Could there ever be a better time to talk about happiness? With the world in turmoil, struggling its way out of a pandemic in addition to the tragic events unfolding halfway around the planet; and the approach of the International Day of Happiness on March 20th, the irony is not lost on us. In fact, the overriding theme of this global event presents itself in stark contrast to current world events. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, the International Day of Happiness presents the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental human goal and integral to the wellbeing of individuals, organizations, communities, nations, and society. It seeks to unite the human family in a common purpose – a goal that has never been more desperately needed than it is today – right now.
As a health staffing agency, Advanced Home Care Solutions recognizes the direct tie between wellness – which is the cornerstone of our culture – and happiness. Taking a closer look at the upcoming International Day of Happiness and what it stands for, AHCS is strongly aligned with the celebration’s mandates:
- Happiness as a fundamental human right
- Happiness as a universal aspiration
- Happiness as a way of living, being, and serving
- Happiness as a north star for individuals, communities, governments, and society
- Happiness path toward achieving sustainable development goals
- Happiness as a new paradigm for human development
- Happiness as a worldwide, organic and inclusive celebration
So how do we achieve happiness? Can it be measured? Can we break it down into bite-sized pieces? Here’s where it gets interesting. According to Sigmund Freud – the father of Psychoanalytic Theory – the roots of psychology have historically been viewed through a negative lens. In fact, if you check the word “depression” in the Dictionary of Psychology, there are eighteen definitions – in other words, we know a lot about it. Looking up the word “happiness” however, results in zero definitions. That’s right: zero – it’s not even part of the current vocabulary. And while psychology has come a long way in treating mental and physical health challenges, there is a new psychological practice emerging as an important field: Positive Psychology, which encourages us as health practitioners to do more, and do better.
While traditional psychological practices focus on what’s wrong with you – they’re about deficit, disease and dysfunction – positive psychology looks closely at what’s right with you. Some of these qualities might include your ability to love and be loved, kindness, gratitude, courage, bravery – all the things that make life worth living – including happiness.
Let’s be clear. Happiness is no “one size fits all” condition. What makes me happy may not be your cup of tea. And what made you happy ten years ago may no longer be working for you. There is no single “happiness” recipe for all times and all people. What researchers have found, however, is that happy people have one thing in common – they have strong, high-quality, personal relationships. That dynamic even extends to children with imaginary friends – they tend to be happier. And people with acquired brain injuries? If they have high-quality social relationships, they can be better protected from unhappiness.
Friendships matter. And considering the key role those thriving relationships play in our human quest for happiness, how do we nurture relationships and get the most out of them? Again, research has shown that one of the most dynamic tools in fostering successful relationships is being an active listener. Phrases that you, as a listener might use include “Tell me more”, or “What happened next?”. These simple words say “I want to hear from you. Your story is valid. I care.” They support good listening, impart value to the speaker, help to find solutions and allow us to celebrate or console the speaker. And over time, if used consistently and thoughtfully, these words can change your life by improving relationships with your family, coworkers, significant other, children and friends. They can increase your happiness.
Advanced Home Care Solutions is about wellness, and we are coming to understand more and more that wellness is centered around happiness. We are extremely proud of our specialized health care teams who are highly trained, rigorously vetted, and provide the most diligent aid in both community care and residential care settings.
Happiness is an achievable and fundamental human right, and we will always advocate for that in the work we do.