In an era where 24-hour news cycles continuously bombard us with appalling events happening throughout the world, we are increasingly prone to compassion fatigue, and may in fact become numb to the endless shocking headlines and images. Many polarising events and human tragedies—from Brexit to the rise of far right extremism, the Yemeni civil war to the Rohingya refugee crisis—show a world in flux, in turmoil and unhinged. Because of this, for our own sanity and peace of mind, we need, more than ever, to find reasons to be cheerful.
One of the most memorable good news stories of 2018 was the Thai cave rescue, when twelve boys from the Wild Boars football team and their young coach were saved from the flooded Tham Luang cave system in northern Thailand. The successful rescue of the boys and coach caused a worldwide sensation—it was a reason to be cheerful, to find faith in humanity. Moreover, it offered a lesson in the power of shared responsibility, as nations across the world gave their help and support.
As we approach a new year, you may be striving to find reasons and ways to be cheerful. At LZF, we don’t pretend to be a cheerfulness guru—we simply want to offer a few ideas.
Find out who you are and do it on purpose!
Dolly Parton, the indisputable Queen of Country and an individual with a thoroughly positive attitude towards life, asserts: ‘Find out who you are and do it on purpose.’ In order to find success, happiness or contentment, just be yourself. Any pretended version of you will simply not work. Getting comfortable in your own skin is a reason to be cheerful.
Dolly at 24. She found out who she was. And did it on purpose.
Read a real book
Rediscover the wonderfully tactile feel of a real, physical book. Despite our compulsive obsession with all things digital, print media, especially books and magazines, continues to survive and thrive. Whether it’s about nostalgia for a bygone era or the joy of curling up with a good read, books are a reason to be cheerful
Do your bit for the environment—however small
Do your bit for the environment by supporting a beach clean-up, buying a reusable coffee cup or using less disposable plastic. In October 2018, the European Parliament overwhelmingly endorsed a wide-ranging ban on single-use plastics (such as disposable cutlery and plates, straws and drink stirrers), in a bid to alleviate ocean pollution. The ban will come into effect from 2021. And in September 2018, a new initiative to clean up the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ (the biggest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world) was launched by The Ocean Cleanup—it will be the largest cleanup in history. Your contribution, however small, can help to restore our planet—and you’ll feel cheerful about it too.
Get involved in a peaceful protest
In what often seems like a maddening, chaotic world, we can feel powerless to make a difference. One option is to get involved in a peaceful protest (around a particular cause). Research shows that campaigns of non-violent resistance are more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts. In addition, they are also much more inclusive, embracing gender, age, race and class. Famous examples of peaceful, non-violent protests in history include: the American Civil Rights Movement, the Salt March (led by Mohandas Gandhi), and the women’s suffrage movement. (Source: Share America) No-one is saying that a peaceful protest will inevitably change the world, but it will bring a certain amount of good cheer and comradeship.
Embrace positive education
Education is about more than just learning and achieving academic excellence. It is also about developing, growing and thriving as productive members of society. With positive education, the practice is to mix the pursuit of knowledge with aspects of positive psychology, such as better decision-making, coping with stress and anxiety, and problem-solving. As a consequence of positive education, students are likely to see an improvement in their mental health, as well as an improvement in their academic success and creative thinking. By embracing positive education, we will feel happier, more content and cheerful. Read about the power of positive education on The Conversation.
It is absolutely fine to treat yourself now and then—you’ve earned it. And what better reason to be cheerful. Escape to some faraway beachside retreat. Book those guitar lessons you’ve been hankering after. Buy that design icon you’ve always wanted.
LZF’s Escape pendant by Ray Power, living beachside in Marbella, Spain.
We need to practice gratitude and being grateful for what we actually have. Think about it—are things really so bad? Stop comparing yourself to others (something this writer does again and again), and consider your own self-worth. You are more likely to feel better about yourself—to feel grateful and thankful for all you have accomplished and achieved. That’s sure to cheer you up.
Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet (created by English author A. A. Milne).
Be kind to others
In an increasingly selfish and me-centric world, acts of humanity and kindness towards others will always win the day. From smiling at a stranger to volunteering at a local charity, there are many unselfish reasons to be cheerful.
Happy 2019 from everyone at LZF.