Did you know that August is Admit You’re Happy Month? So says The Secret Society of Happy People. In August, 1999, they proclaimed August 8 as Admit You’re Happy Day and attempted to have it officially proclaimed in all 50 states. In 2000, they chose to stretch the occasion to a full month. It apparently takes a bit longer to get an entire nation to smile!
According to this secret society (now over 14,000 members strong), if you’re happy and you know it, you’re supposed to tell someone. One wonders then why they are so secretive about it, but they maintain that if you can’t think of a reason to be happy, you should visit their website: http://www.sohp.com. The website suggests there are 31 types of happiness (who knew?) and it also promotes elaborate elation activities like making an extra effort to recognize and express our happy moments, refraining from raining on other people’s parades, and coordinating an Admit You’re Happy Activity at work. And it explains why silver is their preferred color. Possible activities include conducting a happy moment contest, a pot luck lunch where everyone only talks about the happy events and moments in their life, and adding a gratitude box.
Well, all this is fine and sorta fun but feels kinda forced. Seems to me happiness is something that should just flow naturally. It IS a choice.
“Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the fault-finding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealously, and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces,” Og Mandino.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology has conducted the first major study on the subject of gratitude and he writes about it in his book called thanks!. His conclusion is that happiness and gratitude are so intertwined that you cannot have one without the other. Emmons closely studied one of the past century’s most successful and prolific writers, G. K. Chesterton, known as much for his incredible body of work as for his ‘exuberant’ and ‘exhilarated’ demeanor. Perhaps Chesterton’s success and happiness can best be summed up in his own words:
“The test of all happiness is gratitude. Children are grateful when Santa Claus puts in their stockings gifts of toys or sweets. Could I not be grateful to Santa Claus when he puts in my stockings the gift of two miraculous legs? We thank people for birthday presents…Can I thank no one for the birthday present of birth? Around every corner is another gift waiting to surprise us.”
As long as you’ve something to be thankful for, you have a reason to be happy. Now, come on! Admit it!