As a philosophy, most of us would probably contend that “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin’s 1989 hit of the same name, probably only works when the times are good. In fact, when times are tough, it is only likely to further irk, rather than help. But is their something to be said for forcing a smile when times are tough? Laugh though some of us do, there is proof that a positive outlook does actually positively affect the way that we feel, as well as our health overall. This is the belief that drives the aims that a new Kuwaiti non-profit organization intends to achieve: helping Kuwaitis be happier via a positive attitude.
Alnowair is a nonprofit initiative founded by Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Ali Al Sabah. They held their launch on the first ever International Day of Happiness on the 20th of March 2013. The initiative, which is driven to spread positivity in Kuwait, was the first from the GCC to participate in the celebration of the International Day of Happiness as recognized by the United Nations in June 2012, and supported by 193 UN Member states and celebrated by millions of people around the world. The initiative was launched through a 4-day exhibit held in a rundown building in Salmiya, where people were led through an intended experience that happiness lays in the small details. The invitees were proposed to give each other flowers, create collages together, write things that they are thankful for and share them with others, let go of a grudge or a worry, and many other such activities. Of the launch, Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Ali Al Sabah said, “The UN aims to inspire a 100 Million people through the International Day of Happiness and we hope to have at least 1 million of those from Kuwait”.
Alnowair, as an organization, is a 5-year initiative driven to spread positive attitudes in Kuwait through events, exhibitions, activities, seminars, workshops and campaigns. It plans to communicate simplified scientifically proven data about the benefits of a positive attitude towards life. They also plan to create a grass roots movement by engaging, enlightening and inspiring the youth of Kuwait through multiple programs, independent initiatives and projects. “We were told, smile and the world smiles at you. Science has now proved that proverb true” said Sheikha Intisar, gleaming with excitement about the initiative.
“Alnowair envisions inspiring people to be more positive through campaigns, social media, events, exhibitions and many other activities. We plan to bring resources from the world over, and through proven methods and ideologies, connect the people of Kuwait with the experts on the field of happy living and positivity” Alnowair Campaign Manager Gaya Kruchlik said when quizzed about the initiative.
For the month of May, they are kicking things off with an Instagram based campaign called Bite2Smile. Here are the details…
Bite2Smile campaign: we are encouraging our followers and their friends to take a picture of themselves (or someone else), biting into a pencil and post it on their Instagram accounts. You might wonder why bite into a pencil, well when you bite into a pencil the same facial muscles that you use for smiling get activated, hence you feel as though you are smiling.
The science: The Bite2Smile campaign is based on the “As If Theory” by Psychologist James Laird. The theory states that when you ‘do’ something, then you experience the feelings that are normally associated with ‘doing’ that something. Like smiling can make you feel happy and frowning can make you feel sad. Hence, by acting as if you are happy or a certain type of person, you become happy or that certain type of person – and that is what we call the “As If” principle.
The campaign: The campaign will have started by the time you are reading this and will last until the 15th of May.
The contest: To make things interesting we have turned this activity into a contest, where people can post pictures and hashtag them at #bkeifibite2smile and the picture with the highest number of likes at the end of the month will win an amazing goodie bag.
The mission: We know that emotions cause us to behave in certain ways. Feeling happy makes you smile, and feeling sad makes you frown. However, this commonsense view is incomplete and we want to educate people about it. Expressions (smile/frown) don’t need to be the result of our emotions (happy/sad), even a fake smile has the power to make you happy and we want people to know this and practice it.
So peeps, you heard it hear first: fake it ‘til you make it, as proven by science. We will be looking for your smiling mugs on their Instagram!
More information about Alnowair can be found on their website,