Don't Worry, Be Happy

By: Katie Stukey Email
By: Katie Stukey Email
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Mayor Jean Stothert has declared Wednesday the first-ever Omaha Day of Happiness, following the United Nations' lead after it held the first-ever International Happy Day last month.

We've all heard it before, put on a happy face. It's a personal choice, right? Well sure, to some degree, but it's hard to be happy when you're surrounded by others who aren't. This is where the pros say one of the best steps toward your happier day is helping others get to theirs.

“Everybody affects us around us, even the slightest little shift in one person might affect an entire group of people, so I think sometimes even if we're feeling scared we don't exactly know how to approach it, getting someone help can help ourselves,” says Focus C3 therapist Amanda Hebner.

Hebner recognizes this is tricky, especially at work, but if we're really going to embrace this happy movement as a city, that means asking co-workers, friends, neighbors, hey, how are you? What can I do to help? Is there someone you can see? Can I help you find the right person?

When the ICAN (Institute for Career Advancement Needs) Women's Conference meets at CenturyLink Center Omaha Wednesday morning, the driving theme is happiness. You likely won't see many children around, but in a world increasingly obsessed with expensive gadgets and gear, it might help to hear what today's kids have to say about the pursuit of happiness.

"We've been in this society, especially in the U.S., of getting so much stuff and having so much stuff and if we don't have it we're always comparing ourself to somebody else who does, but we're starting to see that that generation is really engaging more in what do I do for other people?” says Hebner. “How do I help other people?"

As for that idea of constant comparison and feeling like we need more, Hebner says she's seen a lot of success among clients when they start a gratitude journal or a daily list. Even on your very worst day, she suggests writing down at least three things you're thankful for. It can be as simple as having fresh air to breathe or clean clothes to wear.

Happiness is far more than an emotion. ICAN’s president says happy employees are 31 percent more productive and creativity is three times higher when you're happy. How do you get there? Here are the top 6 ways to get happy.

1. Find a sense of purpose
2. Foster healthy relationships
3. Stay engaged
4. Practice gratitude
5. Acknowledge accomplishments
6. Reward yourself

"There needs to be that reward that you can say this is what I'm working towards and it's funny ‘cause then they get it and they're like, I want another one. Let's see. I want another reward." Hebner says rewards can be as basic as taking time to go on a picnic if it's something you otherwise wouldn't let yourself do.

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