Don't Worry, Be Happy: I Challenge You

PHOTO: Its not enough just to be happy these days. You have to let the world know about it.

It isn't enough these days just to be happy. Now you are required to let world know about it.

In an attempt to promote mindfulness and capture moments of jubilation in the midst of chaotic, distraction-filled lives, a handful of online memes have proliferated that challenge participants to document their ebullience for a set period, ranging from a week to as long as several months at a time.

3-Step Brain Hack for Happiness

9 Simple Steps to Happiness

Airline's Happiness Blankets Change Color, Depending on Mood

"We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in," reads the homepage of 100happydays.com. "The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being."

The screed goes on to assert that "71% of people tried to complete this challenge, but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason. These people simply did not have time to be happy. Do you?"

What follows are instructions for signing up for the project, which requires choosing a preferred social media outlet, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, for posting photos of what made you happy that day and using the hashtag #100happydays.

While some of the language on the site can feel similar to a guilt-trip-provoking chain letter, 100happydays also has its own foundation that funds various charitable outlets through donations. There is no advertising on the site and no visible face of the brand. The 100happydays challenge has attracted some bold-faced names, however, such as actress Emmy Rossum, who posted Instagram photos of crafts, among other activities that she finds uplifting.

But 100 days of documenting moments of elation is a significant time commitment. At the other end of the spectrum, a "Positivity Challenge," currently making the rounds, requires only mindfulness for five straight days.

Each day the participant must share three things that he or she is happy or excited about. Then he or she must nominate three new people to participate in the experiment. All of this takes place online, typically on Facebook but sometimes in other arenas, to keep friends accountable.

"I usually don't participate in these, because I think they are silly. But, I decided I needed some positive reminders so I decided to do it," wrote a woman who started a Positivity Challenge thread on BabyCenter's community boards.

Positive exclamations made in response ranged from humblebrags, such as "I'm in Miami!" to "My kitten played fetch with me this morning, and it was just plain fun and too damn cute!" to "I took a nice walk at lunch today with a co-worker."

But even happiness has detractors, and one of the risks of sharing your glee with others in such a consistent way is that they may not want to see or read about it.

In fact, some users are so aware of how uncomfortable their happiness may make others, they warn friends in advance that the a cheery online challenge is set to begin. One such announcement in my feed read as follows: "Feel free to un-friend me now. DAY ONE..."

How do you feel about happiness challenges? Would you participate in one or do they feel forced? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...