What does it take to be happy? Is happiness something that can be given or received? Can we practice good habits to create happiness for ourselves?
At Virgin Australia Group, we’ve recently been learning a lot about happiness from the work of our wonderful partners - Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia. Starlight uses the power of positivity to lift the spirits of sick and hospitalised kids.
Together, Virgin Australia and Starlight grant around 200 wishes involving travel a year, bringing happiness and joy to the lives of seriously ill children and their families at a time when then they need it most. This helps their mental strength which in turn increases their chances of recovery from serious illness.
Starlight’s research shows that practising gratitude, mindfulness and being kind to others helps everyone’s mood. It stimulates the endorphins that promote feelings of calmness, energy and happiness. What’s more, if we continue these practices, it can have a profound effect on our overall wellbeing.
Recently, we took advantage of Starlight’s expertise in positivity and took on the ‘5 Days of Happy Challenge’. Each day of the week we took on a different happiness practice and received fantastic feedback those across our business that took part. We loved doing them so much that we want to share them with everyone.
These Starlight pearls of wisdom are just too good to keep to ourselves:
1. Monday: Smile and say hello to someone you don’t know.
This challenge is about smiling and saying hello to someone you don’t know. Building positive relationships is crucial for our long-term happiness. See what comes of smiles and new connections. This also takes a bit of courage – being challenged in this way is good for us.
2. Tuesday: Get mindful.
Practising mindfulness and meditation is a great way to recharge and keep a healthy mind. These practices allow us to be in the present and can help allow stressful thoughts and feelings come and go without passing judgement or controlling them. Smiling Mind is available to everyone on Virgin Australia flights. Meditation only takes a few minutes a day.
3. Wednesday: Say thank you with meaning to someone who deserves it.
Expressing gratitude is a faster way to build positive emotions. Building positive emotions is a crucial step in helping us live flourishing lives and improve wellbeing over time. Take a moment to say thank you to someone who deserves it. Send an email, a message, a WhatsApp, a Post-it note, make a phone call or say it in person. However you do it, say thank you to someone – see how it makes you both feel.
4. Thursday: Perform an act of kindness, pay it forward.
Performing a simple act of kindness can have a wonderful effect on your mood. Shout a team mate a coffee or bring them morning tea. Help out a stranger in need. There’s so many ways to be kind or pay it forward.
5. Friday: Get active.
Physical exercise is one of the best things you can do to boost our mood! Try a walking meeting, hold a yoga session or team power walk over a lunch break! You can even wear active wear to work – come on you know you want to!
Let’s all try and make these challenges more like habits and get a little more happiness into each and every day for our wellbeing and for the benefit of those around us.