Come On, Get Happy: 5 Blissful Ways to Mark the International Day of Happiness on March 20
What does it take to be happy?
Well, this can be a great conversation point, and we have the whole month of March to have this discussion. In fact, March 20th is the United Nations International Day of Happiness, a global celebration launched by Action for Happiness, which is a non-profit group of people spanning from 160 countries.
The road to having an International Day of Happiness was rather a long one. It started back in 2011 when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which established happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples.”
In 2012, the first-ever UN conference on Happiness happened and the UN General Assembly decreed that the International Day of Happiness is to be observed annually on the 20th of March. In 2013, the day was celebrated for the first time ever.
We’ve been weighed down for the past two years due to the pandemic, and it could be straining to focus on happiness when we all have questions about our health and everyone else’s. The UN recognizes this and thus this year the theme is “Build Back Happier.”
So how exactly can you build back happier amidst COVID? Here are great tips to start with:
- Reach out to family and friends.
Having a quick chat with your loved ones about how your day is going can make a difference between a good and bad day. So make it a habit when you get free time between your studies and your work to check in with your family and friends whom you don’t regularly get to talk to or meet up with. It’s always great to catch up with each other, and you have the reassurance that someone’s always there ready to give you a big hug.
- Practice gratitude in your daily life.
Most people think that you need to be happy to be grateful, but it’s the other way around. Being grateful leads to happiness. It can be a wonderful gesture of writing thank you notes to those in your life who’ve been there with you through the hard times of COVID or something simple like letting them know how thankful you are you have them in your life. Incorporating the practice of gratitude in your life helps too. Always say thank you to the Uber driver who delivers your food or the transit driver who lets you off at your designated stop.
- Volunteer your time for a cause you believe in.
Reaching out to an organization which promotes a cause you have strong belief in can help you build happiness back. It can be a food bank or a pet shelter. When you put others’ needs ahead of your own, you’ll feel a sense of happiness that can’t easily be replicated by material things like a new purse or a concert ticket to a favourite music artist. Your time is valuable and when you choose to spend it to help others, it’s your way of saying you value them and they’ll be grateful for the gesture.
- Take care of yourself.
You can’t be happy on the outside if you’re feeling rotten on the inside, and this can be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Binging on shows and movies way into mid-morning, filling yourself with nothing but junk food, and staying seated on the couch even when it’s a good day to take a walk outside are negative habits that won’t do any favours for you. Allotting a screentime schedule and sticking to it, opting for healthy snacks, and going for a walk are great ways to kick off a healthy lifestyle, and before you know it, you’ll start feeling good inside.
- Don’t forget about the little things.
You don’t need to be booking a vacation to Ibiza or getting a purse ahead of its market release to feel happy. Sometimes, looking into the little things that we already have can bring that much-needed burst of happiness. It can be something as simple as drinking a cup of coffee prepared by a friend, or the bar of chocolate you forgot you stashed in your backpack for a much-needed sugar fill. Stopping to smell the roses is a cliché for a reason. Sometimes you really do need to take a step back and look around you to get an idea of what you truly have and you’ll feel happy.
Thinking about being happy during these times of lockdowns and restrictions can be emotionally draining, but it’s actually possible if you allow yourself to make the effort. Now which of the tips above would you start with to build your happiness back?
Borad, Shubh. “Five New Things That Make Me Happy During COVID.” Western University. https://www.uwo.ca/se/thrive/blog/2021/five_new_things_that_make_me_happy_during_covid.html
Brower, Tracy. “Gratitude Is A Key To Happiness: 4 Reasons Why.” Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tracybrower/2021/04/25/gratitude-is-a-key-to-happiness-4-reasons-why/?sh=3d9755f0347c
Happiness.com. “When is the International Day of Happiness?” https://www.happiness.com/magazine/inspiration-spirituality/international-day-of-happiness/
Law, Tara. “5 Ways to Feel Happier During the Pandemic, According to Science.” Time. https://time.com/6130871/happiness-wellbeing-pandemic/
United Nations. “International Day of Happiness: 20 March.” https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/international-days/international-day-of-happiness.html