Happy Nation is based on two basic ideas

  1. Focuss­ing on what makes us ha­ppy can bring us to great­er heights of joy and ful­fil­ment than focuss­ing sole­ly on the prob­lems we wish to sol­ve. This is the phil­os­ophy in­her­ent in Pos­itive Psych­ol­ogy.
  2. Happi­ness, like any other emo­tion­al sta­te, is not an isol­ated phen­om­enon – it aff­ects, and is aff­ect­ed by, the peo­ple arou­nd us. To rea­ch ful­fil­ment we must work to­wards en­hanc­ing the happi­ness of all, us­ing love, comp­ass­ion and grati­tude. This so­cial happi­ness phil­os­ophy is con­sis­tent with the prin­ci­ples of Deep Eco­logy.

Stephanie Hills has thirty years' experience working with people in distress, both as a social worker and a counsellor.

A large part of her work has comprised using narrative and art therapy to help people move on from depression. While still helping people facing difficulties, Stephanie's work has broadened to include the promotion and enhancement of individual and social happiness.

Using the principles of Positive Psychology and Deep Ecology, she assists individuals and groups to improve their functioning in various life spheres, taking into account the social, cultural, economic and environmental context of people's lives.


Crazy Happy: A film

Crazy Happy is a documentary filmed in Whangarei, following a group of people with mental health issues as they participate in a 100-day project to promote happiness. At the beginning of the project most of the participants suffered from depression, some to a debilitating degree.

The idea was quite simple: each day the participants had to take a photo of something that made them happy. Once a fortnight the group met and each person had to share a photo with the group and talk about it. The effects were astounding!

This unique approach to mental wellbeing was introduced to New Zealand by Alison Davie, who wrote and directed the film, assisted by producer Zuleika Gilbert.

See a trailer and/or order the film on Vimeo here

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Questions

A father and son went fishing one day. After a couple hours in the boat, the boy suddenly became curious about the world around him.

He asked his father, “How does this boat float?”

The father thought for a moment, then replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.”

The boy returned to his contemplation, then turned back to his father, “How do fish breathe underwater?”

Once again the father replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.”

A little later the boy asked his father, “Why is the sky blue?”

Again, the father replied. “Don’t rightly know, son.”

Worried he was going to annoy his father, he says, “Dad, do you mind my asking you all of these questions?”

“Of course not, son. If you don’t ask questions, you’ll never learn anything!”

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Inspired drawing

A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child’s work.

As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, ‘I’m drawing God.’

The teacher paused and said, ‘But no one knows what God looks like.’

Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, ‘They will in a minute.’

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Copyright © Stephanie Hills 2011