Follow along with the transcript below for episode: Celebrate a Month of #HappyActs With Live Happy
[00:00:02] PF: Thank you for joining us for episode 406 of Live Happy Now. It’s almost March and here at Live Happy, it’s our favorite time of year, and not just because of St. Patrick’s Day. I’m your host, Paula Felps, and this week we are talking about happiness month, and how you can help celebrate it.
Today, I’m being joined a Live Happy CEO and Founder Deborah Heisz, E-Commerce Marketing Manager, Casey Johnson, and Marketing Manager, Laura Coppedge, to talk about why we’re so excited about this time of year, and how you can be a part of it. Let’s have a listen.
[00:00:35] PF: I’m so happy to have all three of the ladies here at Live Happy. It’s really exciting to talk about happiness month. We’ve been doing this for a while. And I’m so glad that we can sit down and tell everybody what all we have planned this year, because I feel like we’re back for the first time in like three years. One thing people may not know about if they haven’t been following Live Happy earlier, and we forgive them for that. They may not know what happy acts are and what this is all about. And Deb, I don’t think anyone can explain it better than you can.
[00:01:04] DH: Oh, thanks, Paula. Yeah, this is something we have been doing for quite a while. I think this is our ninth year of doing some sort of a Happy Acts campaign. I could be wrong. But I think it’s year number nine. We better figure that out before it’s year number 10. Really what we do is we take the month of March, and the reason why we selected March is because in 2012, the United Nations declared March 20th, the International Day of Happiness. So, March was kind of declared for us, but we take the month of March, and we use it as a month to share happiness and try and make the world a happier place through something we call our Happy Acts.
That’s Happy A-C-T-S campaign, and that’s really composed of two different things. One is an online social media, people doing happy acts and sharing happy acts and pointing out the good things they see in the world, but also being intentional. And the other one is a walls project, which is walls that we put up. And we call them walls, but they’re anything from a bulletin board to something stuck on your refrigerator, to a large wall in a public place like a park or a mall, more people make a commitment to do something to make the world a happier place. And we’ve been doing this for a while and every year it gets bigger. What we really want to use the month to do is to get people focused on the idea that they can take action, that people can actually take action to improve their communities around them and prove their own wellbeing and make a difference in the world. So, it’s a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun around it. But also, it’s a way of giving back.
[00:02:40] PF: Can you tell us more about the 20th, which is the International Day of Happiness, and maybe some of the ways that people celebrate that?
[00:02:46] DH: Well, the kingdom of Bhutan, actually, there was a study done a long time ago, they were kind of the happiest country on Earth. They petitioned the United Nations to declare that the International Day of Happiness. So, a lot of days, there’s everything from International Donut Day to, National Take Your Dog to the Park Day, whatever it is, there’s all sorts of days that are declared.
But when we found out about that, it’s about the same time that Live Happy was founding. So, we actually partnered with the United Nations for a couple years. I mean, we did presentations and got a group of speakers together to address the United Nations on happiness. And we did that for a few years. And then there are a lot of other organizations similar to ourselves that do some sort of social, or charitable reach out to celebrate internationally of happiness. But really, the concept of happiness is not – we’ve talked about this a lot, Paula. We’re talking about happiness. We’re not talking about taking that roller coaster ride that makes you have fun. We’re not talking about whatever it is that makes you like jump for glee. We’re actually talking about personal wellbeing.
Being the person who you’re supposed to be, being where you’re supposed to be in your life, really being congruent in the choices that you make. And that’s really what they mean by the International Day of Happiness. It’s a day of how can we improve human wellbeing. And there’s other organizations, like I said, that do similar things to what we do. But really, it has been a part of Live Happy from day one. We just think it’s important for the wider world to know that you too, can make the world a happier place. You’re not dependent on other people to do it for you. And so, it’s International Day of Happiness. There’s a lot of stuff going on around it. I know the World Happiness Report comes out on that day. I think this is the sixth one of those World Happiness Report, looking at which of the world’s happiest countries and why, once again, happiest being a measure of wellbeing, population wellbeing.
There are a couple of conferences that are held every year, but I really feel like we own the day because you don’t have to do a lot to participate and anybody, anybody anywhere can participate in our Happy Acts campaign. It’s super easy. It’s super simple, but you have to take action and do something. You have to be intentional about it. And that’s what I love about it. It’s accessible to everybody. But it actually can make a difference and we have thousands of people involved every year and it’s a wonderful experience.
[00:05:12] PF: What I love about the happy acts is, if you’re going to believe that it takes 21 days to build a habit, well, we have 31 days in March, and each of those days, you’re giving us a happy act to perform. And I think it really gets your mind started of thinking of how am I going to do this? What am I going to do? I can see by the end of the month, where it’s like, why do you need to quit? You’re going to come up with your own ideas, your own thing that you could do to make somebody else happier, and we know that makes you feel happier. So, that’s one thing that I really love about the whole Happy Acts approach.
Casey, you always do an amazing job of putting together our happy acts for the month. You’ve done that again this year. Can you talk about the campaign, how it’s carried out, and what some of the happy acts that you’re encouraging people to do will be?
[00:06:00] CJ: I would love to. So, as you mentioned, you know, we have 31 happy acts for the 31 days of March, every day in March. So, to make things easy, we offer a downloadable Happy Acts calendar that anyone can access for free at livehappy.com/happyacts. So, we encourage you to – you can follow along with our daily happy acts or you can make up your own. There’s more than just 31 ways to spread happiness in the world. And we would love for you guys to share the way you’re spreading kindness and happiness in the world by tagging us on social. We’re basically on all social channels. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, we have a TikTok channel now, LinkedIn.
And some of my favorite happy acts this year, just to give you guys a little sneak peek. They’re small things like we’ve talked about, just small ways to make someone’s day a little brighter, or even your own. But anyway, so for example, if you see like a cashier at the grocery store, having a tough day, buy them their favorite candy in the checkout line, and you’ll see their face brighten up or make a funny TikTok with your friends or your pet, volunteer at your favorite charity or donate. They’re small little things that make a huge impact.
[00:07:14] LC: I think the one – this is Laura. I think the one that I love that’s new, because some of these we have been using for nine years, Deborah, if you wanted to clarify that. We’ve been doing him for a year as. I love that Casey, one of the ones you came up with this year was to plan an errand date with a friend. I mean, how great is that? It’s making – and that’s part of this too is like looking at our perspective of how can we make even our own day a little bit better. It’s our mindset on it. We have to run errands, and it’s drudgery, but we take a friend along, it’s a whole different experience and I love the simplicity of that.
[00:07:51] PF: I think it’s really important that we start learning, it is small steps that move us into wellbeing. There are the big steps that everybody talks about making these huge shifts, and that seems overwhelming. But moving into a space of happiness and wellbeing really is about the small little habits that you build on every day, that you look back after a while and realize that you have changed your perspective, you’ve changed your mood, you’ve changed your life, because of those small changes.
[00:08:16] DH: I think it’s really important to point out something you said just a minute ago, Paula, which is some of the habit forming. Doing positive things, taking action, doing happy acts, can become a habit, but it only takes 21 days, really, to build the habit. A lot of studies say that that’s the optimum time. And once you’ve done something for 21 days, it’s easier to do than not to do.
So, these happy acts, take this month and build happy acts into your regular every day. Form that habit. Form that habit of being optimistic. And these are not huge things. I mean, it is, buy a coworker a cup of coffee. Write a thank you note. Make a call to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Check on a neighbor. There are all sorts of things and the calendar that we’ve got out there on social media, great suggestions. It’s wonderful to take March to do that. But after that, continue the practice, because our goal is not to have a really happy March. Actually, move the needle, right?
[00:09:18] PF: Right. It’s the setup.
[00:09:20] DH: It is the setup. Yes.
[00:09:23] PF: Casey, where do they get that calendar? Where should they look for that? Because I’ve seen it. It looks terrific. It makes it fun. It’s something they could print out, put up on their wall, put in their cubicle, whatever they want to do. Where do they go find that?
[00:09:34] CJ: Yeah, they can find that on livehappy.com/happyacts, and we’re really excited. We have a new format this year. So, we hope you guys enjoy it.
[00:09:42] PF: And then each day on social media, they can look and see what the happy act for the day is, correct?
[00:09:48] CJ: Yes, yeah. If you’re following us on social, we’ll be posting every day, so you can repost ours and make your own, just anyway, spread the word and just celebrate happiness.
[00:10:00] PF: Very cool.
[00:10:00] DH: Please follow us on social. Both social and then our email newsletter which goes out every other week. It’s just content to help you improve your life and wellbeing and a lot of stuff that we put out there should make you smile. So, it’ll make you pause and think. I mean, it’s all good stuff to see in your feed. Right? I’d rather see something from Live Happy in my feed, than whatever the hot thing is that’s being purchased, that’s being pushed on you to buy right now or politics or vote for this or whatever it is. I’d rather – I mean, wouldn’t you rather have your feet filled with stuff from Live Happy?
[00:10:32] PF: I would.
[00:10:33] DH: I would.
[00:10:35] CJ: I would too. Maybe we’re biased.
[00:10:40] DH: Maybe a little, Casey. Maybe just a little.
[00:10:43] PF: Well, Laura, you’re really leading the charge on these happiness walls. And these are so cool. You and I actually really bonded over the very first happiness wall that we did in Chicago. We’d never met before. Brand new to Live Happy.
[00:10:56] LM: 2014. So, yeah, 2014 in March 28th in Chicago, became my best thing.
[00:11:05] PF: Yeah, so happiness walls have a special place for me. But you’re leading that. Now, talk to us about what to do with them, how you can do it. Because what I do love is how you’ve really expanded the definition of what a happiness wall can be, and made it accessible to literally everyone.
[00:11:19] LM: Right. When we first started out, they were these big, kind of – and they still are a very – it’s just a social interaction campaign. We’re not asking anybody to give us anything. We’re not giving anybody – it is very much social awareness of what are you doing and what can you do to share happiness. How will I share happiness? In what Casey was talking about on social media, we’re talking about 31 suggestions of doing it.
When we really talk about the wall interactions we have, it’s really kind of a pledge of what will I do. What little thing will I do, can I do, did I do today to share happiness.? The great thing about that, and Deborah started talking about that, is they can be. We’ve had these big orange walls of the Bean in Chicago and various places around the world, honestly, when we were really doing international interaction there for a while before the pandemic kind of slowed that down. But it’s also like, it’s a bulletin board. It’s a wall in the middle of your mall. But it’s also, we have a poster that you can get that talks about how you’re going to share happiness and asking different people how they’ll do that.
One of the ways that we have been doing it in my house, and I know at Deborah’s house, with our kids is we have one that we put on the refrigerator, and do every year. My kids, every year, we have done the paint positivity on a rock and leave it around the neighborhood somewhere. They still love that. When we started this campaign, Deborah and I, both of our kids were young, elementary school kids, and now we have teenagers. That’s one of those things that the art on and the messages on the rocks have greatly improved, for sure.
[00:13:01] PF: They’d come a long way.
[00:13:03] LM: The sentiment is still been the same and they look forward to that interaction. And I think, talking about it being a social awareness campaign, our kids growing up with this concept, and knowing this is, like they know Valentine’s Day is coming. They know that Easter is coming. For our kids, they know that the International Day of Happiness is coming and March is coming. That I think, has made them much more intentional with how they’re doing small things that are good for the world, and still saw confidence in them. That’s been a wonderful thing to kind of watch and see and how they ask deeper questions over the years about why they’re doing this and what it means to do it.
So again, Casey said that all of our resources are on livehappy.com/happyacts and we have on there. But what we really ask people to do, because we’re interested in where people are doing this, is to go on and register your wall. And if you plan on doing something at your school or at your community, that’s wonderful. We have some lesson plan guides for schools to use, for elementary schools to kind of talk about what the International Day of Happiness is, and talk about how they can do things for the world and people around them.
But also, if you’re just going to do it in your cubicle work, or at your home, let us know the name of the city and these of where you’re going to do that. Let us know where we are spreading that joy in the world. We have walls in Mexico and Canada and across the pond in England and France and it’s a wonderful thing to see. Again, for us largely too, the work that we do day in and day out makes a difference and people are paying attention and wanting to better themselves and wanting to better the lives of their communities. So, on the website again, there’s like we have all sorts of has pictures of walls, like if you’re like, “Okay, this sounds like a great idea”, but I’m not a Pinterest-y creative person. We have inspirations. There are all sorts of like, creative ways that people have done that. So, there’s a whole page that can give you some ideas and inspiration on that. And again, we have the calendar, you can download. But we also have just a simple wall that you can place on your fridge that you can download that the kids can fill in, that you can fill in, that your coworkers can fill in at work.
[00:15:31] PF: But all you’re doing is telling them how you’re going to share happiness. It’s not –
[00:15:35] LM: Yeah. It’s kind of the flip side of what I want to do going forward, what I want to bring out to the world. Even if it’s, I’m going to be more mindful of parking streets, so I don’t take it to places in the grocery store. I mean, it can be such a small thing, or I’m going to volunteer more of my time in the coming months. I’m going to reduce my carbon footprint. That’s one of our 31 apps this year. It’s taking that today and moving it forward in our lives.
[00:16:10] PF: Yeah. And what’s really cool about doing it is if you don’t have any ideas, you can steal someone else’s from the wall.
[00:16:16] LM: Absolutely. Yes.
[00:16:19] DH: So, I think it’s interesting to talk about that this is what we’re doing. But if you haven’t done this before, this is the way a wall works. Wherever you are, it’s a wall. We like it to be orange, for branding, and then there’s a card that says, “I will make the world a happier place by”, and someone writes something down, and he put it on the wall.
Now, if you haven’t done this before, it’s kind of an interesting experience. Because if you see someone in a mall or something like that, and there’s a bunch of people walking around, you’re thinking, they’re trying to sell me something. And so, people are like, “I’m not interested.” And it’s like, “You’re not interested in happiness?” And then they kind of go, “What?” You go, “No, we’re not selling anything. We just want you to fill out a card, make a commitment to make the world a happier place.” And they’re like, “Oh, what religion are you?” “No, no. We’re not a religion, either. We’re just out here, it’s International Day of Happiness.” And you’d be surprised to how people engage. In order to have them engage, we’ve had that experience the grumpiest person will stick around for two or three hours and join in asking people to fill out cards. It’s the craziest experience.
Those are our big public walls. And it’s phenomenal, because it really is good to be able to stop and go, “Hey, there’s something good. I can do something.” But we made it – I’m going to say it’s a huge change. But it’s only a huge change, because we haven’t made any changes in the past. We made a change to our in-home wall this year. And I think it probably sprung out of it fact that Laura and I have teenagers. So, teenagers and accountability don’t really go well together. This year’s downloadable wall is seven days, it’s got seven spaces, so that every day, your teenager, or your child, or you, or your spouse, or whoever it is, can fill out for a week, one week, what did they do to make the world a happier place that day.
So, this is a change for us. And I think it really kind of comes out of the fact that our families are getting older, and we start seeing it engaged and not a desire to change it up, but a desire to make it more meaningful. Because if everybody writes down what they did today, you can have a conversation about it. It’s that dinner conversation that we try and have around our table. What good happened today? Well, as opposed to what good happy today it’s, what good did you do today? So, I think it’s going to be an interesting take on it. I encourage those of you who would love to host a public wall to find out more about that. Go to livehappy.com/happyacts. Or go to live happy.com, there’s a Happy Acts on the navigation that you can see.
Go there, read about happiness walls. If you’re a teacher, we do them in schools, classrooms. I think pre-pandemic we had more than 2,000 walls in 37 countries, the last year pre-pandemic. It’s a huge boost in the classroom to get kids thinking about it. I know our principal puts it on the calendar and asks us what day we’re going to come in and do it. So, it makes a difference if you’re a teacher. If you are a manager in an office, put one up on a bulletin board. If you own a small business, put one up where people can come in and see it.
I think the person hosting the wall, the person doing it and taking the effort actually gets a ton out of it. Because you get to spend your day talking about happiness, and making the world a better place. And it really does give you that feeling of accomplishment, that feeling of I did something, but also you get to engage with a lot of people that you might not ordinarily get to engage with. So, check it out. Once again, live happy.com/happyacts. There’s a lot of information there. Register your wall. We’ll be doing a bunch of giveaways during the month of March. People who register their wall or share happy acts, random giveaways, would just like to spread some share by randomly giving away some Live Happy gears. So, check it out, register your wall, join us in celebrating Happy Acts. It’s something we do for the month of March every year. But really, it’s something we should be doing all year round.
[00:20:14] PF: I love it. So, as we wrap it up, what looks like success for this year’s Happy Acts campaign?
[00:20:21] DH: Success looks like more people sharing on social media their happy acts and getting a lot – I mean, my goal is, we haven’t really talked to number yet. I guess we probably should. But my goal is to get at least a thousand home walls, at least a thousand people to do a home wall, and add that to the schools and the businesses that we already typically. Get Happy Acts walls going forward, and just to grow this. That would be my goal. But also, sharing on social media. Wouldn’t it be great to see in your feed all the happy acts are doing? Well, to do that we need more people participating, and we need more people to just go ahead and create videos, make your Reel about the happy acts you did that day. What about the happy act someone else did that day? Or something that makes you happy. Make your Reel, your TikTok, whatever it is, your Insta. Let’s just flood social media with as many happy acts as possible for the month of March. We’ll have a larger impact that way.
[00:21:16] PF: I love it. Well, Deborah, Laura, Casey, I appreciate you, as always, sitting down with me. You’re doing such wonderful things to make the world a happier place. I’m excited to get going on this year’s Happy Acts.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[00:21:32] PF: That was Deborah Heisz. Casey Johnson, and Laura Coppedge, talking about our Happy Acts campaign and the International Day of Happiness. If you’d like to learn more about how to join us for a full month of celebrating happiness, share your happy acts with us on social media, or post a happiness wall in your home, office, church, or school, to celebrate the International Day of Happiness on March 20th, just visit our website at livehappy.com and click on the Happy acts Tab. We’re for excited to see you there.
That is all we have time for today. We’ll meet you back here again next week for an all new episode. And until then, this is Paula Felps reminding you to make every day a happy one