My friend and I were on our way to Jerome, Arizona to celebrate our shared birth month. We were just leaving Cottonwood when we saw the motorhome pictured above. It was parked in a hospital parking lot. My friend and I were both hooting and hollering, pointing to the motorhome, and asking each other Do you see that?
Next thing I knew, my friend was pulling off the highway and into the hospital parking lot, telling me we had to see this giraffe-patterned vehicle up close. (One of the things I like most about this woman friend is that she is always up for an adventure.)
I’m not sure what we expected. A daytime rave going on inside? The owner/driver hanging out, ready to answer our every question? Alas, there was no one in or around the motorhome. (Why didn’t we leave a note? Why oh why didn’t we leave a note?)
We took our photos, then got back to our road trip. A week later, it occurred to me to type “WorldHappinessParty.com” (http://worldhappinessparty.com) into my browser and look at the page.
The page says,
Make the world a better place. Join our wise, daring fraternity!
Then the page asks,
WHAT IS THE SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS?
current research suggests 7 main ways to increase life fulfillment.
Here are those 7 main ways, as suggested by the World Happiness Party:
1. STRENGTHEN SOCIAL TIES
Here’s a tip for being more sociable: when someone tells you good news, don’t answer blandly or look at the negative side. Respond enthusiastically and positively. Practice this on someone. Do it until you notice a change in your pattern of response.
2. GET PROPER EXERCISE
3. SMILE & LAUGH MORE. SAVOR LIFE’S JOYS.
Smiling. Activating the smile muscles makes you feel better even when the smile is faked.
Laughter. Laughter relieves stress and increases resistance to illness and pain. Even fake, forced laughter produces these results.
Count your blessings. At the end of each day, write down 3 things that went well that day. They can be small. Give a reason for each. This alleviates depression and stress.
Gratitude. Thank someone for something they did that was important to you — even if it happened long ago. You’ll both feel lifted.
4. CULTIVATE OPTIMISM
Optimism adds 10 years to one’s life (on average). It can be learned. If you habitually grumble when things don’t go your way, dispute your pessimistic assessment in these ways:
Find evidence that it isn’t so bad after all.
Find an alternative (more benign) explanation of the event.
Find evidence that the negatives are only temporary.
Don’t let your whole life be affected. (Don’t “catastrophize”)
Blame bad events on causes outside yourself.
Take credit for good events.
Question the usefulness of pessimistic beliefs.
5. PRACTICE GENEROSITY
Dedicating yourself to larger causes…erases fear and anger and puts you in a sociable, creative frame of mind.
6. FIND PURPOSE
People with a strong sense of purpose…tend to be happier than others. They solve problems proactively and can absorb life’s ups and downs.
7. MANAGE STRESS
If you are wondering, as I was, who makes up the World Happiness Party, here’s the answer:
WHO WE ARE
The World Happiness Party is a non-partisan organization dedicated to spreading information about the science of happiness.Founded in 2009 at Western New Mexico University, its members believe in three things:
Happiness. The desire for a fulfilling life unites all humans…One person’s happiness need not cancel out another’s. The enlightened pursuit of happiness removes social conflict.
World Reach. Assisting those who need it most assures that no corner of the globe will be left out. Currently, the W.H.P. is aiding troubled regions in Africa, the Middle East and Mexico.
Science. The science of happiness can revitalize the human race. It doesn’t have all the answers, but it’s a good start.
The World Happiness Party invites us all to
JOIN the HAPPINESS MOVEMENT!
Here are creative, rewarding, fun things you might do:
— Start an exercise, walking, sports or laughter club
— Community projects involving art, music, etc..
— Mentor youth; care for those in need
— Political activism for the greatest good
— Form a science of happiness study circle
— Aid impoverished people around the world
— Compose a testament of your thoughts and/or work
There’s a toll-free phone number on the website (1-800-374-7428). This is the phone number folks are to call to join the party or get assistance and/or information. When I called the number, a robot voice told me the office was closed and I should call during regular business hours. I’ll try to remember to call again when it’s not a Sunday afternoon.
I took all the photos in this post.