Today we celebrate International Day of Happiness (20th March) which is a United Nations endorsed initiative encouraging the pursuit of happiness. It probably goes without saying that we all want to be happy - but how do we achieve this, especially during this very challenging time. Self-quarantining and social isolation could mean loneliness, depression or anxiety- and probably a whole lot of boredom too.
Reading, TV and hobbies can help - and there are also excellent on-line learning courses. Maybe now’s the time to tackle things you have always wanted to do but have never had the time. You could learn how to make your own soap or delve into the mysticism of ancient cultures? (or not?)
Or you could spend all your time and bandwidth engrossed in some armchair adventures. Seize this opportunity to research your next trip, take virtual tours, improve your foreign language skills - just dive into the world and come out on the other side of Covid-19.
Scientists researching happiness say that travelling makes us much happier than material possessions (we could have told you that!) But why does travel get our happy meters revving? According to research conducted at Cornell University, the rush we get from buying something is temporary but the joy we get from travelling has a long-lasting effect.
So the thrill from buying a new pair of shoes or the latest gadget is short-lived and will eventually fade but the memories you create on your trips become a real source of happiness that will stay with you your whole life. So it makes sense to invest in experiences because you’ll be investing in your long-term happiness and satisfaction.
The boffs confirm that embarking on adventures is good for our levels of happiness - but what else will make a difference? Brainboxes from Harvard University say that individuals who most connected to their family, friends, and community were the healthiest and happiest. That’s impossible right now and it’s going to be tough to embrace this year’s theme for International Day of Happiness which is Happier Together - when we are separated fromour social networks.
Planning a trip together will help you feel connected. Set up Skype planning sessions, create a WhatsApp travel chat, make a call to share an exciting destination review, experiment with a recipe from the next country you plan to visit, challenge your friends to start and complete a travel- themed puzzle (it could take you months to finish a 3000 piece masterpiece), get a group email going to talk about your upcoming trip - all of these will banish the travel blues and keep everyone motivated.
While you are following the guidance of world leaders by keeping your distance and dedicating your time researching and planning your next trip where new experiences will connect you to others, we can share that the leader of the research team at Harvard testifies that travelling with his family brought him closer to them and increased his happiness. We can understand how this happened. Read this delightful card from a family that had spent time with us. They had booked a trip of a lifetime to celebrate the remarkable 50 year wedding anniversary of one set of grandparents. On the outside, the card read: “The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been and the memories we have made along the way.” The inscription inside read: “ Thank you for showing us that a group of 10 assorted human beings can travel long-haul together, across three time zones, touch down in South Africa, make our way to Ocean House, spend ten glorious days in De Hoop and live to tell the tale and then some! When we got back home we had a reunion dinner and decided to adopt the following motto: “ Adventures Together!”.
That pretty much sums up what years and years of academic slog at Harvard and Cornell revealed. Morukuru Family has been created by a family for family and we say Choose Happy, Choose to Travel...in the future when things are once again safe.