International Day of Happiness celebrated March 20

The International Day of Happiness is celebrated throughout the world on 20 March.

It was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June 2012.

Assembly Resolution A/RES/66/281 states in pertinent part:

Balloons of Happiness

Balloons_of_HappinessThe General Assembly, conscious that the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is a fundamental human goal, recognizing also 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, decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness, invites all Member States.

Organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations; as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.

 

Celebrations

  • Happiness 1st Institute vows to celebrate International Happiness Day by providing free seminars with tips and tools to increase happiness and awareness of the benefits of happiness each year. Happiness 1st Institute and the International Society of Happiness Professionals challenge other happiness professionals to provide free happiness increasing and awareness information on International Happiness Day in the spirit of greater happiness for all the worlds people.
  • Happy Newcomer Inc. in association with The Bolivian Center for Research in Positive Psychology have organized a campaign for the International Day of happiness by developing a web portal where people can share events and activities planned for this day.
  • Happiness International is encouraging people to make a Happiness Day Resolution by choosing one action supporting their happiness to continue developing over the coming year. To help people select the best action to match their needs for happiness, they are offering free access to their science-based online Happiness Planner™.
  • Day of Happiness has organized their ACT campaign asking people to do three things on the International Day of Happiness: Accept the pledge, Cheer happy heroes, and Take part on the day.

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources. Various research groups, including positive psychology, endeavor to apply the scientific method to answer questions about what “happiness” is, and how it might be attained.

Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. Happiness in this sense was used to translate the Greek Eudaimonia, and is still used in virtue ethics. Happiness economics suggests that measures of public happiness should be used to supplement more traditional economic measures when evaluating the success of public policy.

Happiness is a fuzzy concept and can mean many things to many people. Part of the challenge of a science of happiness is to identify different concepts of happiness, and where applicable, split them into their components.

happiness wiki200px-800px-Jeff_in_thailand4In the 2nd Edition of the Handbook of Emotions (2000), evolutionary psychologists Leda Cosmides and John Tooby say that happiness comes from “encountering unexpected positive events”. In the 3rd Edition of the Handbook of Emotions (2008), Michael Lewis says “happiness can be elicited by seeing a significant other”.

According to Mark Leary, as reported in a November 1995 issue of Psychology Today, “we are happiest when basking in the acceptance and praise of others”.

In a March 2009 edition of The Journal of Positive Psychology, Sara Algoe and Jonathan Haidt say that “happiness” may be the label for a family of related emotional states, such as joy, amusement, satisfaction, gratification, euphoria, and triumph.

According to a review in Boston.com on August 23, 2009, money doesn’t buy much happiness unless it’s used in certain ways. “Beyond the point at which people have enough to comfortably feed, clothe, and house themselves, having more money – even a lot more money – makes them only a little bit happier.” However we can sometimes get more happiness bang for our buck by spending it in prosocial ways.

A Harvard Business School study found that “spending money on others actually makes us happier than spending it on ourselves”.

Buddhism
Happiness forms a central theme of Buddhist teachings. For ultimate freedom from suffering, the Noble Eight-fold Path leads its practitioner to Nirvana, a state of everlasting peace.

Ultimate happiness is only achieved by overcoming craving in all forms. More mundane forms of happiness, such as acquiring wealth and maintaining good friendships, are also recognized as worthy goals for lay people (see sukha). Buddhism also encourages the generation of loving kindness and compassion, the desire for the happiness and welfare of all beings.

Catholicism
The primary meaning of “happiness” in various European languages involves good fortune, chance or happening. The meaning in Greek philosophy, however, refers primarily to ethics. In Catholicism, the ultimate end of human existence consists in felicity, Latin equivalent to the Greek eudaimonia, or “blessed happiness“, described by the 13th-century philosopher-theologian Thomas Aquinas as a Beatific Vision of God’s essence in the next life.

Human complexities, like reason and cognition, can produce well-being or happiness, but such form is limited and transitory. In temporal life, the contemplation of God, the infinitely Beautiful, is the supreme delight of the will. Beatitudo, or perfect happiness, as complete well-being, is to be attained not in this life, but the next.

There are various factors that have been correlated with happiness,  but no validated method has been found to substantially improve long-term happiness in a meaningful way for most people.

Psychologist Martin Seligman provides the acronym PERMA to summarize Positive Psychology’s correlational findings:

  • humans seem happiest when they have
  • Pleasure (tasty foods, warm baths, etc.),
  • Engagement (or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity),
  • Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness),
  • Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger), and
  • Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals).

maslowThere have also been some studies of how religion relates to happiness.

Causal relationships remain unclear, but more religion is seen in happier people. This correlation may be the result of community membership and not necessarily belief in religion itself.

Another component may have to do with ritual, according to a 2009 article in Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience.

Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908–June 8, 1970), an American professor of psychology, founded humanistic psychology.

A visual aid he created to explain his theory, which he called the hierarchy of needs, is a pyramid depicting the levels of human needs, psychological, and physical.

happiness9-aristotleWhen a human being ascends the steps of the pyramid, he reaches self-actualization.

Beyond the routine of needs fulfillment, Maslow envisioned moments of extraordinary experience, known as peak experiences, profound moments of love, understanding, happiness, or rapture, during which a person feels more whole, alive, self-sufficient, and yet a part of the world.
 

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