Good things are happening all around us, you just have to look for them. Here, we round-up 10 feel-good stories you might have missed this March
1. Thousands return to nature in search of pandemic relief
When things get tough, a go-to piece of advice is: “Get some fresh air and take a breather.” And a new study published in PLOS ONE reveals that, throughout the pandemic, people are doing just that.
The research, which involved residents of the US state of Vermont, examined how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted people’s relationships with nature.
One of the first published studies of its kind, it recorded notable increases in participation in several outdoor activities, including walking (70%), wildlife watching (64%), relaxing outside alone (58%), and creating art (54%).
When asked how they thought the increased time spent outdoors had benefited them, respondents had many positive experiences to report. Nearly 60% pointed to improved mental health and wellbeing after being outdoors, 29% noticed the value in appreciating nature’s beauty, and 22% felt a connection to something bigger than themselves.
Around the globe, during many uncertain months, many of us have sought comfort in returning to the simple and the small. And one thing’s for sure, the ability to find solace in nature is as universal as it comes.
2. What do you meme?
After photos of politician Bernie Sanders, sat wrapped up in gloves and a scarf, at President Joe Biden’s inauguration went viral, the 76-year-old came up with an innovative idea to turn it all into something really positive. Bernie sold merchandise featuring his iconic photo, and raised more than $1.8 million for charity!
3. A new era begins for Mr Men and Little Miss series
Their bright pages lined many of our childhood bookshelves and, even as these simple fables enter their 50th year, the charm of Mr Men and Little Miss shows no sign of wearing thin.
The series – created by late, beloved British author and illustrator Roger Hargreaves – began in 1971 and is about to mark its anniversary by offering five new characters for the public to vote on.
The new line-up includes: Mr Calm, Little Miss Kind, Little Miss Brave, Little Miss Energy, and Mr Brilliant – and it’s up to you to decide which two characters should join the iconic collection, with voting now open online.
They say there’s a Mr Men or Little Miss character inside all of us and, with a cast of more than 90 characters to explore, the series is set to continue to capture the imaginations of millions.
Head to mrmen.com to learn more. Voting closes 31 March.
4. Rock on
Giving a whole new meaning to ‘social bubbles’, US band The Flaming Lips put on concerts in Oklahoma where the group and crowd enjoyed the show from inflatable balls. Each bubble can fit up to three people, and features a speaker to ensure everyone can hear clearly, plus signs to flag if you’re too hot or need the loo.
5. Let your mask do the talking
Hiding two-thirds of our face, masks might not be the first thing you think of when discussing self-expression. But as we near the one-year anniversary of this pandemic, we’re embracing their potential to say who we are and what we stand for.
In a bid to help us do just that and raise funds for its vital work, the Mental Health Foundation charity has launched masks featuring the charity’s symbolic green ribbon.
As well as offering a chance to show support, masks play a key role in slowing the spread of Covid-19. Research is ongoing, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there have been seven studies in the US confirming the benefit of universal masking.
Wearing a mask can be an incredible act of kindness. Why not take that up a notch with a mask that adds another dimension to giving?
You can purchase the masks at mentalhealth.org.uk
6. The big screen
In some great news for representation, Jamie Foxx made history as the first black lead ever in a pixar film, and now his movie, soul, has broken records for pixar with more than 1.7 billion streams.
7. 88ft mural is asking passers-by to think big about togetherness
Something that can often be said for artwork is that it’s larger than life, capturing our attention and imagination – and that’s certainly true for the new 88ft mural adorning a seven-storey high building in the centre of Leeds.
Designed by the graphic artist Anthony Burrill – in collaboration with In Good Company – the piece offers a message of unity that will strike a chord with many of us this year, with the bold black and white words: “ME & YOU. YOU & ME”.
Although planning for the installation began in 2019, after a year where many of us have felt disconnected from those we love, the simple words of the artwork feel particularly touching.
Anthony sees street art as a way to give back to a community, but the sentiment of this particular work spread around the globe, with the photos going viral online.
“The reaction to the piece has been absolutely mind-blowing,” says Laura Wellington, In Good Company’s founder and curator, “further reinforcing my mantra that art brings us together, has the ability to turn a frown upside down, and is essential.”
Discover more by heading to ingoodcompanyleeds.com