Let’s talk about happiness, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things that can be, let’s talk about happy!
Finally, today is the day!!!. Today, March 20, 2013 is the first ever “International Day of Happiness”, as declared by the United Nations. The decision for this day to be appointed was a unanimous vote of all 193 of the UN members.
The goal of is to bring a global awareness around the concept of “Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.”
Last year the UN released their World Happiness Report. (Free to all, read it and talk about it with everyone you know) The report concluded that:
“The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”, as such more and more governments are now including ‘happiness’ for measuring the prosperity of their country. It also concluded that while the GNP has risen 3 points in the last half century, the GNH has remained the same, completely and utterly stagnant.
This morning the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, announced: “On this first International Day of Happiness, let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”
The purpose or goal of this day is to have the world acknowledge the importance of happiness and encourage countries to take note of the importance of happiness by holding events and activities that would embrace compassion and teach us to direct our kindness towards others. Today (I say make it a daily practice) you should put aside your stresses, your boring daily routines, and do something kind for someone else, in doing so happiness will prevail for all.
Dr Mark Williamson, the Director of ‘Action for Happiness’ which is one of the main organizations behind the International Day of Happiness, agrees. “Extensive research shows that making other people happy activates the same reward sensors in your brain, so it’s a win-win situation, Even if you just hold a door open for someone, spare some change or simply smile at someone in the street, it can really make a difference. These ideas may seem trivial but they can transform our psychological health.”
The political, economic and social systems of the 9 billion people who inhabit the earth need to live in harmony to support, sustain and save the planet we share. All 9 billion people have the responsibility of combating obstacles such as poverty, illiteracy, disease, etc. and to see that changes are made. That’s every single one of us responsible. We all want a happy healthy and sustainable future don’t we? Think about it this way; unhappiness breeds crime, insecurity and conflict, imagine 9 billion unhappy people?
Not to be a cynic, but setting aside one day for happiness? It’s a really lovely thought and it’s a start, but considering that “happiness is a serious 21st-century global issue,” I’m thinking it should become top of mind daily for all. How about making every day a day of happiness? You and I have that choice every morning when we wake up.
A Gallup Millennium World Survey that poled almost 60,000 people in 60 countries, ranked ten things that matter most to humans.
From the top:
2. Happy family life
3. A job
At the bottom or least important:
1. Standard of Living. (this is what the GDP supposedly captures)
So what have you been reaching for to make yourself happy?
- Keeping up with the Kardashians
- Keys to a new BMW
- Lifetime membership to a VIP room
- Bigger house
- A relationship
All that stuff’s nice, and you’ll survive with it, but it has nothing to do with happiness or life for that matter. You won’t find happiness in conquest or the desire for more, that is not where accomplishment or happiness thrives and life is as much, if not more, about thriving as it is about surviving.
It exists in not just in you mind, heart, soul, and body but in the practice of empathy, humility, passion, imagination, compassion, gratitude, vulnerability, authenticity, kindness, and it exists within each and every one of us.
Instead of grasping at mass consumption, excess and status, why not put these things into practice, talk about happiness with your family, friends, coworkers, employer etc. connect and encourage.
- Reflect on what a good happy life looks like for you, how does it feel? Are you just surviving or are you also thriving?
- Let someone into your lane on the way home.
- Smile at a stranger
- Hold a door open
- Ask someone if they need help carrying their grocery bag, let the person with less in their cart and seems to be in a hurry go ahead of you.
- My Fav – if you’ve paid for parking and haven’t used all your time, ask the 1st person you see parking if they would like it or if there is no one there I put it pack in the meter and hope someone will see it before they pay.
- Talk about happiness with your family, with your friends, with your co-workers and employees/employers, talk about it in your communities, politically, post more ideas on your Facebook or twitter page.
- Talk about it.
- Plant dreams, imagination, creation, transformation and love into every moment of your existence and that of those around you.
- Transform the daily stuff that “sucks” into something that matters.
We all have the capacity to do this. It is the significance of being human, to not allow ourselves this is to be reckless with our potential. It’s our obligation to engage in ourselves and in each other and the world.
Happy 1st International Day of Happiness! May all your days be happy.