International Day of Happiness Is For Smiles, Laughter and Acts of Love

Photo Courtesy of JKS Talent

Photo Courtesy of JKS Talent

Photo Courtesy of JKS Talent

Abby Schindel, Feature Editor

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What is happiness? Does it have an exact definition or is it just an emotion that overcomes you? Most people only know what happiness is by a feeling: the butterflies in your stomach or your heart skipping a beat. Everyone has their own take on what happiness means to them.
Kiera Better, ’19, stated that “happiness means that the sun has risen, and the night is over for now.”
Meanwhile for Anna Hoffman, ’18, “happiness means a period of feeling good about life. It doesn’t mean you have nothing to stress about or have no worry, but it means you’re more than content with your current situation.”
Happiness means different things to different people. No one has the same definition of happiness, but happiness still brings people together.
Even though there isn’t just one definition of happiness, it can still be celebrated around the world. March 20th is International Day of Happiness, a newer movement created by United Nations member Jayme Illien, who wants happiness to be a basic human right.
According to, the idea of an international day focused on happiness came from Bhutan, whose citizens are considered the happiest in the world. also stresses the single aim of the day is to create a happier world. It calls upon countries to take initiative to help raise happiness while also helping people recognize that happiness is a fundamental goal in life.
For the last four years, the United Nations releases the ranking of 155 countries based on their happiness levels. The UN uses six categories, including GDP per capita, social support, health life expectancy, freedom to make choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption, to judge each country, according the TheDailyMeal. For the first three years of this ranking, Denmark held the number one spot but, beginning this year, Norway took the lead in #1, sending Denmark to #2.
International Day of Happiness is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement that is committed to creating a happier and more caring society.
According to their website, “[They] bring together like-minded people from all walks of life and help them take practical action.”
Anyone can join the movement by simply following the link on Action for Happiness’ website.
In following the link, one makes a pledge “[to] try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me.”
After the initial pledge, the group provides over fifty different actions you can do every day or whenever you need a little happiness.
Along with the pledges to increase the world’s happiness on a daily basis, Action for Happiness creates a new theme each year for International Day of Happiness.
The first celebration began in 2013, where people around the world celebrated hundreds of “Happy Heros,” or people who bring lots of happiness to a community.
The following year, people “Reclaimed Happiness” by sharing what made them truly happy and what that looked like on social media. 2015 focused on relationships and the creation of new ones, and 2016 coined the #happydays hashtag.
Last year, Action for Happiness created a video featuring the iconic smurfs with the idea of “small smurfs big goals,” creating the feeling that every type of action, big or small, can make a difference. While 2018 has yet to have a theme or message, it is expected to be announced within the days before March 20th.
International Day of Happiness is celebrated in nations across the world. USA Today, in 2013, observed that “there were celebrations all over the world: meditation in Bhutan, happy flash mobs in London, laughter yoga in Hong Kong and screenings of the film Happy in coffee shops all over the world.”
As the holiday increases in popularity, more and more forms of celebration are founded. USA Today has seen different celebrations in Washington D.C., where they give out free hugs at Dupont Circle Foundation. London hosts Karma’s kitchen where you don’t pay for your meal but the person in front of you does and so on. Melbourne, Australia has different interactive seminars where you can test various techniques of well being. Additionally, there are Happiness Walls throughout the world, where people show what makes them happy, either with written descriptions, pictures or drawings.
There are so many ways to get involved with this newly popular celebration of happiness.
Whether it is service, personal well-being, or just plain fun, there are many different ways to feel the joy in the world. No matter how you view happiness, there are many opportunities to make life better for yourself or others. Why not have your perfect feeling of happiness?

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