Category: Social happiness

  • Pink Shirt Attitude in Action

    In 2007, two Canadian high school students noticed a new boy getting bullied for wearing a pink shirt. They dealt with the situation in a most creative way, buying up a load of cheap pink shirts and messaging all their friends, so that the next day the school was a sea of pink. Pink Shirt […]

  • Smile – and feel better

    Try holding a pencil between your teeth, in such a way that the pencil doesn’t touch your lips. This forces your face into something that looks like a smile. Years ago, experimenters found that people holding a pencil in this way rated cartoons as funnier than they did without the pencil. The conclusion was that […]

  • A brighter future for the world

    As it becomes increasingly clear that the ways we have organised ourselves in the industrialised world have been bad for us as humans, as well as destructive for the planet, more and more people are thinking for themselves about what is truly important. And now that the internet can connect people across the globe, individuals […]

  • Fear of trying new things

    I heard on the radio recently that a significant number of New Zealand 12-year-olds refrain from an activity they would like to do, out of fear that they won’t be good at it. That’s sad, not just because kids are missing out on something they might enjoy, but also because avoiding things you’re nervous about […]

  • Humour at Work

    Isn’t it uplifting when you work alongside someone with a sense of humour! Some people have a natural gift for making you laugh at just the right moment; others are great at appreciating humour, sharing cartoons and lightening the mood with their laughter. (Of course, I’m talking here about upbeat or silly humour, not the […]

  • Staying upbeat despite the moaners

    Two long term studies of couples showed that partners’ happiness scores tend to become more similar over time.  That’s not surprising, but what’s alarming is that it’s the happier one whose mood declines to match their partner’s, while the more miserable person remains relatively stable. Many of us have probably experienced this at work too, […]

  • Nature, nurture or circumstance?

    At New Year we often think about changes we’d like to make in our lives. To do so, we need to believe that we are not destined to stay the same forever. In other words, we need to have a ‘growth mindset.’ If you believe that people are born either good or bad at something […]

  • Happiness and Social Connection

    If you believe the ads, happiness is to be found in being rich, ‘successful’, good-looking and the envy of your friends. Ads appeal to our inborn desire for something better than the status quo; an instinct that evolutionary psychologists would say has prompted human civilisation to improve and evolve. In reality, of course, those things […]

  • What is Tolerance and How Do We Achieve it?

    The International Day for Tolerance is observed this week, although the devastating conflicts in Gaza, Ukraine and elsewhere show that we have a long way to go before there is much to celebrate. From our relative safety and distance, we can see international conflicts with detached clarity; naming the atrocities as unacceptable without having to […]

  • Kindness on the Bus

    Taking the bus recently, I’ve noticed a very positive bus culture. Passengers thank the driver as they leave, while drivers greet passengers and wait until they’re seated before starting to move the bus. Recently a young mother got on, with a small baby in a pram. She parked the pram in the wheelchair/pram section of […]