inspiration & spirituality

What does Today’s International Day of Happiness Stand for?

article pic for international day of happiness - woman with rainbow umbrella -

Today is the day to be happy!

What exactly is the International Day of Happiness? Why does the UN have an official resolution and can it help to improve your levels of well-being?

It is an annual event organised by the United Nations to promote the idea that feeling happy is a global human right. supports and organises the day, with support from other groups. Many of the world’s leading religions and philosophies promote positive emotions as vital for the well-being of mankind. However, the idea of having a dedicated day of observance for the concept is relatively new.

A brief history of the International Day of Happiness

portrait of Ban Ki-moon international day of happinessThe first International Day of Happiness was on March 20, 2013, following several years of campaigning by Jayme Illien, a United Nations adviser. An American family adopted Jayme Illien. After growing up in one of Mother Theresa’s Kolkata orphanages. He was keen to end global inequality. All member states of the UN are encouraged to participate in the event. To raise awareness of the importance of positive emotion for humanity and to help others to find ways to create happiness.

The last three international events had attendees including world leaders and celebrities. Pharrell Williams, the singer-songwriter, has been heavily involved with the event as a spokesman and the composer of the worldwide hit ‘Happy.’ In fact, an innovative part of the 2013 celebrations was the first ever 24-hour global live streaming video of this very song. Other celebrities who have attended and supported the event include Chelsea Clinton, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela.

During previous celebrations, numerous free events have taken place across the world, such as dances, community drop-in events and conferences. Community workshops, walks and social media are all tried-and-true ways of spreading the message about how everyone deserves to feel happy.

Some years have focused on particular areas essential for well-being. For example, 2015 concentrated on the importance of relationships. While in 2014, people shared images of what made them feel happy. The event aims to reduce global inequality, end poverty and protect the planet for future generations. Many projects coincide with the main day itself. The organisers for 2017 have taken submissions for related free events across the world for today.

Key projects about the effects of contentment and how science backs them

The first history of happiness studies began over 2500 years ago when great philosophers such as Confucius, Socrates, Aristotle and Buddha, and many others devoted their lives to the pursuit of this topic, influencing the lives of countless millions to the present day. Today, positive psychology or the science of happiness is the study of what exactly make happy people happy. There has recently been an explosion of interest in this field. The free course ‘The Science of Happiness‘ being one of the most popular courses since its inception in 2014. Students report that the information and materials provided were very useful for improving wellness levels.

The key to human wellness is strong social ties and a sense of purpose.

The benefits of happiness

Although the history of happiness studies is not a new concept, it is only in recent years that psychologists have begun to understand the importance and far-reaching implications of positive emotions. Scientists conclude that the key to human wellness is strong social ties and a sense of purpose. In other words, involvement in things that are for the ‘greater good’ of humanity.

Others believe that having a positive mindset is responsible for as much as 90 percent of our feelings of well-being. These might include a fulfilling career where helping others is paramount, voluntary work to improve the community or participation in a religion that promotes communal activities such as regular group worship. The science of happiness continues to be, perhaps, the most valuable area of studies. Concentrating as it does on the question of how to create happiness.

People who are happy tend to live longer and have fewer health problems. Happier people are less likely to have high blood pressure and heart issues. One thing remains clear – we still have a lot to learn about this area of study and the myriad benefits of a life well-lived.


Photo of Ban Ki-moon by Chatham House und CC BY 2.0


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