Share Your Happiness On Happiness Day
You—and those around you—will be glad you did
We can’t all be happy all of the time. But for at least one day a year, we can make a concerted effort to spread happiness to all those we come into contact with. That’s part of the idea behind the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness, which falls each year on March 20, and is recognized by all 193 UN member nations. Since its launch in 2013, a number of initiatives and organizations have sprung up to help promote happiness in various ways around the world, and this week they come together to trade experience, share their findings about the state of the world’s happiness, and just try to make the world a bit of a happier place.
The effect of one person becoming happy extends not just to their friends, but to friends of friends as well
That’s where you come in—with a good turn you can do without even leaving your seat. At HappinessDay.org, you can find ten steps to promote happiness, from spreading the word about the International Day of Happiness to making a pledge to create more happiness in the world, just doing what makes you happy, or sharing your happiness with the world.
Why is that important? Because studies indicate that happiness is contagious. So much so, in fact, that the effect of one person becoming happy extends not just to their friends, but to friends of friends as well.
That’s why sharing your happiness can have an outsized effect. Perhaps people in Finland, for instance, which ranked at the top of the UN’s happiness tables last year, simply share their happiness with each other more than they do in the United States, which ranked 18th. Those figures are from the UN’s World Happiness Report, which you can find—along with a host of other happiness-related research and resources—at the UN’s research portal on happiness. (The 2019 report should be available shortly.)
Happiness, as the UN measures it, is more than just smiles. There is much research on subjective measures of well being (i.e., polling people as to the state of their satisfaction in various areas of life), and the UN also keeps an eye on what the southeast Asian nation of Bhutan refers to as Gross National Happiness. But achieving higher happiness scores is not just a matter of having a better attitude. The UN ties happiness to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which tackle things like poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace, justice, and more, and are the guiding principles for many UN programs. To truly make the world a happier place, we need progress toward those ends.
The UN makes that easy too, with a guide to how to be the change you want to see. They even have a “lazy person’s guide to saving the world” on their site. It really doesn’t take much, and the outsized effects of making even one person happy seem worth the effort. So get happy. And then tell us all about it—you might even see yourself here!
Posted March 19, 2019