World celebrates International Day of Happiness
This year's theme is Happier Together, focusing on what we have in common, rather than what divides us.
By designating a special day for happiness, the UN aims to focus world attention on the idea that economic growth must be inclusive, equitable, and balanced, such that it promotes sustainable development, and alleviates poverty.
Additionally the UN acknowledges that in order to attain global happiness, economic development must be accompanied by social and environmental well-being.
At the UN Conference on Happiness in 2012, the United Nations proclaimed the International Day of Happiness. The day was celebrated for the first time on March 20, 2013 in an effort to highlight the importance of global happiness and its impact on world development and peace.
Extensive research by scientists has revealed that being happy isn’t something that just happens, but making small changes to your behaviour, your surroundings and your relationships can help with the pursuit of happiness on this International Day of Happiness.
Here are some ideas of how you can easily cultivate some happiness this International Happiness Day, and every other day!
Smiling is one of the most immediate and natural ways to shift yourself—and other people—into a positive mood.
The muscles you use to smile will tell your brain you are happy. Smiling, like positive emotions, is contagious.
Gratitude is strongly associated with higher wellbeing. Science indicates it is possible to become more grateful and strengthen the character trait of gratitude.
Take some time to write down three things that you are grateful for. These can be big things such as good health, supportive relationships and career successes, or little things such as a perfect cup of coffee or hearing your favourite song on the radio.
Be specific when thanking people, so instead of saying “thanks”, clearly outline how they have helped you or others. For example, “thank you for helping me out by picking up my children from school. You really made my busy day easier and I am really grateful.”
Spend 5 minutes being Mindful
Mindfulness is defined as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”.
The benefits of mindfulness are overwhelming. With regard to wellbeing, being mindful makes it easier to savour the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events. Being present sharpens your focus and helps you appreciate the little things.
Practice five minutes of mindfulness, ideally aligned with an activity you do every day, such as eating a meal or walking to work. Try to use all of your senses to take in your surroundings. There could be a beautiful sunrise, or you might simply relish the taste of your lunch.
Random Act of Kindness
Deliberately practicing kindness and becoming more aware of your own kind behaviour toward other people can positively impact wellbeing.
Small acts of kindness can brighten another’s day. They also brighten yours. Kind actions give us stories to tell to help us and others savour happy times.
Kindness can involve both small and big gestures, from letting a car get in front in traffic to helping a friend move house. People also vary with regards to the kind acts they are amenable to giving and receiving. Do kind acts you are comfortable with and enjoy. And if it’s reciprocated, it has a wonderful ripple effect.