This is a guest post by Nikhita Thakuria. Nikhita is a native Yinz, (Pittsburgher) and is interested in using psychology to make the world a better place. She is currently applying this by trying to establish a more aware community around her.
The first time I ever heard about The Smile Project was during a school visit where Liz Buechele, the founder of The Smile Project, gave a short introduction to what The Smile Project did. While I don’t remember her exact words, I remember just how committed she was. She brought in five different notebooks all of which were filled with “Happiness is” statements for each day since she started recording. That stuck with me until I finally decided to give it a try.
I am a person whose mind wanders during one hour of meditation or exercise, so I did not know how many days I would stay committed to logging my own “Happiness is.” I knew that I had to try because, like most teenagers my age, it's hard to figure out exactly what your priorities in life are. Now, I have crossed (over) one hundred days of filling what I believe Happiness is and I cannot go a night without logging it.
I did not anticipate how much I learned about myself or just how motivated I would become. Even though it only takes a few minutes to come up with your quote, writing the description for each one required me to think and analyze my feelings. It was through this that I learned just how valuable my friends are to me as well as just how fortunate I am. It also helped me realize which one of my hobbies meant the most to me.
I started to paint and write again after I started logging Happiness. Logging also made me more open to new experiences and I met quite a few new people and even reconnected with old friends. After gaining clarity and becoming more solidified in my goals through The Smile Project, I started painting and learning German on my own, two hobbies I’ve been meaning to take up for years. I’m sure that it has also helped me in a million different unconscious ways—more than I have ever noticed. I would say that becoming a part of The Smile Project Ambassador Program helps you to be more yourself and ultimately the best version of yourself.
I think the overall organization, The Smile Project, is such a positive environment. Liz has been so supportive and kind throughout my whole experience. The whole team makes being empathic a priority and you truly feel good after spreading time with them. Even just reading the Ambassador page, you can tell just how happy and grateful they are. It is truly such a heartwarming daily habit that can make any day better and change your perspective about your life overall. I’m so glad that I decided to join. :D