What better time for those in the Northern Hemisphere particularly, with a COVID winter on the horizon, to be thinking about finding “happiness“? I’m not a big fan of the word because the way it’s portrayed (particularly in a society with relentless marketing) — that happiness something you can buy with this gadget or car or house or trip or whatever. Even if we don’t believe that intellectually anymore, many of us still live that way. It’s hard to escape even if you want to. Those little boosts in a day are often helpful…temporarily…and especially from boredom, anxiety, loneliness, grief, and so on.
This interview with National Geographic happiness researcher, adventurer and writer, shares some wisdom on this theme, which has evolved over the years. A few themes make the happiness short list according to our guide, though he rightly contextualizes the issue suggesting that the way we think, make meaning, and so on, impacts how we might define the word: Financial stability; experiences over ‘stuff’; living environments over short getaways (kind of like changing a food environment over dieting). This could mean living near water, near or access to green space or nature, smaller and medium sized cities over really large ones, less exposure to commercial advertising, spending a fair bit of time with friends – with lots of laughter (and having a fair bit of social time period). Sounds like a great prescription for a life of non-material ‘self care‘ — something that does not always come easily but something we need more than ever as we head into the winter months.