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Monday, April 22, 2024

It’s International Day of Happiness!

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Today, 20 March, is International Day of Happiness!


The United Nations established the day in 2012, in recognition of the importance of happiness and well-being as fundamental goals of human development.


March 20th was chosen to coincide with the March equinox, symbolizing the balance between light and dark, and highlighting the pursuit of happiness as a universal aspiration for all people.


The United Nations General Assembly has urged governments and international organizations to invest in conditions that support happiness by upholding human rights and incorporating well-being and environmental dimensions into policy frameworks, such as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.


The effectiveness of governments in upholding peace and social order, as well as in the fields of taxation, legal institutions and delivery of public services, strongly correlates with average life satisfaction.


The United Nations has invited each person of any age, plus every classroom, business and government to join in celebration of the International Day of Happiness.


The Global launch of World Happiness Report 2024, also takes place today.



Which Countries Are The Happiest?


According to the latest country rankings, Finland is the happiest country in the world, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Sweden, while South Africa ranks in 83rd place.


The rankings take into account several factors, including GDP per capita, social support structures in that country, life expectation, freedom of choice, perceptions of corruption, generosity and levels of dystopia among citizens.


Background to International Day of Happiness


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.



Why Is Happiness So Important To Human Development?


  • Happiness contributes to better physical health, boosting the immune system and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Positive emotions enhance mental resilience, helping individuals cope with stress and adversity more effectively.
  • Happy individuals tend to have stronger social connections and support networks, which are essential for overall well-being.
  • Happiness fosters cognitive flexibility and creativity, leading to improved problem-solving skills and innovation.
  • It promotes better decision-making and judgment, as individuals in a positive emotional state are more likely to make rational choices.
  • Happy children exhibit higher levels of academic achievement and are more likely to succeed in school and beyond.
  • It contributes to a sense of purpose and meaning in life, motivating individuals to pursue meaningful goals and aspirations.
  • Societies that prioritize happiness and well-being tend to have lower rates of crime, violence, and social unrest.
  • Happy individuals are more likely to engage in pro-social behaviors, such as volunteering and charitable giving, contributing to a more cohesive and compassionate society.
  • Overall, happiness is not only an indicator of human development but also a catalyst for its continued progress and sustainability.


ALSO READ: Happiness index drops as anger grows over loadshedding


How Can You Become Happier?


Becoming happier is a journey that involves intentional effort and practices aimed at cultivating positive emotions and enhancing overall well-being. Here are some strategies to help you embark on the path to greater happiness:


  1. Practice gratitude: Take time each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal or simply expressing appreciation for the good things in your life can boost your mood and perspective.
  2. Nurture social connections: Spend time with friends and loved ones who uplift and support you. Cultivate meaningful relationships by fostering open communication, empathy, and connection.
  3. Engage in acts of kindness: Helping others not only benefits them but also brings a sense of fulfillment and happiness to you. Look for opportunities to perform acts of kindness, whether it’s volunteering, lending a listening ear, or offering a helping hand.
  4. Prioritize self-care: Take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being by getting enough sleep, eating healthily, exercising regularly, and managing stress effectively. Incorporate activities that bring you joy and relaxation into your daily routine.
  5. Practice mindfulness and meditation: Cultivate mindfulness by bringing your attention to the present moment without judgment. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness practices can help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and enhance overall happiness.
  6. Set meaningful goals: Identify what matters most to you and set goals that align with your values and aspirations. Pursuing meaningful goals can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment, contributing to greater happiness and satisfaction.
  7. Foster a positive mindset: Challenge negative thoughts and cultivate a more optimistic outlook on life. Focus on solutions rather than dwelling on problems, and practice reframing challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.
  8. Find joy in the little things: Pay attention to the simple pleasures and moments of beauty in your daily life. Whether it’s enjoying a cup of tea, savoring a delicious meal, or admiring nature, practicing mindfulness and gratitude can help you find joy in the present moment.


Remember that happiness is a journey, and it’s okay to seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals if you’re struggling.


By incorporating these practices into your life and staying committed to your well-being, you can cultivate greater happiness and fulfillment over time.

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