100-happy-days-sinem Happy doesn’t begin to describe it. I feel ecstatic to announce I have successfully completed my #100HappyDayChallenge. Coming across the experiment exactly 100 days ago I went over to the website to register my details and off I went on one of the most revelatory journeys of my life. Revelatory, because I am an eternal realist (Some may even, and they do, consider me an eternal pessimist), a natural born worrier, and I have a knack of overanalysing, generalising and aggrandising life’s little falls into failures of epic proportions. Naturally spending 100 days in a row seeking and capturing happiness and sharing it on social media was not going to be without its challenges. Despite the aforementioned shortcomings however, I also have masses of grit, a competitive streak and a tendency to never quit, which I’d like to think of as my strengths which saw me complete this 100-day journey into a new way of thinking – or shall we say, revised world view? For all the smirking cynics who raise an eyebrow and a few questions about social media based happiness experiments, and of course others, who may want to try the 100-day course of happiness, here are the 11 things the #100HappyDaysChallenge taught me. Happiness is a journey. As cliché as it sounds, it is true that happiness is a journey and not a destination, and no one thing can teach you this lesson faster than #100happydays where you find yourself seeking happiness, however fleeting or elusive it may prove. There is happiness in every day. Ever wake up to a dull, dreary day to wonder how you will make it to the evening? Or got in through the door after a day from hell and wondered how you survived? There are little crumbs of joy even on those unpromising days if you look hard enough. It could just be the melting sensation of lunchtime pick-me-up chocolate or the cooling taste wine you treat yourself to dull the memory of a bad day. Just seek with all your senses and receive it gratefully. With more gratitude comes more happiness. At the expense of sounding like a new age prophet, meditating and levitating her way through like in floaty skirts and daisies in her hair, I will say it: The more gratitude you give, the more happiness you receive. It became clearer half way into my 100-day journey that, the more I noticed the small things, the more they became the big things. Happiness became a way of life, second nature, second skin. Rain? No problem… Catch your reflection in the puddles. Smell the earth after the rain. Feel the drops in our skin. Take out your phone and film the downpour. Hard day? No worries. All the more reason to savour those few hours before bed unwinding, whether with a good book or good music.   Exercise makes you happy. As a self-professed sloth, I never thought there would come a day I would say this, but exercise makes you happy. The last four weeks of my 100 happy days were spent enjoying my renewed gym membership which surprisingly brought with it a renewed zest for fitness. Without going into the science of endorphins, the simple truth is working your body, discovering muscles you forgot you had, breaking out in sweat after a good workout and of course seeing the results of pushing your body to the limits are guaranteed to make you happy. Although you may not want to so readily admit this, while… in… the… middle… of… an… extremely… trying… spinning… class…all…out…of…breath. Creative pursuits makes you happy. I know what some of you who are creatively challenged may be thinking: How can creativity make me happy if I am not a creative person? But the truth is we are all creative in our own way. I know I like creating in words and images, but I equally delight in puzzles. I know some who like singing, some who enjoy DIY, and some who delight in cooking. Having at least one creative pursuit in your mind is enough to bring you a step closer to happiness – either in the form of the finished product, or the process it takes to create it. Good company makes you happy. Again, this is another statement I never thought I would make, but looking over my #100happydayschallenge it became evident just how many of my happy days were defined by the people I chose to share them with. The trick here is to choose and keep good company: friends and family who motivate, cultivate and elevate. Those who discuss not people but ideas, create dreams not dramas, radiate and magnify good energy. For more happy moments, do what you love. The psychologists had it right all along. The chances are, if you do love what you do for a living, you are in for far more happy moments than those who trudge through life with half-hearted effort and unfulfilled passions. Securing your dream career or lifestyle doesn’t mean your life is sadness-proof but it sure ensures plenty more happy moments. It was exciting to see just how many of my happy moments were related to work or a sense of pride and accomplishment my work gave me. Happiness means not having time to document it. The days I very nearly failed the challenge but made up for it with last minute posts or cheated my way with #latergrams at 4am in the morning were incidentally the days I was happy having way too much fun to capture and curate my moments of happiness for social media. Feeling so happy you are detached from technology may not be too bad after all. Pursuit of happiness cuts short moments of moping. I have to be honest, there were days I was not a 100% happy or satisfied; there were days on this journey I even cried, but one thing #100happydayschallenge instilled in me was to move on fast. How can you spend the day moping over a personal slight or a professional disagreement if you’ve got to be seeking moment of happiness? Thus, easy, breezy, you learn to bounce back from disappointments a lot faster and find the spring in your step a lot quicker to go look for your happy place. Happiness is more than fleeting frames. There are moments of such all-encompassing joy that no fleeting frame or fancy photography can truly capture the essence of. Like the sense of accomplishment you feel after a successful business trip, enjoying the sunset at 10,000 ft. from a plane window, or the incredible lightness of being as you work from the comfort of your bed on a Friday afternoon as the summer breeze caresses your bare legs. All you can do it capture the moment as best as you can in one frame, then close your eyes and savour the joy.   Happiness cultivates dreams. Again, never thought I would ever say this but… I am a reformed realist. While I’d still like to hold on to my sense of realism and keep my feet firmly on the ground, I have noticed in my 100-day journey that occasionally it is okay – okay, admittedly, more than okay – to let my head wander in the skies, to let my dreams drift a little bigger, to not let fear of the future strangle the joy out of the present moment. Want to take the #100happydayschallenge? Why not head over to the 100happydays website to find out more and register?

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