A profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognising that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.
March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.
In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognised happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples”.
In 2012 the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on 20 March. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.
In 2017, the Smurfs joined the UN in celebrating the International Day of Happiness as well as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – #SmallSmurfsBigGoals
The details of 2018 celebrations have not yet been announced, but whatever you have planned for the day, be happy!
Solomon thought so, he says to ‘go to the ant’ and ‘consider the ant’ and refers to them as little upon the earth but exceeding wise. He suggests that taking a leaf from their book will preserve us from poverty and give us wisdom. Given Solomon is the richest man the world has ever known (today he would be worth 100 times more than John D Rockefeller), some ant facts are worth knowing.
So, how do ant communities do it?
1. Strong leadership
Ant communities are headed by a queen or queens, whose function in life is to lay thousands of eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony. Workers (the ants typically seen by humans) are wingless females that never reproduce, but instead, forage for food, care for the queen’s offspring, work on the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties. When the queen of the colony dies, the colony can only survive a few months. Queens are rarely replaced and the workers are not able to reproduce. The lesson;
Without strong and clear leadership – failure is imminent!
2. Communicate & cooperate
Ants are social insects which form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies which may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. Ants communicate and cooperate by using chemicals (pheromones) that can alert others to danger or lead them to a promising food source. The lesson;
Nothing can succeed without clear communication and cooperation.
Carnegie Trust UK have published their second report looking at loneliness and social isolation and the impact of kinder communities. The report finds kindness is a necessary ingredient of successful communities. However there are major factors that get in the way of engaging and encouraging kindness both in individuals and organisations. Read the report here
Christmas is a time of giving and receiving, spending time with friends and family and maybe overindulging just a little bit?
Here are our top tips to ensure you don’t start 2018 with that sinking feeling of too much Christmas pudding being the final straw;
- Don’t sit down all day – go for a walk, kick a football about, ride a new bike. Not only will this aid digestion, but help you sleep better too.
- Go easy on the booze
- Don’t give yourself a Christmas stuffing! Recent research suggests that we consume around 3,000 calories in our Christmas dinner – more than the entire recommended daily intake for a grown man!
- Keep colds at bay
- Don’t stress – ’tis the season to be jolly remember
- Eat fruit – even the clementine tucked in the bottom of your stocking will boost vitamin C warding coughs and colds.
- Do something for others – do you have an elderly neighbour who would love to share some festive spirit?
- Engage your brain – play games, do a crossword, not only does this keep your mind active but can be fun for the whole family
It’s never too late to rectify those ill-fated New Year’s Eve resolutions in which you swore to lead a healthier life. But if traditional spas leave you cold and meditation bores you, don’t worry, there are plenty of other options out there.
- Prison pampering, Thailand
While a visit to a Thai correctional institution may scream holiday hell rather than whisper wellness, in Chiang Mai a trip to prison is an unorthodox experience.
Inmates at the women’s correctional institution are given holistic training that will aid job prospects once released. They pamper visitors using the skill learned. It not only soothes aches and pains, but any tips earned are kept for prisoners on their release.
- Wine Spa Japan
At the end of a hard week, for many people one of the best ways to relax and unwind is with a glass or two of red wine.
But why not go one step further than drinking the stuff, and book a trip to the Yunesson Spa Resort in Japan?
It’s a self-described ‘spa theme park’ where you can legitimately bathe in hot tubs filled with Merlot or Bordeaux.
- Laughter Yoga
Invented by Indian doctor Madan Kataria in the mid-Nineties, laughter yoga now has thousands of devotees. Many sessions, are free for anybody to join, providing newcomers don’t mind an early start. Propelled by the philosophy that laughter gives humans huge spiritual and medical benefits, its main objective couldn’t be simpler – to set you’re giggling, howling, chortling and smirking instincts free.
- Buried Alive; a shamanic death & rebirth
With hopes of experiencing a closer connection with Mother Nature, pilgrims journey to the northwest coast of the US to take part in a shamen led burial ceremony.
Free spirited individuals are taken into the wilderness and covered fully with earth. After re-emerging individuals are said to feel a deeper connection and knowledge of spirit and creation.
- Cryotherapy, Slovakia
Nothing shouts health kick like freezing bits off in temperatures of -120c. Sportsmen and women have been using cryotheraphy to aid recovery for decades but now the public can don gloves, a face mask and step into a giant fridge.
Benefits are said to include the natural productions of enzymes and hormones as endorphins, adrenaline and testosterone are released. It’s the coolest wellness trend in town.
Connections between generations are proven to enrich the lives of both young and seniors in long-lasting and meaningful ways.
When young people find ways to engage and develop relationships with the elderly, these experiences can build self-esteem, develop leadership skills, and encourage a lifelong commitment to volunteering.
For seniors, intergenerational connections provide the opportunity to transfer knowledge and wisdom, acknowledge self-worth, and feel they are contributing members of society.
In today’s world, many young people are experiencing less interaction with seniors because of homogenous neighborhoods, dispersed extended families, and increasing segregation of seniors living in care facilities or in isolation
Some of the benefits of intergenerational work include:
- Creation of age friendly communities.
- All generations have a lot to both teach and learn from each other and contribute to lifelong learning.
- Tackles issues around stereotyping and ageism.
- Increases understanding and respect between older people and younger people.
- Chance to make new friends and combats social isolation.
Mentally strong kids turn into resilient adults who are equipped to tackle whatever life throws their way. Challenges, hardship, and setbacks are inevitable. Teaching kids to build mental muscle can make them resilient. It’s also the key to helping them reach their greatest potential in life.
Here’s three things you can do to help equip your kids for the future.
- Teach your kids to think realistically
Children need to develop healthy self-talk. Simply thinking positive isn’t the solution, this doesn’t prepare children for real-life challenges. A child who can reframe negative thinking by coming up with a solution is more resilient. For example, instead of saying I’m going to fail that physics test, a resilient child will tell herself I can pass this test by
Teach children to challenge their negative thoughts and prove themselves wrong.studying hard and asking for help.
- Teach your kids to manage their emotions
A national university students found that more than 60 percent of young people don’t feel emotionally prepared for the realities of life. They lack the skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, like loneliness, sadness, and anxiety.
It’s important to educate kids about their emotions and how those emotions influence them. A child who can say, “I’m feeling anxious and that anxiety makes me want to avoid scary things,” will be better equipped to face his fears. He’ll also have a better understanding of how to cope with his emotions and he’ll have more confidence in his ability to handle discomfort. Validate your children’s emotions and teach them they have choices in how they deal with their feelings.
- Teach your kids to take positive action
Thinking realistically and feeling good are only half the battle. Kids also need to take positive action. Unfortunately, many parents are quick to rescue kids from their struggles. Or they micromanage their daily activities. And consequently, kids don’t learn to make healthy choices on their own.
Proactively teach your kids problem-solving skills. Show them they have the power to make a difference in their lives and in other people’s lives.
Flex your mental muscles, it’s worth it.