Some days, weeks – even months – happiness comes easily. Sometimes, not so much, and you have to work to feel good.
A Harvard Medical School study showed that smiling is contagious. More studies have shown that there is a direct link between smiling and happiness: the facial changes involved in smiling have direct effects on certain brain activities associated with happiness.
The really good news? You can have a direct effect on your mood, and it can start with something as simple as a smile.
And if you need help generating that smile? Check out this new app available through iTunes.
BeHppy allows you to post pictures anonymously of people, things and places that make you feel good. You can store your posts in your own file so you can revisit them, and you can “smile” at other posts that make you happy. Nicolas Christakes, the scientist in the NPR article referenced above, tells us that happiness is contagious and that one person’s happiness can spread through their social network for up to three degrees of separation. That’s pretty heady stuff.
BeHppy is a form of social networking, like FaceBook, but there’s an important difference. There are things I like about FaceBook: it keeps me in touch with extended family, friends I don’t see often, and some news (or news-like information, such as the YouTube clip of the dogs who are afraid to go past the family cat). A friend posts pictures of her dogs almost daily that actually make my day, they are that goofily funny. Here’s the rub on posting though: posting brings with it a request for a certain level of engagement from your reader; on some level, I think you are asking your FB friends to notice you, if not go a step further and “like” or comment. And that’s fine. Human connection is the stuff of life.
What makes BeHppy work for me is its anonymity. My post or photo is just out there, not attached to me or my ego. It just is. And if it resonates with someone else and makes them smile or feel good, then that’s great.
I showed my 12-year-old the BeHppy app the other day. We spent about 15 minutes looking at the posts and talking about which ones made us happy. Then she showed me funny YouTube clips that made her laugh, and then we watched Pharrell Williams’ Happy song video…. I think it’s safe to say that we both felt happy and more importantly, we were connected – in a way that doesn’t always happen easily with an almost-teenager and a mom.