It’s the latest trend on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: documenting 100 moments in order to achieve long-term happiness.
#100happydays, a social media challenge where participants sign up through the #100happydays foundation website, tracks users’ 100- day journeys throughout the challenge via the hashtag. According to the Huffington Post, 350,000 people are participating worldwide.
Beyond promoting happiness, the foundation donates proceeds to people with disabilities and puts money away for future projects. Participants are encouraged to donate by purchasing merchandise such as photo books and postcards through the #100happydays website.
This challenge, an ambitious attempt at eradicating negative perspectives and helping people appreciate the little things, might just be another way for social media users to struggle for likes and favorites from their friends and followers instead of looking to actually improve their mindset. This challenge may be a result of rising depression rates; an ABC 13 Eyewitness article claimed antidepressant usage has increased 400 percent since 1994.
Ironically enough, studies conducted by the University of Michigan on Facebook users show a connection between usage of the site and level of unhappiness, making #100happydays seem like a counterintuitive endeavor.
While it may sound easy, the foundation’s website states that 71 percent of people already failed to complete the challenge, the main excuse being lack of time. As some users find, however, being happy 100 percent of the time is nearly impossible. Instagram and Twitter posts under the hashtag show pictures of food, scenic views, selfies with old friends and some as simple as new pairs of shoes.
Despite the intent, some participants report more depression after the challenge, feeling they didn’t have enough moments to document.
Radhika Sanghani, a writer for the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph, was a participant who felt miserable by the end of the challenge. In a recent article, she said she felt she “needed to pick something tangible” to photograph, and that waking up with a happy feeling or sense of gratitude wasn’t enough.
Keeping a personal journal of happy moments might be a better alternative to this challenge, as posting on social media could make others unhappy or result in people posting what they think their friends want to see.
Happiness should not rely on a challenge, and it shouldn’t stop after 100 days. This challenge should be a personal mission, not a project that has to be broadcasted. Though happiness all day, every day, is a bit idealistic, there is nothing wrong with chasing that positive mindset.
Nataly Capote is a freshman majoring in mass communications.