Written By Cristina Gonçalves

International Happiness Day celebrates joy and unity. It was created to bring everyone together and focus on everything that is good rather than on the things that divide us.

The UN General Assembly declared that happiness is a “fundamental human goal” in 2011. It promotes a more inclusive, diverse and balanced world, in which it is possible for everyone to live happily and ensure the wellbeing of the people.

All 193 countries that form part of the UN agreed on making happiness one of their priorities. Hence, in 2012, the first UN Conference on Happiness took place, where the 20th of March of each year was declared as the International Day of Happiness. The first celebration of this new festivity was in 2013.

The International Day of Happiness has a general goal to promote inclusion and diversity, cooperation, and helping people find their way to happiness, but also to make the planet a better place for future generations. 

Previous years were focused on specific areas. In 2014 for example, there was an initiative created for people to share images of what makes them happy, to try and make other people happy as well. Whilst in 2015 it was about relationships that affect our daily lives and how to achieve a good life.

Every year, 117 countries are rated and ranked by the UN in order to find what country is the happiest. They get measured by the happiness of the immigrants, as most of them go through difficulties that could affect their happiness and wellbeing. The report is based on social, economic and environmental wellbeing goals set for countries to achieve them. This is in line with the fact that the UN now considers happiness as a basic human right.

It was only in recent years that psychologists acknowledged the importance of positive emotions. This because Psychology largely focuses on times things go awry in the brain, rather than when they are perfectly functional. This changed with Positive Psychology becoming an acknowledged field in Psychology. Positive Psychologists have concluded that strong relationships, getting involved in pleasant activities and having goals and priorities are key to achieve happiness. It is also suggested that Altruism is a key to happiness. This involves helping others, voluntary work and cooperation with other people. 

A positive mindset will take you anywhere. This day was created to celebrate all the good things life has to offer each one of us and to try and make the life of someone who is struggling better. But remember, to help other people, you must be good to yourself first.

Every day, do something that makes you happy. Whether that’s working out, painting, reading, or whatever else fulfils your mind and soul. Dedicate a few minutes of your day to make yourself feel better. The world can sometimes feel hateful and suffocating, but there are always good things that can make us feel loved and safe. Focus on those good things, and try and have a positive mindset.

If you are going through a rough time, remember that everything gets better and everything passes. Keep in mind that there are people around you that love you, support you and care for you. Reach out to them. Good company can keep malicious thoughts away.

On this 20th of March, make yourself and your happiness your priority, to then share it and help others find their own!