BBC Wales launches Welsh Happiness Day (Dydd Bydd Hapus)

Mike Bubbins

According to official figures, Wales consistently falls behind the rest of the UK in terms of levels of happiness.

In an attempt to encourage positive change and well-being, BBC Wales have launched Welsh Happiness Day across their television, radio and online channels which will kick off a special week of programmes designed to lighted Welsh spirits.

The broadcaster have designated today (23 January) as Welsh Happiness Day and their range of special programmes begins with Alex Jones and Jason Mohammad presenting Make Wales Happy on BBC One Wales at 8pm (11pm in Kenya).

Using a range of experiments, they will aim to discover the science behind what makes us happy, and establish how we can all become that little bit happier in our lives. The pair will look at whether it is possible to train your brain to be happier, whether there is a happiness gene and if exercise can really boost your mood?

They will be aided and abetted by comedian Mike Bubbins, who will scour the country
looking for ways to make us happier, and he’ll even attempt a world record live in the studio as he tries to put a smile on the face of the nation.

Other guests include former athlete and presenter Kris Akabusi, and Dr. Bronwyn Tarr a Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropologist and Experimental Psychologist at the University of Oxford, who will be on hand to help analyse some of the results. Dr. Tarr explains how music and dance could help boost your mood.

Dr. Tarr says: “Taking part in musical activities brings people together, whether it’s singing in a choir, going to a concert or dancing at a wedding. Music can trigger emotions and, especially when we dance, cause us to experience a burst of ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. When this happens in the presence of others, the result can be a potent ‘social glue’. In this way, we’re probably not so different from our social ancestors who first started making music. Like early humans, we can’t actually get by just on our own in the modern world – we rely on friendships and our community to keep us happy and help us live a long and healthy life.”

A number of organisations from across Wales will also be taking part in Welsh Happiness Day, offering opportunities to members of the public to join in with various activities including sponsoring a dog for the day with Dogs Trust, taking part in a silent disco for that feel-good factor, visiting the University of South Wales for a free hug, or joining a flash mob choir.

BBC Radio Cymru will help lift the Welsh mood with a variety of lively interviews and music, and the online service BBC Cymru Fyw will be asking the people of Wales what makes them happy, as well as various online articles addressing health and well-being.

On Wednesday (24 January), Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert will present Stand up to Shyness on BBC One Wales at 9pm (midnight Kenya time).

Rhod Gilbert
Can Rhod Gilbert help others overcome their shyness? Photo: BBC

While the Rhod Gilbert we all know is a larger than life comedian, there’s another Rhod Gilbert hiding not far below the surface. The real Rhod is shy, introverted, and terrified of social occasions. In the programme, he will encourage others to overcome their fear using his own version of shyness aversion therapy. But will it work?

Another Welsh star drafted in to Welsh Happiness Week is Charlotte Church who, having lived through her mother’s battles with depression, will aim to discover if it’s nature or nurture that affects our mental health in Charlotte Church: Inside My Brain on BBC One Wales this Thursday (January 25) at 8pm (11pm Kenya time).

Charlotte Church
Charlotte Church will examine whether nature or nurture has an influence on happiness. Photo: BBC

Welsh expats can join in the conversation by using the hashtag #MakeWalesHappy and
#WelshHappinessDay.

While BBC Wales do not broadcast in Kenya, you can listen to the radio broadcasts live
using the BBC iPlayer Radio app and selected programmes will be available through the
iPlayer catch-up service. However, the latter is restricted to use within the UK, so you will only be able to access this using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.

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