Come together | International Day of Happiness | Saturday, March 20

The International Day of Happiness is an annual event organised by the United Nations to promote the idea that feeling happy is a global human right.

The theme for this year’s International Day of Happiness is “Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind” and is, of course, in response to the COVID pandemic.

As we still face an ongoing global challenge together, this year’s International Day of Happiness is a chance to find uplifting and positive ways to look after ourselves – and one another.

Exploring the theme further, Action for Happiness suggests:

Keep calm. There are lots of things outside our control. Let us remember to breathe and focus on what really matters so we can respond constructively.

Stay wise. Making wise choices helps everyone. Let us choose positive actions that support our well-being and help others to do the same.

Be kind. We are all in this together, even when we are forced apart. Let us stay connected and reach out to help others who may be in need.

International Day of Happiness: the history

The first International Day of Happiness was held on 20 March 2013, following several years of campaigning by Jayme Illien, a United Nations adviser. After growing up in one of Mother Theresa’s Kolkata orphanages, he was keen to end global inequality.

The first history of happiness studies began over 2,500 years ago when great philosophers such as Confucius, Socrates, Aristotle and Buddha, and many others devoted their lives to the pursuit of this topic, influencing the lives of countless millions to the present day.

Today, positive psychology or the science of happiness is the study of what exactly make happy people happy, and recently there has been an explosion of interest in this field.

The benefits of happiness

Although studying happiness is not a new concept, it is only in recent years that psychologists have begun to understand the importance and far-reaching implications of positive emotions. Scientists conclude that the key to human wellness is strong social ties and a sense of purpose. In other words, involvement in things that are for the ‘greater good’ of humanity.

Others believe that having a positive mindset is responsible for as much as 90 per cent of our feelings of well-being. These might include a fulfilling career where helping others is paramount, voluntary work to improve the community, or just staying in touch with your neighbours and friends.

People who are happy tend to live longer and have fewer health problems. Indeed, happier people are less likely to have high blood pressure and heart issues. One thing remains clear – we still have a lot to learn about this area of study and the myriad benefits of a life well-lived. Hopefully, the International Day of Happiness can raise even more awareness of this and help us all to be happy in 2021 and beyond.

We here at TDHS thought we would put a bit of happiness and brightness in your life by displaying some actions (taken from the Action for Happiness’s Coping Calendar that we can all do to look after ourselves and each other.

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