THE HAPPINESS PROJECT
October 2015 - March 2016
Overview: A personal project to purposefully cultivate more happiness for myself and hopefully for others as well. It involved contacting 100 friends and offering to deliver a knick knack that I would make from my workshop.
The objective was to connect with others, create some novel art work, and embrace the idea that giving, sharing, and being with friends is a worthwhile pursuit.
There were 4 basic designs that participants could choose from. The original idea was to incorporate handmade wood shavings in each piece.
After making several copies of the each design, the novelty wore off and I started making custom designs for each individual.
To date, over 50 gifts have been sent or delivered in person.
The Happiness Project and Mental Health
Social Ties - Reaching out to friends
Social ties are important to our health. It is one of the best predictors for happiness and longevity. Whether it's a book club or volunteering at a community center, building relationships makes one's life not only richer, but longer as well. I am a bit of a hermit by nature. By committing to personally deliver the presents, I was pushing myself to get out more.
It has been shown that engaging in creative exercises is beneficial to one's health, physically and mentally. Whether it's writing, painting, or some other artistic expression, the key is to produce something, anything.
Novelty and Curiosity
Our brains are attracted to novelty and rewards us with a hit of dopamine. This project presented a number of challenges that I approached like a puzzle. And I would like to believe that my friends who received these articles also found them novel and brain tickling.
Further on-line reading:
"Social ties are good for your health." BeWell@Stanford.
"5 Ways Giving Is Good for You" GreatGood. University of Californial, Berkeley. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you