August Wellness Focus: Happiness Happens Month

happiness happens month and toxic positivity

August is a great month to celebrate wellness! Not only is it National Wellness Month (stay tuned for some IG posts featuring Campus Advantage and Catalyst employees), it’s also Happiness Happens Month. The official Happiness Happens Day is observed on August 8, so in this article, we’ll review the story behind the national observation, share resources, and also explore toxic positivity.

The Secret Society of Happy People was originally created as a way for members to talk about what made them happy without the risk of being judged. August 8, 1999 was dubbed Admit You’re Happy Day, which later changed to Happiness Happens Day. The daylong celebration expanded to a month, the “secret” part of the society was dropped, and a yearly theme was designated. For 2022, the theme is 31 Days, 31 Types of Happiness, 31 Ways to Feel Good!

Sometimes, we give a lot of energy to diving into our negative feelings of being stressed, fatigued, angry, disappointed, sad, and so on. But, what if we took the same amount of time to appreciate and celebrate our happiness? Did you know there are 31 types of happiness? From amused, valued, and grateful to inspired, motivated, and more, let’s commit to celebrating the joy we feel.

It’s important to be very careful in making sure we share authentic feelings, and with that in mind, let’s address toxic positivity — especially as it relates to the workplace. According to Forbes, “toxic positivity is the suppression of real, negative emotions,” often through phrases or suggestions for others to suppress real emotions. Part of bringing your whole self to work is ensuring we are authentic. While it’s still important to be professional and appropriate for the workplace, there will be days where we’re all less than happy. Be aware of what toxic positivity is, such as not encouraging behavior by using terms, such as:

  • “Be positive!”
  • “Cheer up!”
  • “Everything is going to work out.”

There are better ways to assist others feeling unhappy or negative, including phrases, such as:

  • “Your feelings make sense. What can I do to help support you through this?”
  • “It sounds like things are hard for you right now. I’m sorry you’re going through this.”
  • “I am here for you.”

Toxic positivity in the workplace can make individuals feel invalidated, unseen, and unheard; diminish trust; negatively impact engagement and productivity; and hurt company culture. By taking a more empathetic and caring approach rather than directly combatting negativity with positivity, individuals can feel validated and supported.

So, what do you do if you aren’t in the Secret or Not-So-Secret Society of Happy People? Just like it’s important for individuals to be able to bring feelings that don’t fall under the 31 different types of happiness, it’s also important to support those that are happy. The Society of Happy People started in order to not be judged for being happy, which means there’s value in making sure you’re allowing for others to experience authentic joy and cheerfulness.

If you’re looking for ways to make some genuine changes, learn more about the why behind the celebration of happiness. Check out these tips recommended by National Today about Happiness Happens Day and what you can do to make a difference for yourself and in the lives of others.

Happiness Happens Day Activities

Be a smile-starter

“Make others happy through small, smile-inducing gestures: write a handwritten letter, call, send flowers, or bake cookies. The list of ways you can spread cheer to others is truly endless, but be sure to mention today is Happiness Happens Day and that they can make it happen by passing it on!”

Give kudos

“Seek someone out to thank or compliment them for a job well done. When we let people know how much we appreciate or admire them, it exponentially increases happiness, not only for them but also for you.”

Make a list

“Make a list of things that make you happy and things you see as happiness zappers. Knowing the zappers may help you avoid them or, at least, better prepare for responding to them. Also, when you recognize happiness zappers for what they are, you can more quickly reframe your state of mind and move thoughts to the list of things that make you happy.”

Ways to Choose Happiness


“Expressing gratitude leads to an overall optimistic attitude; it is consistently and strongly correlated to feelings of happiness.”


“Giving of your time to help others has been shown to decrease feelings of depression and improve optimism and a sense of worth.”


“We’ve all heard the phrase: it is better to give than to receive — yes, giving is another action that leads to happiness and benefits the giver as much, if not more, than the receiver.”


“Lifting others up brings about a reciprocal effect — put out positive thoughts and feelings and this is what you will likely receive in return.”


“Spend some time looking at old photos, flipping through high school yearbooks, or reading old letters and you will find feelings of happiness overflowing as you stroll down memory lane.”

Happiness Happens Day Giveaway

In honor of Happiness Happens Day, we would love to hear from you on the activity you will do to share or find happiness. To enter the giveaway, please share your personal suggestions or tips by commenting on our Campus Advantage Instagram post on August 8. The winner will be randomly chosen on August 10 and will receive ThoughtFulls Be Happy Pop-Open Cards and a 3-month Calm subscription that includes the Increase Happiness series.

Wishing you all sincere happiness for August and all the other months as well!