Happiness Happens Month 2020: 31 Days. 31 Smiles.


For the first time in twenty years, I gave serious consideration to cancelling Happiness Happens Month. There have been previous years when culturally we were happy challenged. However, 2020 is topping a universal, even global, happiness challenge like nothing I’ve ever seen.

It’s not that happiness isn’t happening—it is. It’s just different than what we might want or even expect it to be.

We’re all learning to live with constant uncertainty over everything from our health to job security to something as simple as celebrating a child’s birthday. The majority of us are way beyond COVID-fatigued at this point — we are flat out COVID-exhausted.

I get it. It’s even impacting me who usually sees the silver lining in most dark clouds.

However, I was reminded that’s exactly why it’s important for us to recognize our happy moments right now — even if they look a little different, even if there are fewer of them, even if we have to make an extra effort to notice them.

The purpose of Happiness Happens Month is to remind us to notice all of the happiness we experience no matter how often we experience it.

It’s true I’m not getting to do some of the things I’m realizing exactly how much I enjoy right now. I miss travel. I miss hugs—and I wouldn’t classify myself as a hugger. I miss being around people—and I’m an introvert. I miss not being so germ aware — like I had no idea until now that every time someone speaks to me that I’m practically French kissing them and vice-versa.

However, the sacrifices that I’m being asked to make are pretty small. Wear a mask, wash my hands a lot, don’t touch my face, and don’t hang in large groups. Otherwise, I have plenty of food, the internet, TV, AC, family, and friends I can chat with on video conferences, phone, or text. Life really is pretty good even though it’s a little different.

So, this year, recognizing that our normal happy feelings may be different, our theme is Operation #SmileStarter and we’re encouraging everyone to take the #SmileStarter Challenge: 31 Days. 31 Smiles.

We are asking you to do one thing each day that will either make you or someone else smile. Since smiles are contagious, you’ll probably be creating more than one. And of course, the challenge activities are pandemic-world friendly.

When you sign up  for the #SmileStarter Challenge you’ll get a:

  • #SmileStarter Challenge Pledge
  • #SmileStarter Challenge Calendar

We’ll give you 31 suggested activities that start smiles but you can also do an alternate activity. You can also start the challenge anytime or change activity days.

Happiness is personal — and what starts smiles for either you or someone else is personal. So, be creative. Have fun. Do things that make you happy.

However, if you only want to do one thing, please participate in our Happiness Happens Day (August 8th) activity — wearing a #SmileStarter Mask!

We want you to either make or buy a mask that makes you smile. If you’re smiling while wearing your fun, happy mask, others will see the smile in your eyes and smile back.

A smile for you! A smile for them! A HUGE boost for everyone’s immune system!

Your mask doesn’t have to be complicated — here’s my first attempt at decorating a #SmileStarter Mask

Our mask is our current must-have fashion accessory so let’s make them fun. Let them reflect your personality. When designing or selecting your #SmileStarter mask consider your:

  • favorite color
  • favorite sport teams
  • favorite quotes
  • favorite cartoon characters
  • favorite pets
  • favorite symbols
  • favorite bling

Since masks help keep everyone healthy, and healthy is happy, let’s make them fun. Let’s make them #SmileStarters.

This August will undoubtedly be filled with extra stress and anxiety, heartbreak for families personally impacted by COVID, and financial hardships for many. However, it can also be filled with a few more smiles and happy moments if you make that one of your August goals.

Do your best to live in the moment, to connect with others in the safest way possible, and to wear your mask to protect others and yourself—because happy people don’t want to be the reason someone else gets sick.

Instead, of cancelling Happiness Happens Month, we need to make it the most celebrated one yet. When you participate in the #SmileStarter Challenge this August can be a month of 31 smiles in 31 days. And who doesn’t need to smile a little more right now?

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