What actually promotes happiness and wellbeing?

This year as people began to wish me a happy birthday it made me think about what it would take to make my birthday a happy one. Over recent decades it has become clear that GDP, material wealth and possessions do not create happiness. Therefore I'm guessing that it's not presents that is going to make my birthday a happy one. This made me think of the research that the New Economics Foundation (NEF) has done around what creates happiness, health and wellbeing. They have identified 5 key things to create happiness and wellbeing (see below) so I thought that I would try putting the happy in my happy birthday by making sure I did each of these 5 things today. I also love that the five things that create happiness for me also contribute to the wellbeing of society and our planet.


Usually birthdays are about receiving and so I wondered how it would feel if instead of getting presents this year that I gave instead. I started this experiment at the beginning of the week and so far it feels great! I decided that I would gift money to some of the people in my life who are following their dreams and passions and making this world a better and more creative place - although there are many of you I will feature some of these people (and I'm looking forward to giving to other people in the future!). And if it inspires you to give to them or to others that you know then I would have to say that would also make me very happy!


It is not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last either that Shani and Tim from Ecoburbia are making it easy for me to connect to my local community. Each month this amazing duo host Ecoburbia monthly movies to bring the community together and to 'spread general awareness about various issues, and encourage people to take action'. This time they are also teaming up with my favourite caterer for the evening - Shona (Hidden Pantry). So not only do I get to watch a great movie with friends but I also get to support my one of my favourite local businesses and eat food filled with love and values (If you haven't checked the Hidden Pantry out already please do - see link below - you can also get take away meals every Friday night...there's not better way to start a weekend!). I also plan to pop down to Freo for the PARK(ing) day...where once again Shani, Tim and Jamie are doing some great things.