Positive Thoughts,  Ramblings

Why 100 Happy Days Makes Me Unhappy

20 days ago I came across the 100 Happy Days Challenge. I had seen my friends posting about it on Facebook and Instagram; at face value, it seemed like a fun project to remind people that every day, no matter how shitty life may seem, you can still find something to be celebrated.


I joined in and started posting pictures of things that made me happy that day. It didn’t take long for me to realize that posting these pictures wasn’t making me more happy; instead it seemed as if having to remember to post something that made me happy in effect made me less happy. It became more of a chore for me. I wasn’t posting anything that I wouldn’t normally—after all, I was just adding an extra hashtag. But the more I thought about it, the more forced it felt. Surely, this defeats the whole purpose of the challenge.

After more thought, the challenge further rubbed me the wrong way. And my mind started to wander. How is #100happydays any better than the #thankful posts that pop up in November which make us all want to vom? Or, worse yet, the #blessed posts that I relentlessly make fun of (why yes, I have my bags packed and ticket to Hell booked)? Is it all some passive aggressive form of bragging?

Honestly, this meal didn’t make me happy – it was dry and bleh

Emotions should be felt wholeheartedly, unapologetically, and most important—naturally. That’s the beauty of our emotions. Everyone has unique experiences that contribute to how we think, feel, and act. Often, we can’t control our emotions no matter how hard we try. I see happiness as a sign of contentment; you’re at peace with where you are in life (good or bad) and can see past that to enjoy the best that life has to offer. Happiness is spontaneous, uncomplicated, and shows cognitive toughness. You can’t force these things just for a stupid hashtag; they have to come from a stable mind, a willing heart, and from deep introspective awareness.

I understand that some people appreciate having a reminder that every day holds happiness. There’s accountability in pausing your day to reflect on something positive that happened. I get it. I love clicking through my friends’ posts and seeing what makes them happy. In fact, that is one of the things that makes me happy every day.

My first post with the beautiful See Jane Write leader

It’s totally a “me” thing. I’m an open book—I share these things anyway. If I’m happy, my friends and followers will know it. If I’m pissed, people will hear about it even more. No hashtags needed.

I will always share selfies of myself stuffing my face

Many friends and fellow Instagrammers have jumped on the #100happydays train. I guarantee that this will rub some people the wrong way. Momentarily disrupt their “happy.” I’d love to hear your opinions—what do you think about the challenge? Are you participating? Is it helping you? Do you think it feels forced?



  • Caperton

    As someone who’s dealt with bipolar disorder and clinical depression, I generally have a different view on happiness than other people. For me, it can be a pretty big deal to just be content each day — not actively happy, not sad, just present. When I am actively happy, it’s a day for celebration, but trying to force happiness — like you said, finding something to post every single day — is more stress than it’s worth. I treasure the baseline.

  • Sherri

    I understand where you are coming from. As much as I love posting and sharing what makes me happy with the world, I do get that small twinge of it being a chore. But, unlike a lot of other “challenges” and whatnot, I don’t beat myself up if I miss a day. I just post 2 the next day. Yeah, I was worried I was going to feel the exact way you do after a while. But, surprisingly (for me) I learned to let go and just have fun with it. If I missed a day, no biggie. I made it up the next day. Since I forget/don’t post to Instagram a lot, I’m enjoying this challenge b/c it’s allowing me to share some new things w friends and also reminds me to get on IG more and check out my friend’s awesome posts. Loving it all around personally. 🙂

    • Tanya

      Woo Sherri, I was hoping you’d comment – I wanted to hear your opinion. That’s great that the challenge is acting as a reminder to use IG and to connect with friends in a different way. And it doesn’t sound like it’s stressing you out, which is important. I look forward to many more of your #100happydays posts 🙂

  • Jennifer

    I can see where you’re coming from! I am not participating in this challenge, but whenever I’ve tried to keep up with the #bloglikecrazy challenge, I can feel this way some of the time. I tend to blog when I have something to say. Sometimes this is bad because I post too often, or not often enough. I am trying to stick to an editorial calendar now, but I still want blogging to feel less like a chore or a “job,” and more something I do for pleasure. Whenever I try to do something EVERY DAY, it tends to feel more like a chore. Maybe I just don’t like feeling like I HAVE to do something! Rebel against authority, maybe!

    • Sherri

      Exactly Jennifer. I tend to get stressed out w #bloglikecrazy or other such challenges, but this one isn’t stressing me out. I think b/c it’s so small and I can do it quickly. I don’t find (MAKE!) the time to sit down and blog/write like I want to or should, but taking a pic and posting it takes less than a minute and I don’t have to think much. lol! But I totally get what Tanya’s talking about…most every challenge or calendar I’ve stuck to for something ends up being a chore and I get ticked or tired after a while and stop. Ack! 🙂

    • Tanya

      Yes yes yes, great example! I tried doing #bloglikecrazy too but found my posts felt forced. I have an editorial calendar that I stick to loosely, but if I’m not feeling a post that day, I let it go!

  • Wade Kwon

    Happiness is such a Western concept. Allow me to offer an alternate viewpoint …

    I once explained to friends that “self-esteem” is also a very Western concept. As someone who grew up in a Korean (in America) household, my parents didn’t care about my self-esteem or happiness. What they wished for me was achievement and success, and helped me grow so that I could fulfill those promises.

    Many Asian families believe that happiness naturally results from success (secure job, status, good family, etc.). This is different from many American families, who want their children to grow up to be “happy.” (Do what makes you happy; follow your bliss …)

    So seeing #100happydays pop up repeatedly reminds me of how my cultural lens contrasts with others in how we measure our lives and share them with others. I’ve rarely concerned myself with happiness or self-esteem; like Tanya, I am either happy or sad or mostly, as Ann put it, present.

    • Tanya

      Thanks for sharing a different viewpoint, Wade! I hadn’t thought about it from a cultural perspective – 100 Happy Days is international, I wonder if there’s a correlation between the people in various countries participating and their cultural norms.

      I bet it you posted pics of things your parents perceived as bringing happiness, people in Bham would see you as self-centered and materialistic.

    • Tanya

      Hahaha I love this idea!m It’d be like those books you see at Urban Outfitters or the one at Target – “All of my Friends are Dead.” I also have a sick sense of humor. This must be why we’re friends, despite your poor choice in football teams.

  • Sasha

    I recently started participating and while I see the positives of what the creator of the challenge intended (finding the silver lining even on a crap day), I also see your side as well. I’m only about a week in, but I’ve already experienced days where I felt completely happy, but there wasn’t any one particular thing to attach that happiness to. On days like that I’ve instead started posting little things that I appreciate throughout the day, which as a regular Instagram poster, I pretty much do already.

    I’m a realist/pessimist trying to slowly become an optimist so I’m hoping that after the challenge I’m still able to find something each day to be happy about, whether there’s a hashtag attached to it or not.

    Thank you for your post, it’s refreshing to hear another perspective on this!

  • Jenn

    When this became a trend in my social media feed, i didn’t join simply because I didn’t want to jump into the bandwagon. Then as the days progressed, i realized the same thing as you. I also didn’t want to force myself into identifying which part of my day made me happy because if I was truly having fun or experiencing immense happiness, I wouldn’t be online, trying to post about it; I would just be living that moment.

  • Betty

    My niece started doing this and I thought it was a fun thing to do. Another reason for doing it (for me) is because I’m studying what makes people happy. Positive psychology holds that joining in and being part of a group builds happiness, rather than trying to be happy alone.

  • juliebie

    I’m glad you posted about this. I have been watching friends of mine do this challenge and post their photos on Facebook every day and it’s made me wonder about the whole thing. I think what bothers me about it is the hashtag. For me, when I post something on Facebook I am posting it because it is something that already makes me happy. I feel like adding the hashtag is announcing to the world, “Look at me! I’m happy! And you need to take notice of my happiness!” As for the forced aspect of feeling like you have to post a photo every day, I totally get that. I am currently in my second year of my own personal photo-a-day blog and I don’t see any signs of stopping. There are days I miss because I didn’t have time to upload my photo that day, but I stockpile them and catch up. It is a chore, though, but I love having the photos to look back on and remember my year. The major difference, though, between what I do on my blog and the 100happydays hashtag challenge is that I am not announcing to the world that the thing I am posting is making me happy. And often, the thing I’m posting is just something I thought was cool or interesting and isn’t necessarily something that makes me happy. Today will be day 508 for my blog and I’m extremely proud of that. I remember at the beginning when I reached day 100 it was a big deal so from that standpoint I applaud the people who are doing the challenge. I guess I’m just getting sick of that 100happydays hashtag showing up on Facebook.

  • Jan

    I’ve adapted the challenge to suit my own personal desires. I don’t always post with a picture, sometimes I just tell people in a regular status update what my happy spot for the day is, and I don’t make any of my posts public. I’m content to share with only the people in my direct life what I find every day to chase away the blues.

  • kiwigo

    I like the idea of the #100happydays challenge and the introspective reflection that comes with it. I like that you can share this happiness with those around you and people that you love.

    But….. For me finding something every day happy for 100 days (just over 3 months) is a little bit too much. I wouldn’t say that I was depressed or bipolar or anything else yet I find it difficult to fathom find 100 happy and photographable things for that period of time.

    The whole idea makes me a little bit sadder because I don’t know if I can do it. I have tried and still some days there isn’t anything shiny, or comforting that can pull me out of my negative outlook. And maybe its just me but I comfort myself in the way of saying hey life is about ups and downs and you can’t appreciate being truly happy without being truly sad.

    I think – that being sad today and then having some small ray of sunshine pick you up is the thing that makes you really appreciate that ray of sunshine. I also think its okay to embrace sadness and really feel all you can feel from it.

    I might be missing the point of #100happydays though 🙂 Just my two cents.

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