Today is the First International Day of Happiness: Showing It

UN Goal for Happiness Day

Did you know that today is the first International Day of Happiness?

The United Nations passed a resolution in 2012 proclaiming 20 March as International Day of Happiness. The UN resolution recognizes the relevance of happiness and wellbeing as universal goals … and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives.

And, the resolution acknowledges 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.

world-happiness-newsWhat do we know about world happiness?

It may not feel like it but on average, the world has become a little happier in the last 30 years (by 0.14 times the standard deviation of happiness around the world).  The 2012 World Happiness report shows that:

  • Happier countries tend to be richer countries. But more important for happiness than income are social factors like the strength of social support, the absence of corruption and the degree of personal freedom. (Top ranked? Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands)
  • Over time as living standards have risen, happiness has increased in some countries, but not in others (like for example, the United States).
  • Unemployment causes as much unhappiness as bereavement or separation.
  • Behaving well makes people happier.
  • Mental health is the biggest single factor affecting happiness in any country. (Yet only a quarter of mentally ill people get treatment for their condition in advanced countries and fewer in poorer countries.)
  • Stable family life and enduring marriages are important for the happiness of parents and children. (The U.S. has the highest rate of single parenthood in the industrialized world.)


Action for Happiness Pledge 2013Right now, people around the world are pledging to take action.  

Often it feels like there’s more broken than whole, at least from my lense to the world where I have access to infinite amounts of information on and images of suffering, conflict and pain. So today, let’s share with one another ideas for bringing more happiness into the world!

You can take the Create Happiness pledge: Here are three easy ways to create more happiness in the world…

1. Share your gratitude. Smile, say thank you, write a card, make that phone call, give a big ol’ hug. Sing a song to someone you love and are grateful for today — they’ll forgive you if you’re off-key. I know for me, the days that I start out with writing a thank you card or journaling about what I’m grateful for are the days that flow more smoothly, with more confidence and calmness. How about pledging to start your days sharing gratitude?

2. Pledge to listen more and better.  One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to W.A.I.T.  The acronym is a reminder to ask myself “Why am I talking?” In this fracturing world of instant gratification and crazy multi-tasking, giving someone else your full attention, really listening, creates connectedness — one key to happiness. Turn off that device, TV or computer and create happiness by listening.

Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue; to the end we should hear and see more than we speak.”~ Greek Proverb

3. Mend something. Benjamin Franklin said, “How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.” If you’re anything like me, choosing just one fault to mend can be a fulltime job.  I heard myself apologizing to a dear friend last week for not being in touch for months (beyond text messages and sometimes email). I’m going to mend that by picking up the phone more (I’ve got the dates on my calendar). How about you? Anything you can mend to spread more happiness?

Thank you so much for reading! If even one person found value in this post, I feel I’ve spread a little more happiness in the world. I’d love to hear how you’ll create more happiness too — I know I will grow by learning from you!

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