So earlier in the month, I was contacted about reviewing a movie that explored happiness in our modern day society. As a psych major, I was intrigued, but then May turned into a crazy month (1 half marathon, a 24-hour relay, and graduation… holy crap!). Last night, I finally had a chance to watch it.
A Small Good Thing is a documentary shot in the Berkshires of Massachusetts (a beautiful area that I’ve always enjoyed driving through on my trips up to school in NY.) It follows six people with a variety of backgrounds – a veteran who returns home to become a student, a yoga teacher, a social worker, a livestock farmer, and a couple who left their day jobs to become full-time produce farmers.
Interspersed with their stories were a number of facts about happiness that I found pretty incredible-
- The percentage of Americans who said they were “very happy with their lives” peaked in the 1950’s (Yikes!)
- Economists have determined that $75,000 is the happiness threshold – any dollar you make after this point does not substantially contribute to increasing your happiness.
The six individuals the film followed were obviously not wealthy, but each of them had found a way to be happy in their community. This was another central point to the film – happiness does not come from material objects or money, but rather from your relationships with others and sense of community.
Another major point to the film was to build your life around your passions. From the yoga teacher to the farmers, everyone had found something in their life that was very important to them, something they felt good about doing everyday. Obviously, in the past few years, running has become one of my biggest passions. I honestly feel like races and running changed my life, and it does make me happy to share my excitement for this sport on this blog (and pretty soon in my job too!).
I was apparently not the only one who liked it, because it was also awarded best documentary at the Boston International Film Festival this year! If you have the chance to see this documentary, I would definitely recommend it. 🙂
What are some of the things that make you happy?
Documentaries – yay or nay?