It’s a day to be happy, of course! Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.
The United Nations invites each person of any age, plus every classroom, business and government to join in celebration of the International Day of Happiness.
International Day of Happiness 2022
The International Day of Happiness 2022 will be celebrated on 20th March 2022.
International Day of Happiness 2022 theme was – ‘Keep Calm, Stay Wise, Be Kind‘
The aim of this year’s International Day of Happiness was to spread happiness in everyone’s life. Various organizations and NGOs organized events to celebrate the occasion by urging people to share how they spread happiness.
OFM, the famous FM radio in South Africa celebrated the day by playing music with a happier nature and positive nods. It also broadcasted programs on the topic “The secret to a long and happy life”. It also organized various competitions and the winners were awarded prizes.
United Nations launched a “Ten Steps to Global Happiness” challenge campaign and called upon the people to celebrate the day and take 10 steps to challenge to spread happiness in the world.
The General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 66/281 of 12 July 2012 proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness, recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives. It also recognized the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples.
The resolution was initiated by Bhutan, a country which recognized the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. It also hosted a High Level Meeting on “Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” during the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly.
First UN Meeting on Happiness
The United Nations hosted the first high profile meeting on happiness and well being on 2nd April 2012. The meeting was attended by heads of state, senior delegates, and ministers from over thirty countries and by intergovernmental organizations.
United Nations then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, proposed to achieve the parity between social, environmental and economic well being as the three are pillars of Sustainable Development, together defining gross global happiness.
World’s Pursuit of Happiness
Many leaders and social thinkers and activities across the world have been stressing on ‘happiness’ for decades.
The need for happiness was first recognized by Bhutan’s King – Jigme Singye Wangchuk in 1972. He was also the first to introduce Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy.
International Institute of Management introduced second-generation GNH in 2005 along with the first global survey of Gross National Happiness.
In 2007 the Illien foundation launched an initiative to poverty removal and promoting sustainable development to human happiness.
Founder “Jayme Illien’s” Early Life
Jayme Illien was found abandoned as an infant on a roadside in the Indian town of Calcutta. He was taken to the International Mission of Hope Orphanage, run by Mother Teresa.
He was later adopted by a single American woman – Anna Belle Illien who was also the founder of Illien Adoption International; an adoption agency based in Atlanta, GA and working to support, displaced, poor and refugee families and children.
From an early age, Jayme had hands-on exposure to the issues like refugees, poverty, and problems faced by the orphan children, as he roamed throughout the world with his mother.
He professed the rights of children from a very early age and became vocal about them and the solutions. He felt a responsibility towards the deprived children who lose their families to poverty, war and other related factors. He considers himself to be one of them.
Jayme Illien worked as a diplomat of Illien adoptions in the United States Department of State, working on issues like immigration, child trafficking, adoption and issues of human rights.
Why 20th March Was Chosen for Celebrating “International Day of Happiness”?
Jayme Illien proposed March 20th as the date for “International Day of Happiness”, considering the importance of March Equinox, which falls on the same date annually. Jayme Illien was of the opinion that Equinox is a phenomenon felt by all of humankind and is an event when Sun lies exactly above the earth.
What is the Aim of “International Day of Happiness”?
We all want to be happy and every pursuit has happiness at its core. Whatever we do – study, work, play, make plans and read, etc, we do it all to ultimately achieve happiness.
The world has developed drastically in past decades but unfortunately, we haven’t progressed much on happiness. Today we have got access to the best things in life from fancy gadgets to comfort accessories, but we are not that much happy and only a few countries today reach the benchmark of Global Happiness Index.
The “International Day of Happiness” recognizes happiness as the basic human goal and calls upon the government and associated agencies to make policies towards improving peoples’ general well being.
A day dedicated to happiness the United Nations seek to fetch the attention of the international community on the fact that sustainable development will only be achieved if people are happy. The UN also acknowledges the fact that social, environmental and economic well being is mandatory for global happiness.
How Is “International Day of Happiness” Celebrated?
There is no specific location for the celebrations of “International Day of Happiness” and it is celebrated globally by governments, non-government agencies, and members of civil society and also by people holding high offices.
Persons from every section of society irrespective of their profession or financial status take part in the celebrations of “International Day of Happiness”. Various events are organized to encourage people to be happy and also to make them happy.
Painting and laughing competitions are organized especially in schools and colleges. Children are asked to draw a poster for the “International Day of Happiness”; depicting happiness in whatever way they like.
Events are organized to help people achieve their goals or do things that make them happy. People, who get happy by involving in a specific activity, are given access to it.
Many celebrities and public figures also celebrate the day with joy and festival fervor. The first commemoration of “International Day of Happiness” 2013 in New York was witnessed by Ndaba Mandela (Nelson Mandela’s grandson), Chelsea Clinton (daughter of former US President Bill Clinton) and Hillary Clinton (US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate).
Government and non-government agencies work towards the eradication of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and various other factors that obstructs the happiness of a person or the Happiness Index of a nation.
To meet the goals of Sustainable Development it is imperative to improve the Happiness Index of the world.
Activities On International Day Of Happiness:
The feeling that economics isn’t everything has been growing, and happiness has taken center stage in the global community. The United Nations recognized these shifting attitudes and the need for more emphasis on human happiness. They declared that the world should celebrate happiness on a new International Day of Happiness that would take place every March 20th, starting in 2013.
Happiness is serious business. The UN held meetings and considered what to do about the need for more happiness. As the United Nations examined its importance, they wanted a way to promote the idea that happiness is a universal human right. Since their 2012 resolution, Happiness Day has been celebrated by millions around the world. Here are 18 interesting ways to celebrate the International Day of Happiness.
- Take The Action For Happiness Pledge
You don’t have to take a pledge to be happy, but it couldn’t hurt. The Action for Happiness Pledge may help you start the day with the right attitude. It goes, “I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me.”
- Use Happiness Hashtags
Instagram and Twitter hashtags are fun to use, and they help promote your commitment to making the world a happier place. The hashtag for Happiness Day 2019 was #TenBillionHappy. Happinessday.org also features social posts that people make using happiness hashtags. They suggest using hashtags like:
- Attend A Happiness Day Event
Happiness events happen every year on March 20. Melbourne, Australia is a great place to go for happiness events. The Event Happiness for International Day of Happiness 2018 included a 3-course vegan dinner, music, and sharing wisdom on how to be happy and uplifted.
You can travel far from home to attend a series of concerts in another country. Or, you can look for events in your local community like Happiness Day potluck dinners. Get out, be with other people, and have a good time!
- Give And Receive Hugs
Give and get lots of hugs. That should make everyone happier! For International Day of Happiness 2017, a hug-fest was held at the Dupont Circle Foundation. You don’t have to go to Washington, D.C. to share hugs, either. You can organize your own hugging party right where you live.
- Set Your Own Goals To Promote Global Happiness All Year
In the spirit of the International Day of Happiness, the UN created 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Use the UN goals as a springboard for your own ideas of how to take positive action to make the world happier on Happiness Day and every day. The UN goals are:
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- Reduced inequality
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible production and consumption
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Peace, justice and strong institutions
- Partnerships for the goals
- Just Play
Despite the serious thought and action that has been taken in the name of promoting happiness, there’s something to be said for just having fun. Go out and play as if you were a child. Some ideas for playing include:
- Join in a pickup game of basketball
- Spend the day at an amusement park
- Toss a beachball at the swimming pool or beach
- Go sledding
- Play peek-a-boo, hide-and-seek, or charades with your kids
- Have a joke-telling contest
- Connect With Others
Connecting with others is one of the best ways to be happy on the International Day of Happiness. Make time for the people who are important to you. Reconnect with people who have slipped out of your life. Make new connections by chatting with people you meet while you’re out taking care of your daily errands.
- Give Away Clothes You Don’t Need
Sometimes, giving makes people feel happier than receiving. For Happiness Day, give something valuable to someone who can use it. Many people could use some good clothes. Clean out your closets and find those items that you enjoyed at another time in your life but no longer need. Ask a friend if they’d like them or give them to a clothing closet organization for people who need them most. When you see your tidy closet after the extras are gone, you’ll feel happy, too.
- Celebrate With A Feast
Food not only allows humans to survive, it makes people happy, too, if it’s well prepared and tasty. For International Day of Happiness, bring your family and friends together for a big happiness feast. Have a sit-down dinner, a barbecue, or a quiet supper. Or, you can celebrate by taking someone out to dinner who rarely gets a chance to have a satisfying meal.
- Attend A Happiness Seminar
Did you know there are many happiness experts in the world? They study what makes people happy, the benefits of happiness, and how to create more happiness in the world. Often, people who are involved with the happiness movement give seminars about the subject. Look for a Happiness Day seminar in March or go to a seminar or webinar any day to get yourself on the path to greater happiness.
- Get Into A Happiness Day Flash Mob
Some Londoners had a great idea. They came together on Trafalgar Square for an International Day of Happiness flash mob. The instructions were to share positive messages with people in the square in one-to-one interactions. The entire square was suddenly filled with happy people!
- Make Happiness Art
This year on International Happiness Day, make art that expresses your joy. Make hand-lettered signs declaring your happiness goals. Draw cartoon images on the sidewalk with colored chalk. Get together with friends for a day of painting happy portraits of each other. Share your artwork with friends, family, or your local community. Post it on social media to share it with the world.
- Find Out More About Happiness
If learning makes you happy, spend some time on Happiness Day to find out more about the subject. You can find about current happiness research from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Stop by the happiness page at Public Radio International to get research-based practical tips for living a happier life. You can even find out more about happiness by simply talking with a happy person you know about how they developed their positive mindset.
- Dance For Joy
Nothing expresses joy quite the same way as dancing does. Celebrate the International Day of Happiness by dancing. Take part in a group dance like square dancing, line dancing, or folk dancing. Go out with a loved on and dance the night away. Try ballroom dancing or just get out there on the dance floor and move your own way. If no one is around, just dance for yourself, feeling the happy rhythms of your favorite music.
Volunteering is good for the soul. A study on volunteering explored whether people who volunteer actually benefit from the experience or only think they do. As it turns out, volunteering has even greater benefits for physical and emotional health as you get older. So, as you get older, it just makes sense to take more time to help others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, knit infant caps for hospitals to give out in the neonatal unit, or grab a hammer and help build a Habitat for Humanity home. Whatever you find to do, allow yourself to enjoy the work and the connections you’re making with others.
- Promote Happiness In Your Workplace
Even for the happiest worker, the time will usually come when work seems like a drudgery, if only occasionally. You can lift your spirits along with those of your coworkers by doing things at work that promote happiness for everyone. Congratulate a fellow worker when they have a small success. Work out conflicts peacefully when you can. Be a good listener for your coworkers. Take the attitude that work can be joyful every day.
When you smile, something wonderful happens; you feel better. Or, at least, this is the idea behind the facial feedback hypothesis.Research results have varied, some concluding that smiling promoted positive feelings and others denying such an impact.
Various reasons have been given for why smiling influences emotions. For example, one study suggested that facial expressionschange the temperature of the blood supply to the brain, causing pleasurable feelings when the temperature dropped. Whatever the reason it might be, it’s definitely worth a try.
- Improve Your Mental Health
It’s hard to be happy when you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, or another mental condition. Mental illness isn’t something you can just turn off in an instant. Getting better is a process that requires thought, guidance, and expert care. With the right help, though, you can celebrate the next International Day of Happiness in a more joyful way, free of the struggle of dealing with a mental condition.You can talk to a licensed counselor for help with depression, anxiety, or other problems that are keeping you from doing the things that would make you and those around you happier. Counselors are available for private online therapy. When you address your problems and work through your issues, you can increase your happiness by leaps and bounds!
Making a list of things that you are grateful for can have a positive impact on your mood and level of happiness. Thinking about the positive aspects of your life and being grateful for the people in your life, health, things you have, etc. is a great exercise in promoting a positive mood.
Themes of International Day of Happiness
- 2022: Keep Calm, Stay Wise, Be Kind
- 2021: Happiness For All, Forever
- 2020: Happiness for all, together
- 2019: ‘Share Happiness and be Part of Something Amazing’ and ‘Happier Together’
- 2018: Share Happiness
- 2017: 10 Steps to Happiness
- 2016: Angry Birds Happy Planet
- 2015: Focus on Your Connection with Others