Happy ninja spreads joy

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHAR­LIE PEEL char­lie. peel@ news. com. au

A SU­PER­HERO took to the streets of Townsville on Thurs­day on a mis­sion to brighten the day of North Queens­lan­ders and rid the city of sad­ness.

The Hap­pi­ness Ninja took her cause to Cas­tle Hill where she handed out free hugs, bot­tles of wa­ter, ge­lato and cof­fee to strangers.

The ninja’s al­ter ego is Jamie Brown, 29, who was in­spired to spread hap­pi­ness by her own bat­tle with de­pres­sion.

She suf­fered from de­pres­sion and sui­ci­dal thoughts since she was just 12 years old and it wasn’t un­til she over­came a mar­i­juana ad­dic­tion and dis­cov­ered the “sci­ence of hap­pi­ness” that her life turned around.

“I was ad­dicted to weed un­til I was 24, and once I kicked that, life looked a lit­tle brighter,” she said. “Weed was my cop­ing mech­a­nism for the de­pres­sion, my life was spi­ralling out of con­trol and it took a lot to kick the habit.”

Ms Brown said she was di­ag­nosed with clin­i­cal de­pres­sion when she was 18 and be­gan work­ing through her demons with a ther­a­pist.

Then, in 2013, she was in­tro­duced to pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy, which looks at the sci­ence of hap­pi­ness. Her life changed dra­mat­i­cally and the Hap­pi­ness Ninja was born.

“I no­ticed a dif­fer­ence within a week, once I adopted the pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy tech­niques,” Ms Brown said.

“Within six months I had the con­fi­dence to get off an­tide­pres­sants and I haven’t looked back since.”

Ms Brown said the ba­sic tenets of pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy were ex­press­ing grat­i­tude ev­ery day through ran­dom acts of kind­ness and pay­ing at­ten­tion to the small things.

“It to­tally changed my life,” she said. “I do the Hap­pi­ness Ninja thing to spread aware­ness and help brighten oth­ers’ days through ran­dom acts of kind­ness.

Ms Brown is based in Bris­bane, but spends three days of the week work­ing at Townsville Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre.

She said the Hap­pi­ness Ninja would con­tinue to spread joy through­out Townsville and en­cour­aged peo­ple to share their own ran­dom acts of kind­ness via Instagram (# the­hap­pi­ness ninja nin­jas), and Twit­ter (@ hap­pi­ness­ninja).

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

GOOD SIGN: Jamie Brown is of­fer­ing ran­dom acts of kind­ness in a bid to re­duce de­pres­sion and sui­cide.

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