Happy International Day of Happiness!

“When you’re smilin’ keep on smilin’
The whole world smiles with you”

So wrote (and sang) Louis Armstrong, and who amongst us hasn’t experienced the power of sharing smiles and happiness with others? Since 2012, today (20 March) has been designated the UN International Day of Happiness, and this, the relevant Resolution explains, is why:

“The General Assembly,[…] Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal,[…] Recognizing also 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, Decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness”. 

Go to the website of Action for Happiness, which co-ordinates social action and personal activity for the International Day of Happiness, and you will find a list of ways in which to achieve happiness. It is not for the cynical (obviously); read it and take it at face value, in the spirit in which it was intended, and reflect:

Giving

Relating

Exercising

Appreciating

Trying Out

 

Direction

Resilience

Emotion

Acceptance

Meaning

 

Very neatly, of course, it spells out ‘Great Dream’ … and why shouldn’t happiness be a ‘great dream’? Happiness as a concept is much maligned and scorned; it is often seen as something superficial, often linked to material goals. Substitute ‘contentment’ for ‘happiness’, however, and come a little closer to understanding deep, powerful happiness – a state of existing, thinking and doing where we can fully be our confident and secure selves, and where we can positively influence the lives of others.

Of course, as with most things that are worth anything in life, happiness doesn’t happen without effort. Happiness is as much about the doing as it is about the being.

So, today, as you go about your daily tasks, seek to ‘be’ happy and ‘do’ happy. The world will be that little bit better as a result – and that’s a promise.

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