Why did we develop this game?
If we know what makes children and adults happy, why is it so difficult to live by? And why don't we learn at school how to be happy and how to act resiliently after adversity. Why do we so often do the things that don't make us happy (like endless scrolling on social media)?
As with everything in life, you have to practice a lot to become good at something and the talent and stimulation from your environment helps to achieve your goal. When you know that about 40% of your happiness is determined by training your brain, about 10% by stimuli from the environment and about 50% is innate, then we can no longer wait to give it to teach our children about happiness!
Every year, 1.5 million Dutch people suffer from burnout complaints. Almost 1 in 5 Dutch people are at risk of depression (partially hereditary) and 1 in 4 Dutch people often feel lonely. So we shouldn't wait too long to learn to be happy by training our brains!
That is why we want to teach children to be happy and resilient in a playful way. The Happy Game hopes to contribute to this through a board game that children can play with other children, teachers, parents and perhaps psychologists and that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.
Themes based on science
We have read a large number of scientific articles and studies on happiness (for more information see the page About Happiness). We then summarized all this knowledge about happiness into 16 themes that you can train. The board game The Happy Game is based on these themes.
- Creativity: When you dance, sing, make music, build a garden, fix a car, create a work of art or do something else that you have not done before, it makes for an immensely good feeling.
- Laugh: By laughing a lot you produce happiness hormones. Laugh at each other or at your own jokes, watch a funny movie, go to cabaret and don't forget to laugh at your own blunders.
- Freedom: Authenticity, being able to make your own choices and being able to think and act freely lead to a happier life. In countries where these freedoms are experienced as normal, the level of happiness is higher.
- Think positive: Focus on what is going well instead of what is not going well and realize that it will all work out in the end, that makes for an optimistic outlook on life and so you enjoy the little things in life.
- Meaning: Think carefully about what you like and what is important to you and make sure that you get started with it, without letting your ego predominate. Do not play the victim card, because you almost always make the choices yourself or influence how things go.
- Set goals: Get started step by step with your set goals. See problems as a challenge. Every step is a victory that you can celebrate. You make your own choices and set your own priorities, so pick up things that you want to change.
- Affection: It is important to express your love, give and receive compliments, and ask for and offer help. Everyone has a positive feeling about this.
- Touch: As humans we cannot do without touch. Touching your loved one, a friend, an animal and / or a baby makes us happy.
- Gratitude: Be thankful for what you do have instead of focusing on what you don't have. Everything you pay attention to grows, so pay attention to things that are going well, so that you can approach life in a positive way.
- Forgiveness: Try to forgive as many people as possible who have caused you pain or grief, so that you can move on with your life. In principle, you always forgive for yourself, but it can of course also brighten up the other person considerably.
- Health: To be happy you also have to maintain your body and mind with healthy food, lots of exercise and to live in the here and now. Mindfulness, yoga and meditation can help with this.
- Leisure: Always make sure that working, learning, caring for others, and time for yourself are well balanced to feel happy. In your spare time, do things that make you happy and don't forget to surround yourself with nature. Having time and gaining experience makes you happier than having a lot of money or buying stuff.
- Being together: We are social creatures and need friendships and family. Surround yourself with people who make you happy, where you can let off steam or ask for help. Therefore, it is better to invest in experiences with friends than in matter.
- Enjoy together: Most people are happy doing things together, think of a team sport, singing in a choir, working with colleagues, going on holiday together, etc. Surround yourself with people who give you energy and do not forget to give a lot.
- Setbacks: Sometimes things go against the grain, everyone has that. Don't think that all your friends are living a nicer life because they only post or tell the beautiful things on social media. Nor does everything in life have to be perfect. Sometimes it is not too bad and sometimes it is disappointing!
- Grief: Sadness is part of life and that hurts, but the trick is not to dwell on it for too long. Also focus on the beautiful things in life to find your happiness again.
Who are we?
Nynke de Ruiter, creator of The Happy Game
I was trained as a Physical Education Teacher and because I enjoy training people, learning new things and helping them achieve their goals, I have been working as a Manager in the Media and Events industry for 25 years.
By nature I am a very positive and resilient person. I am known for being happy in life. During corona time I lost my job and my relationship ended. In addition, I suffered from hair loss and I was struggling with a serious injury that made it difficult for me to walk. Yet I still felt like a very happy and blessed person. That got me thinking, because people all around me felt less happy. I decided to do some research to find out how to train your brain to be happy. After months of research, I had a new wish. Increase the level of happiness in the Netherlands and the world. To achieve this we start by helping children. We do this by helping them train their brains through a board game in a playful, creative, interactive and above all happy way. This is how The Happy Game was born!
Freek Smoes, partner The Happy Game
I have known Nynke for almost 25 years as an always cheerful and positive person with a great perseverance to make the things she is doing successful.
After my study Business Administration, I have been involved in the development and marketing of innovative products and services for the past 25 years. I have done this for others but also in my own startups. When Nynke asked me to help her make The Happy Game a success, I didn't have to think long!