The word “happy” is often used thoughtlessly; often in a saccharine, bland, shallow way. We say “Happy New Year” or “Happy Christmas” as a reflex, often knowing at the back of our minds that it’s vague wishful thinking, even if heartfelt. Or even perhaps that “happy” is indulgent and sometimes quite unrealistic. So happiness can be under-rated and dismissed or used meaninglessly.
But feeling happy is a very important, boosting, healthy state that helps us stay afloat. We can’t have (and don’t need) it all the time and shouldn’t worry when happy is elusive but it is worth seeking and working at so that we get a regular dose, whether from being with friends, having a laugh, reading a book, going for a run, looking at something beautiful, eating a delicious meal or getting into bed at the end of a hard day knowing that we did a good job. Or whatever works for you.
Happiness is two things: it can describe how I feel now, when something good happens or when I’m pleased with what I’ve done. And it can describe a more general, underlying feeling of wellbeing. Both those states are worth appreciating when they happen and seeking when we can. They both give us strength to face whatever we might have to face. Happiness can be stored, like a battery. It’s good to keep your battery charged. And everyone gets their happy moments in different ways.
Most of us have a happy self and a sad self. A calm self and an emotional, even angry self. And many other selves between. We owe it to ourselves and the people we live and work with to nurture the happy self, not all the time but enough to keep us afloat. When we boost and value the happy, positive, forward-thinking parts of ourself, we do ourselves justice. We make ourselves better, healthier, stronger. We give ourselves the chance to thrive.
So I am delighted to announce that I will be doing some work for an organisation I’ve admired from afar, HappySelf Journal. HappySelf produces gorgeous journals to help young people record moods and thoughts, wishes and experiences, ideas and motivational quotes. Journalling is good for us in ways you might not imagine. It helps mood, self-awareness and aspects of mental health, which you might have guessed, but there’s also evidence that it even helps sleep and our immune system.
I’d been aware of HappySelf but hadn’t looked very carefully because at first their work was with 6-12 year-olds, but now they have a 12+ range of journals. (Also perfect for adults! I’ve started already!) So I was delighted (happy!) when Francesca Geens, the creator, approached me and asked if I’d write some parent guides and other items for them. Definitely! I’ll be writing one on anxiety first: a bit of a hot topic as who isn’t feeling somewhat anxious right now? They’ll be publishing a blogpost from me on understanding your teenagers soon.
Right at the start of the pandemic, I ran a creative diary-writing competition and I’ve regularly mentioned the value of writing thoughts down to help mental health so doing some work with HappySelf is a very neat fit for me.
To spread a bit of happy at the start of 2021, I have THREE of the 12+ journals to give away, one each in orange, blue and silver. They are gorgeous! (Thank you, HappySelf!)
- Premium 100gsm FSC paper to ensure a lovely writing experience (It really is!)
- Structured daily pages to guide you through the journaling process with plenty of space for free journaling
- All pages are different and beautifully illustrated
- Undated so it can be started at any time of the year
- Elastic and ribbon to keep your journal private and to mark your page
- The journal has a lie-flat binding to make it easy to write in
- Super-soft vegan-friendly cover
For a chance of winning one of these from me: (NOW CLOSED)
- Have a UK postal address (You can nominate someone else in the UK, if you like)
- Follow this blog (You can unfollow at any time)
- Add a comment below, including the words “pick me”
- By 5pm GMT on Jan 11th
- Make sure you put your correct email address when asked, or I won’t be able to contact you!
- After the deadline, I’ll assign all valid comments a number and run them through a random number generator. The three numbers chosen will win!
EDITED TO ADD: and the winners are….. Ro, Katrina and Louise! Your lucky day! I’ll be in touch. To the others: I hate the moment where people discover they didn’t win. I’m so sorry! But it was random and I’m sure your lucky day will come! Keep entering and keep hoping. But see the consolation message for one of you below…
Happy 2021, to all of you.
Don’t forget there’s also a giveaway of the Awesome Power of Sleep: see HERE. Deadline Jan 7th, publication day.