#HappinessHabits613: Cultivating Happiness & Building Community

Less than a month ago, Manal NemrKate Durie and I, came together and vaguely developed and conceptualized an initiative designed to cultivate happiness and build community in Ottawa (and beyond).  With very little idea of the what, whys, whens, wheres or hows, we gave it a name. We called it #HappinessHabits613. 

We werenโ€™t exactly sure what this initiative would entail, but realizing that it takes 21 days to make a habit, we started with that. We also wanted to offer free events to participants focused on several keystone habits of happiness such as gratitude, mindfulness, meditation, movement, spending time in nature, social connections, and so on. In this spirit, we devised and planned several activities, including a launch party where weโ€™d gather friends (old and new) to give out gratitude journals and talk about happiness, a yoga/mindfulness/meditation seminar, a picnic at Vincent Massey Park, a night of art and live music and much more.

Just a few weeks after our initial meeting, we launched #HappinessHabits613 on Facebook. By that point, the ideas were flowing and our vision and support network had grown significantly. Weโ€™d tapped into something and it felt good; to us and to others. Somehow, within a few short weeks and with our busy, scattered schedules, we brought this little dream to life. 

This past weekend, on Saturday, August 1, we launched #HappinessHabits613 at the Hub. With over 80 people in attendance, we mingled, laughed, snacked on healthy food, sipped on tea and cold pressed juices (thank you, Urban Juice Press), decorated our journals, and enjoyed an afternoon among like-minded people.  

Just as exercise, proper sleep, good nutrition and staying hydrated are important components of overall health, so is being happy. At the launch, we encouraged participants to use their journals to track gratitude and meaningful experiences. By taking note of these things, we become aware of what brings us joy, our accomplishments and purpose,  and that's how we begin to intentionally cultivate happiness.  We also shared our 9 Foundational Principals of Happiness Habits (which you can read HERE).  We stressed the importance of making these things part of a daily practice, and to try it for at least 21 days, because over time and with repetition, habits are formed. 

If you'd like to join in on the fun from Ottawa, or from afar, here's what you need to do: 

First, sign up for a free account on TOVIFIT (the special code is HH613). The site has activities, resources, articles, videos, and tips as well as a calendar of events that lists all of the activities we have planned for the month of August. 

Second, learn about and practice our foundational principles of happiness habits. Again, click HERE for our handy dandy guideline.

Finally, you can share your meaningful experiences with us by using #HappinessHabits613 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Thank you to everybody who came out to the launch party and those who are already participating virtually! I'd also like to extend immense gratitude to our many, many sponsors and to CY-IWANDER and Sarah Marotta for the beautiful photos below. 

You can join and follow HappinessHabits613 on Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram and share your adventures in happiness by using #HappinessHabit613.