The International Day of Happiness | tahdah, the future, today


Today is the International Day of Happiness and this year’s theme is Happiness Together focusing on what we have in common rather than what divides us.

I remember one Mother’s Day asking my mother when it was going to be Children’s Day and she said, “every day is Children’s Day”. Equally, we should focus on every day being a Day of Happiness, not just today. Working in the sports and recreation industry, we all have the opportunity to make that happen, whether directly through our own participation or indirectly through enabling others to participate.

The first news story I saw this morning was on BBC South Today where a doctor was avoiding immediately prescribing anti-depressants to (depressed]) patients but, instead, was handing out happy cards with ideas on what to do and where to go locally to look for happiness either by doing or by sharing with other like-minded individuals.

For many years now, the benefits of outdoor activity, and physical exercise generally, have been recognised as antidotes to depression and a much better alternative to the pharmaceutical industry. Perhaps this was best covered in the BBC Series ‘The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs’ where Dr Chris van Tulleken took over part of a GP’s surgery in a social experiment to offer up alternatives to stop patients’ routine use of prescription pills. One example was the prescription of outdoor cold water swimming as an alternative to anti-depressants.

I was reminded of this when I came across Primal Roots (Better Outside, Better Inside) who promote the Great Work-Outdoors and the benefits of working out in nature versus indoors in a gym. They have a great blog post on how addicts can benefit by trading one (unhealthy) addiction for a healthy addiction to something else (extreme exercise, or even a maniacal obsession with learning the piano).

Primal Roots are now working with the NHS via The Hellingly Centre, a centre for the over-18s with mental health problems and who have become involved with the criminal justice system. To have sport and recreation front and centre of the rehabilitation program is phenomenal.

The recognition by the NHS of the role that sport and physical activity can play in people’s recovery from all kinds of issues is to be applauded. This is further supported by the efforts of Sport England and their ‘Towards an Active Nation’ five-year strategy.

Ultimately it comes down to the individual to participate and us as an industry to enable that participation. That means:
  • putting the individual at the centre of all we do
  • moving away from a siloed approach to activity/membership - see our recent post on the subscription economy
  • providing the safeguarding checks to ensure course leaders and coaches are qualified and safe
  • enabling verification of the qualifications of all
  • providing a window into available, local activities that medical professionals can tap into to prescribe alternatives to prescription drugs
We’re tahdah. Welcome to the future, today. To find out how we can help make you happy, today or any other day, please contact us here.



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