2 5  O K T O B E R  T O  3  N O V E M B E R  A G R I G E N T O – I T A L Y

What makes us happy? What is exactly happiness? What are the factors that contribute to ourhappiness, what are the factors that decrease the happiness factor and what would be the path toachieve happiness? These are the question with which many of us struggle on daily bases.Especially now more than ever it’s been relevant that’s why our participants partners came up withthe idea to do a youth exchange about happiness in which young people will discover together theroad to happiness. One of the key factors effecting negatively our state of happiness is stress. Thedevastating effects of stress on our mental, emotional and physical health have been studied formore than 50 years. What was before an automatic response developed to protect our ancientancestors from predators and threats, might now be one of the majorcontributors to mental illness. Understanding what stress is and how it affects us, as well aslearning how to manage it, is crucial for our youngsters in our ‘’deadline’’ focused society. We haveidentified the following causes of the higher risks of young people to experience stress, burnout,anxiety,depression, etc.: lack of knowledge on how to prevent & manage stress in their lives & how tocreate a work & life balance; being constantly exposed to social or/and environmental problems,makes them see problems all the time, which at times can feel very depressing and withoutknowing how to keep the positive thinking alive, it can lead to mental illnesses; most of theyoungsters are very passionate and motivated about their study/work, which leads to a higher riskof burnout as they tend to prioritize study and work forgetting about the other areas of their lives.

More over, youth is often undervalued, underpaid and work in stressful environments under highpressure. That is why we want to organize an 8-day Youth Exchange“The Road to Happiness” in which 32 participants and 8 youth leaders from Italy, Sweden,Lithuania, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia & Netherlands will come together in AgrigentoItaly and will together find out what is the path to happiness, define happiness, develop self-carepractices, fosterthe culture of wellbeing and organize & maintain a continuous focus on inner sustainability —their mental and physical wellbeing. Participants will learn how to refuel their energy reserveswithout compromising their health. The program isaimed at encouraging participants to change their attitudes regarding a work/life balance and willintroduce ways of setting healthy boundaries to prevent burn-out and stress.

We believe that wellbeing is a catalyst for a positive change withinoneself and communities and societies in which we all live. Once, theparticipants will know how to take care of their own wellbeing, they will beable to spread the message to their communities.

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