Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Happiness Experiment

Remember January 2014?  I do...the New Year held so much promise! Resolutions seemed attainable (like me writing blog posts more frequently...we see how well that's turned out!) During our company holiday party, I heard a catchy song I had never heard before named "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. Now it's played at nauseum on Top 40 radio stations, but remember, this was back in January!

I liked the song so much that I watched the video, and saw it was essentially everyday people shaking their groove thing and dancing however they liked. So I started dancing along. And then I thought, what would happen if I danced to this song every day for 30 days? Would it make me any happier? Would I start the day with a literal spring in my step?

Part of my inspiration was from Gretchen Rubin, who has written several books on happiness including The Happiness Project and Happiness at Home. She is also writing a book about happiness and habit forming which intrigued me. If it takes 21 days to form a habit, how long does it take for a happiness-inducing habit to form? And when would I actually start feeling happier?

So every morning for 30 days (except for a few days where I doubled up) I danced. And shimmied. And swiveled. And all those things normally reserved for describing Elvis' hips. And during the process I was 1) out of breath, 2) energized, and 3) really enjoying myself! At 5:45 in the morning, I was starting my day on a happier note. Even on the days when I was tired, or just in a bad mood, I thought to myself, "Just get started and see where it goes." Every time I ended up finishing the song and smiling.

As I started choreographing moves and developing a routine, I was reminded of when I was in elementary school and made up dance routines to records playing on my Fisher Price record player, and then to cassette tapes (Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul, mostly). I was reminded of a time when I felt free to create, when I didn't really care what I looked like because I was expressing myself in a truly authentic way. Why is that so hard to do as an adult? Why is it so SCARY?

Of course, if that is where the story ended, it would be an OK happiness experiment, right? I mean, I ended up feeling happier so I achieved my desired result. But what I wanted from all of this was something more. I wanted to share my expression with others and to put something that was truly mine out into the universe to see what happened. Enter Jen Garrott and Vault Productions, who listened to my crazy idea and made it a reality. She did a fantastic job, I must say!

Sometimes being brave means taking something from the basement at 5:45 in the morning to broad daylight and not apologizing for it. So here is the result of my happiness experiment and an experiment in bravery as well. Enjoy!