If you have not yet seen the documentary Project Happiness, now is the time to join the movement in the pursuit of joy. Here on Sumba, we are fortunate to be surrounded by a community of residents who are warm and friendly and possess the most infectious smiles. Children eagerly greet passersby with a cheerful “da!”—hello!—and often anticipate a resort guest’s high-five. While life on Sumba can be arduous, it is also simple, and surrounded by some of nature’s best work. The Sumbanese are deeply spiritual and follow a Marapu faith in which mankind must always synch to the rhythm of the universe and manage a positive relationship with nature. Happiness seems to be a state of mind generally embraced by the Sumbanese.
Elsewhere, the modern world’s youth suffer from anxiety, depression, and the accompanying stress as a result. Academic pressure, peer pressure, home environments, social factors and more are contributing to an alarming decay of mental wellness. Project Happiness seeks to find answers by examining the sources of our coping skills, honing in on the science of our ability to be in control of our emotional wellbeing. The general consensus: Happiness is not just a state; it is a skill one can learn with the right tools.
With this in mind, the team behind Project Happiness focused on an educational curriculum for schools that helps prepare kids for success in life with the key steps to Social Emotional Learning. By developing these “fundamental skills for life-effectiveness,” children, teens, and young adults are better equipped to handle life circumstances with confidence, responsible decisions, and self-control. With philanthropy at the core of our business model, Nihi has been a proud sponsor of the Project Happiness organization’s Race for Wellness, a one-month fitness challenge that inspires participants to reach mental health goals and raises money for the project’s classroom curriculum. While Nihi is situated in a far corner of the world, our guests are travelers with purpose, and Sumba is an ideal setting to practice mindfulness, gratitude, and other intention-based awareness exercises. A healthy trek to the healing hand of Nipi Lima combines physical activity with self-reflection and hope, just one of the many ways to find inner peace at the resort.
Project Happiness reminds us that through intentional practices, we can actually change the neural pathways of our brain to become happier and that only 10% of our happiness is due to our external circumstances, with a full 90% based on our inner environment.
Perhaps the Sumbanese have it figured out, for they have been devoted to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors, maintaining a balanced existence for generations.