It’s safe to say that striving to spread happiness — or striving to make our own days positive ones — should be a constant goal. But there is a designated 24 hours to spread joy and promote action to be kind, caring and, well, glad! It's on Tuesday, March 20, and it dons the appropriate name: International Day of Happiness.
What is International Day of Happiness?
The idea behind International Day of Happiness was established at the first United Nations conference on happiness in 2012. It was at this conference that they adopted a resolution proclaiming March 20 International Day of Happiness to "recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world," the U.N. website states.
The resolution declaring March 20 International Day of Happiness explains that "the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal" and recognizes the need for "a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples."
The very first International Day of Happiness was celebrated the following year in 2013, and the holiday is coordinated by the Action For Happiness movement.
What is the World Happiness Report?
Each year, to coincide with International Day of Happiness, the World Happiness Report is released to tell us how each country ranks against the other. The U.S., for instance, ranked 14th on last year’s report, dropping one place from 2016.
The World Happiness Report for 2018, published on March 14 and co-edited by Action For Happiness founder Professor Richard Layard, showed that the U.S. dropped down four more places to 18th.
What is the theme of International Day of Happiness 2018?
Since 2013, each annual International Day of Happiness is granted a campaign theme. The first official celebration in 2013 was dedicated to praising "Happy Heroes" in communities around the world.
This year, the theme for International Day of Happiness is "Share Happiness," which focuses on "the importance of relationships, kindness and helping each other."
"Research shows that our relationships with others — at home, work and in our communities — are vital for our overall wellbeing and actually matter much more than factors such as income and even physical health," Mark Williamson, the director of Action For Happiness, told Metro.
How to participate in International Day of Happiness 2018
You can find all the resources to take part in International Day of Happiness on the campaign website.
By joining the movement on the International Day of Happiness website, you'll also receive a Happiness Guidebook (sounds fun!).
Williamson urges people to share online what makes them happy with the hashtag #InternationalDayofHappiness.
"Happiness really matters. Not in a glib, smiley-happy or materialistic sense. But because ultimately, as human beings, we all want to feel good, and we want happiness for the people we love and care about too," he stated. "International Day of Happiness is important because it signifies that happiness is something universal. We all want a sense of wellbeing and purpose — whether in sub-Saharan African, where the priority might be food and medicine, or in a busy New York office, where the challenges are more likely to be relationships and stress."
Williamson added, "As Aristotle once said, 'Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life.'"