Look On the Bright Side
The fact that there is always a positive side to life is the one thing that gives me a lot of happiness. This world is not perfect. There are problems. But things like happiness and unhappiness are relative. Realizing this gives you hope.
-- Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
Reaching out to others or just taking a good look around are simple ways to find happiness. By knowing more of what goes on in others' lives, we may find our own problems are not as bad as they feel. One of the photos I share below tells a story of a poor, but very happy woman in India. Stories like hers are easy to find online, no matter where in the world you live and even if the options for exploration in your offline life seem limited. Another of the happy photos below connects to an inspirational story of people helping children at risk in Brazil.
By reaching out to others, we may find the inspiration, encouragement, or help we need, or find someone who needs our help; either can make us happy. We may share in others' happiness, or just find something to make us smile. The Dalai Lama had more to say about happiness in a recent article here, We Are the Makers, where the basic message was: it's up to us to make ourselves happy, so get to it :)
A lot of the most effective reaching out, to connect with people, happens offline. Since we are here online though, I will share one of my favorite online resources for happiness and general exploration: Flickr. The web site's slogan is "almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing in the world," and I agree. Flickr has more than two billion photos and millions of people using the site, from every country in the world.
Searching Flickr for the word "happy" gives you more than three million results. Whatever depth of unhappiness you feel, due to something of serious, lifelong importance or just a fleeting boredom, you might find a happy antidote on Flickr.
Below are a handful of those three million possible sources of happiness. Each photo links to larger size and more information:
A "poor but happy" woman, story and photo from Dhilip in Kerala, India
"Happy New Year!" with a moving personal story by Bill in Virginia, USA
A cute Japanese toy from a photographer in Madrid, Spain
Even fish can be caught looking happy, this one by Chris Latham in Halifax, UK
If the fish can do it, surely we all can. Look on the bright side and crack a smile :)