Answers To the Questions You Ask Most About SOHP and Me…
What does the Society do?
We are a group of people who celebrate being happy.
We also declared:
• August 8 – Happiness Happens Day
• August – Happiness Happens Month
• Third Week of January – Hunt for Happiness Week
To help people identify more happiness, we even identified 31 Types of Happiness
When did the Society begin?
The Society of Happy People, formerly known as the Secret Society of Happy People, got its first member, whom I didn’t know, on August 8, 1998—so that’s when we celebrate our birthday.
Why was it originally a “Secret” Society?
We were making a play on words. We spend so much time focusing on our “what’s wrong” moments that we ignore many of our happy moments, so our happiness became a secret — even to us.
Do you want everyone to be happy all of the time?
Of course not. Being happy all of the time isn’t realistic for anyone. However, we want people to make an effort to recognize and even talk about their happy moments as much as they do their unhappy ones — maybe more because happiness is more fun.
How many members do you have?
Thousands of people from 45 identified countries are members of the Society of Happy People.
Why did you start the Society?
At this point, I’d say blind optimism. When we started the Society, happiness wasn’t part of the cultural conversation like it is today. However, even today, a lot of the happiness focus is on how to be happy instead of celebrating when you are happy. So, the Society still has a role in the happiness conversation. Our first slogan was, “Are You Happier Than You Admit You Are?” and it still applies today.
Have you always been a happy person?
Although I haven’t been formally evaluated, I suspect that I’m one of those genetically blessed happy people. However, like everyone else, I have bad moments, too. I’ve also experienced those life-changing sad events that leave you happy challenged while you’re adjusting to your new normal. And, even though I’m an idealist and optimist, I’m not a Pollyanna.
What have you learned about happiness?
In 2018, when the Society celebrated its 20th birthday, a reporter asked me, “What have you learned about happiness in 20 years?” I hadn’t really thought about it until he asked that question. Although we’ve learned a lot about happiness scientifically speaking, for me, happiness is more of a mindset—a way of life.
What I’ve learned seemed to be more wisdom—my code word for age—related. But I think we can be happier when we apply what I call the Practical Happiness Principles:
What’s your favorite happiness booster?
Sleep. If I get less than seven hours for more than a night or two, I get really cranky. I even find myself crying for the silliest reasons.
What do you do when you’re unhappy?
It really depends on why I’m unhappy. I try to practice my Practical Happiness Principle — Happiness Zappers Zap Everyone. So, the first thing I do is identify the zapper. If something unhappy happened, it may mean letting myself feel sad. If something needs to change, I try to change it. If I’m letting a simple annoyance zap my happiness, I try to let it go.
When I’m having a down moment, I always try to count my happy moments on the Society’s Happiness Counter.