Genetics might account for up to 33 percent of our happiness (or lack thereof), but that doesn’t mean we’re powerless to improve our own moods. Sometimes all it takes is a change in mindset — no matter how small — to turn a crappy day into a better one. To help you shift into a happier gear, we’ve rounded up five things from around the web that inspire and delight us, and we hope they’ll do the same for you. We’ll be sharing our favorite happiness-boosters each week, so be sure to check back — and please share your own either in the comments or the community!
1. This — and all the other — signs of spring
The weather is getting warmer! The weather is getting warmer! Well, in the northeastern U.S., anyway. But we’re willing to bet that more sunshine (plus the Vitamin D it provides) plus more flowers equals a happier, more energized populace.
2. This photography project that documents people who are one hundred years old, and happy
Years ago, it seemed like living to 100 was a pipe dream for nearly all residents of Planet Earth. But these days, many of us can reasonably expect to push the centenarian mark — and many of us already have. Even better news? These beautiful photographs suggest that life in the triple digits can be pretty darn happy.
3. This silly, happy, spinning seal
Why? How often? For how long? These are only a few of the questions you may ask yourself while watching this seal spin in slow, languorous circles. Then you will press “replay,” because witnessing this zen Hawaiian Monk Seal twirl is all but guaranteed to make you feel happy.
4. This story about Afghan women training for a bike ride the only way they can — in secret
A small group of Afghan women is hoping to prove themselves to the world — and the Olympic Committee — but first they have to face ridicule, judgment, and even death threats from members of their community. Despite their obstacles, these brave women train persistently, mostly in secret — and their courage and convictions enliven and inspire us.
5. This community happiness initiative in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Organizers in Sante Fe are hoping to combat over-consumerism and materialism by developing a new economic paradigm — one that takes residents’ overall happiness and life satisfaction into account. Ultimately, they’d like to be part of a global movement, but they’re starting local with a Sustainable Happiness Week devoted to song, art, chocolate, time in nature, and community building. Their dedication to creating a city (and a world) full of happy people makes us feel, well, happy.
What’s making you happy this week? Share in the comments below!