The Happiness Challenge aims to show that happiness is a lifestyle. The Challenge is a collection of eight habits that research shows make most people happier, including sleep, altruism, good eats, and the like. The challenge is simply to try each habit for one week. Chances are, it'll make you feel awesome. This student run group launched at Harvard two years ago with a mission to get happiness off the back burner. As of 2013, the group is joined by MIT, Yale, UCLA, and Wellesley.
Why socialize? Social support is vital to our physical and mental health and fundamental in the design of the Happiness Challenge. Making time for a social life is important for building enduring relationships that influence our lives in countless ways, including self-esteem, our emotions, our health-related behaviors, and our responses to stress.
2. Doing Good Deeds
There's growing evidence that doing something good for someone other than yourself can boost your happiness. Numerous studies have shown that when individuals intentionally engage in an act of kindness, their subjective happiness increases over a one week period.
3. Sleeping Well
Numerous studies have found sleep deprivation to have horrible effects on cognitive function, such as decreases in alertness and working memory capacity. Decreases like these contribute to an overall reduction in performance after nights of sleep deprivation. Cumulative sleep restriction results in more fatigue, confusion, tension, mental exhaustion, and stress.
4. Eating Healthily
This week is an opportunity for you to do some research on how you can eat more healthily. The spotlight of the week is on how foods can affect how we physically and emotionally feel. There are many things healthy food can do for you, besides helping you stay in shape.
5. Journaling Everyday
Pick a time to journal everyday this week—maybe when you wake up, take the bus, or prepare for bed. Depending on what's been going on in your life, it may be more appropriate for you to try to focus on the positive details, like a gratitude journal. Alternatively, if you've recently dealt with something difficult, it might be important for you to focus on that experience.
6. You Tell Us!
Week 6 is all about what you want to do. You'll be choosing a challenge along with the other hundreds of challengers from your school. We're stoked to find out what you all vote on and we hope you are too. The poll will be up here by Week 4.
7. Moving More
On top of helping us get in shape, exercise also helps strengthen our mental health and reduce stress. The data from surveys of people in the United States has shown that physical activity is positively correlated with general well-being, positive mood, and lower levels of anxiety and depression.
8. Speak Positively
No complaining this week! Try your very best to catch yourself before you complain - about school work, yourself, other people, college life, whatever. If you do complain, try to say something positive to cancel it out. Enlist your friends to call you out when you complain. And in exchange for their helping hands, go out of your way to shoot positive comments their way.