved well-being and resilience.
So whilst I give myself a pat on the back (even writing that seems awkward, egotistical, un-British, wrong – self compassion Day here I come. Note to self: allowing myself to feel satisfaction and joy is a good thing!), I’d like to thank the magnificent people that made our WOMAD panel the wonderful success it was, and gave their time to spread the happiness. Author Rachel Kelly – thank you for your eloquent words and beautiful contributions, it is always such a pleasure to collaborate; editor of Psychologies magazine, Suzy Greaves – thank you for always rooting the work in the real world and for sharing your rich wealth of knowledge and wisdom with us all; Vicky Johnson, co-founder of the Museum of Happiness and founder of the University of Happiness – a large thanks for inspiring our younger generation and making the work accessible; and finally Curly Steve, Ambassador to the University of Laughter in India and laughing yoga teacher – big gratitude for always lifting our spirits and making us laugh.
So here’s to summer fun, , festivals, self-compassion, gratitude… and of course you Hubbers. What a wonderful seven months it has been. Keep sharing the Happyness!