25 November 2013

Mark Williamson is the Director of Action for Happiness, a movement of people committed to building a happier society by making positive changes in their personal lives, homes, workplaces and communities. 

A woman and an elderly woman in a bright pink cardigan pose for a photo near a plant.

What really makes life happy and fulfilling? It’s a big question and perhaps one we don’t ask ourselves often enough in our increasingly busy lives. Traditionally people have searched for answers about how to live well from philosophy, religion and perhaps the self-help section of the bookshop. But in recent years something new and rather exciting has come along too – a new branch of scientific research which actually aims to uncover the real secrets of a happy life.

Here at Action for Happiness we aim to share the best knowledge about what really makes life good and to make this practical and relevant to people in their daily lives. We’ve done an extensive review of all the latest research and used this to create our Ten Keys to Happier Living. Everyone’s path to happiness is different, but the evidence suggests these Ten Keys consistently tend to have a positive impact.

When we first came across The Big Lunch we immediately loved the concept. And from speaking to people who’ve been involved it’s clearly a great source of happiness for many. So why is this? Well, we think the answer could lie in the Ten Keys. What we’ve been excited to discover is that The Big Lunch manages (rather impressively!) to touch on all ten of these areas in some way…

  1. Giving: do things for others. The Big Lunch inspires a strong spirit of generosity and wanting to lend a hand. When we do things to help others, this isn’t just good for them, we also feel great ourselves too.
  2. Relating: connect with people. The Big Lunch brings people together, helping to form new friendships and reduce isolation. This is a huge contributor to happiness, not just for individuals but for the community as a whole.
  3. Exercising: take care of your body. The Big Lunch encourages activity and often involves people getting outdoors and moving around. Staying active, even in small day-to-day ways, is so important for our wellbeing.
  4. Appreciating: notice the world around. The Big Lunch helps people notice the good things in their local community. It makes a huge difference when we spend less time complaining about what’s wrong and more focusing on what’s right.
  5. Trying out: keep learning new things. The Big Lunch gets people organising and taking on new challenges together. Learning and trying out new things is an essential part of living a full and happy life.
  6. Direction: have goals to look forward to. The Big Lunch provides a very clear and positive goal for people to work towards. Having goals – and achieving and celebrating them together – is a great source of fulfilment.
  7. Resilience: find ways to bounce back. The Big Lunch helps people learn that they can ask for help from their neighbours. Having friends to turn to locally is a great source of support, especially when times are tough.
  8. Emotion: take a positive approach. The Big Lunch is a great source of positive emotions – fun, humour, excitement, accomplishment, pride, gratitude and much more. These feel great and also help boost our overall health and wellbeing.
  9. Acceptance: be comfortable with who you are. The Big Lunch encourages people to use their strengths and contribute what they can. We’re at our best when we’re focusing on things we love to do – and encouraging others to do the same.
  10. Meaning: be part of something bigger. The Big Lunch is unites people and brings a real sense of purpose. When we’re part of something that really makes a difference life becomes so much more rewarding.

So the results are clear: The Big Lunch has amazing potential to make people and communities happier/

Find out more about Action for Happiness on their website http://www.actionforhappiness.org/, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

When we first came across The Big Lunch we immediately loved the concept. And from speaking to people who’ve been involved it’s clearly a great source of happiness for many.