This article, entitled "100 Days of Happy," comes from Erin Ferris at partner site Chasing Roots.
In general, I am a happy person. And as long as my days are bookended by hugs and kisses and include exercise, writing, reading, an afternoon Spark pick-me-up, and an evening piece of chocolate or glass of wine, I'll stay that way.
That doesn't mean, however, that happiness follows me around like Cheer Bear's brightly-colored cartoon rainbow. (Though Cheer Bear is the only Care Bear I ever owned.) I have struggled with the loss of friends and battled through both clincal and postpartum depression. My moods swing up and down and back and forth, depending on the health and happiness of those I love, my daily interactions with friends and acquaintances and strangers, the amount of sleep I get, my hormones, and the weather. And I'm as grumpy as the next mama on Monday mornings when my alarm clock reminds me to rise and shine and make sure my husband and kids make it out the door - fed and wearing matching socks - on time.
I don't believe that happiness is a choice, at least not entirely. During my 18-month-long battle with postpartum depression I wanted nothing more than to be happy - or at the very least, not unhappy - but my "choice" to be happy was never strong enough to lift the soul-crushing weight of my illness from my shoulders.
I do believe that happiness is a personal responsibility. It is my responsibility to surround myself with people who lift me up, instead of drag me down. It is my responsibility to focus on the positive, instead of the negative. It is my responsibility to be kind, say thank you, forgive others, and above all, LOVE, because these acts bring and sustain happiness.
It is also my responsibility to pass my happiness on to my children and teach them how to live happily, which is why I chose to begin the #100HappyDays challenge today.
The #100HappyDays challenge encourages participants to recognize happiness in their lives - if even just for a moment - for 100 days in a row, and to document this happiness by taking a picture of whatever or whoever brings out the feeling. The idea behind this online campaign is that slowing down long enough to "appreciate the moment, the environment, and yourself in it…is the base for building the bridge toward long-term happiness".
I invite you to join me in the #100HappyDays challenge. You can start today, tomorrow, or next week. You can complete the challenge privately, or if you'd like to share your happiness publicly, you can register on the #100HappyDays website and post your pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter. I also invite you to share your favorite happiness photos with me (email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org) so that I can include them when I provide challenge updates on Chasing Roots.
I look forward to starting the #100HappyDays challenge today, but more than starting the challenge, I look forward to finishing the challenge and looking back on 100 days of happiness. On that 100th day, I plan to sit down at my computer, pull up my pictures, and walk Will and Hallie through everything that made me happy - each of them, their daddy, and our life together - since the challenge began.