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Happiness by Choice- Project Giving

Aristotle had it right when he said “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

With a vision to create a happy work environment, SP Jain’s Dubai Campus declared 2016 as the Year of Happiness. Following the principles of Positive Psychology and the Science of Happiness, SP Jain led year-long initiatives to facilitate employee well-being and happiness. In 2017, SP Jain has decided to take this initiative forward to reach out to the community and launch the first of its kind Happiness Centre of Excellence in Dubai, UAE.

The SP Jain Happiness Centre of Excellence is a re-imagining of how individuals can best work and live together using core principles from the latest research findings from the Science of Happiness. The concept of income based well-being is limited in the sense that it neglects overall well-being and happiness. The science of happiness embodies the notion that a developed society is one where its citizens have overall satisfaction with their lives.

The vision that economic growth of a nation should translate into the well-being of its citizens has been the single most driving factor that saw the launch of the Happiness Initiative by the Government of UAE and the appointment of Her Excellency Ohoud Al Roumi as the Minister of Happiness.

SP Jain’s goal towards making 2017 a year of Excellence begins with the launch of the Happiness Centre of Excellence.

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Happiness by Choice- Positive Psychology and the Science of Happiness

Centre of Excellence for Happiness is inspired from UC Berkeley’s program on the Science of Happiness. The course is based on the ground-breaking science of Positive Psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life.

As an extension of this program, SP Jain launched Project Giving. According to a study conducted in Northwestern University, individuals who have a purpose in life, have an advantage- they get better sleep at night. And a lot other past research has proven time and again, that the purpose of leading your life, not just for yourself, but also in the service of others, helps us improve our physical and mental health. It also extends further into longevity and genes. UC Berkeley’s Center for Happiness called Greater Good published an article that spoke about 5 ways in which Giving is good for you:Giving makes us feel happy

  1. Giving makes us feel happy
  2. Giving is good for our health
  3. Giving promotes cooperation and social connection
  4. Giving evokes gratitude
  5. Giving is contagious

We invited students to lead Project Giving, which translated into Letters of Love campaign. Students expressed their care and support for refugee children across the globe through the artistic avenue of collages. A little act of helping others would go a long way in making you feel selfless and happy!

What are Letters of Love?

“Letters of Love” is a student led community project that aims to spread happiness, love and hope through brightly colored, creative, and positive letters addressed to recipients in areas of distress and need. These letters are postcards which bear student photographs accompanied by their thoughts, stories, poetry, drawings, and wishes.

SP Jain students aim to collectively collect over 500 letters from the student community and drive the campaign to spread positive vibes by the end of 2017 – allowing them to dispatch the letters in time for the new year. Given the creative scope of the project, postgraduate MBA students have stepped forward with artistic talents hosting peer-to-peer learning sessions to create collages that emotes their message aesthetically using old magazines and newspapers. Students have also led discussions about the global crisis and how important it is for empowered individuals to take initiation and make a difference in our societies

The initiative has also been covered by Gulf News.

Why Letters of Love?

“Life has always been an interesting contemplation. I have always shied away from dogma and relied on learning from people and personal experiences. These encounters through the years have made me look at people in their various dimensions, which helped me understand them holistically, imbibing and inculcating positive practices trying to constantly make myself a better person. I owe most of these feelings to a great friend of mine from my time in undergraduate studies who made me realise the essence of happiness in simplistic things. But what will always intrigue me is the element of pain that a person undergoes, be it psychological, physiological, or both. As people, we instinctively reach out to them, inherently offering our support. We are all hardwired to ease the pain of the suffering. This has been strongly accentuated in me through my upbringing and experience. Not so long ago, I realised that putting myself out there and offering assistance made me feel better, it became a release or a manner in which I tend to cope with personal misfortunes and hardships. Having been through a grave near death experience, standing at the edge of the precipice between life and death, with death inching closer and to have miraculously swayed towards life made me realise how important it is to live and take bouts of fresh air by the second. ‘Alive’ then became a feeling, inexplicable to be described in words, but fervently aroused so many changes which made me look at the world around me in a new light. On that day, I made myself a resolution to strive, to do the best in offering help to people, and ultimately see smiles on their faces. ‘Letters of Love’ was an initiative which was the result of empathy and its only objective was to give hope to the shattered refugees of the war, to bring smiles on their faces, to show love, to show the wonderful nature of life and how eventually life in all its beauty will triumph.”

- Siddharth Ravishankar (MGB’18)

 “A couple of years ago, I saw some paper collage artworks online and started wondering how they must have been made. Being an art enthusiast myself, I also wanted to dabble in the art-form and took this as a challenge. Initially, it took me many days just to grasp the concept of the art and how it should be made. After many attempts and multiple failures, I managed to make some decent art. During the process, I started to enjoy the process and I used to engross in making collages for many hours at a stretch without any sense of the surroundings. I kept improving and successes began to tag along many a times. Last year, I got my first recognition as a professional paper collage artist as I managed to sell a few of my artworks and even got nominated for national level art competition in India.

I had always dreamt that one day I will be a professional artist and will conduct workshops on the sane. But due to a tight work-life balance, I barely got the time to pursue this dream. After joining SP Jain, peer to peer learning gave me an opportunity to showcase my art to my fellow peers, who were very much interested in learning as I showed them my collages. I presented the idea of conducting a workshop for those who wanted to learn the art of making paper collages to Ms Megna Kalvani, who was generous enough to accept it without any second thoughts. And the day was planned.

I was very excited for my first workshop for an art which I learned by myself. My mind was crowded with numerous thoughts while I was preparing for the workshop. One day, Siddharth Ravishankar, a fellow peer of mine, came to me with a plan. “How about sending the paper collages, made during your art workshop to the children in Syria as an initiative of letters of love, to give them hope?” Siddharth asked. I was extremely excited and overwhelmed at the same time. This was never part of the plan. Conducting my very first workshop with a theme for a noble cause, which would eventually bring smiles on someone’s face thousands of miles away – this couldn’t get any better.

The day arrived and many participated for the workshop. We made many paper collages and some of them were so good that they were worth showcasing in an art exhibition. Some of the letters were very motivational. I was sentimental and overwhelmed at the same time looking at the output of my very first workshop on art. I thank SP Jain for giving me this opportunity to be a part of a noble cause of spreading smiles and hopes. Looking forward for many more. "

- Suraj Thite (GMBA’18)

The above article has been written with inputs provided by Bijal Oza (Director - Counseling & Coaching Center), Siddharth Ravishankar (Student - MGB ’18), and Suraj Thite (Student - GMBA ’18).

Topics: Happiness by Choice