Smile! It's The International Day Of Happiness And First Day Of Spring!
We are often so busy focusing on what we lack in our lives, that we forget to be happy about all the things we have - like good health and loving friends and family. Today is a great day to change that mindset. That's because it is not just the first day of spring (at least for those that live in the northern hemisphere) but also the International Day of Happiness.
This all-important tradition was started by the United Nations (UN) in 2013 to remind us that "the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal." The ironic part is that the idea of establishing this "holiday" came from the tiny South Asian country of Bhutan. With a per capita annual income of $2,420 USD, it is by no means a wealthy nation.
But that does not seem to bother the residents that consistently rank amongst the happiest in the world. In fact, it was the people of Bhutan that came up with the idea of the Gross National Happiness Index. Established in 1970's it is the only global index that takes into account not just material wealth but also spiritual well-being when evaluating a country's prosperity.
So how would one celebrate this all-important holiday? According to the UN, it should be in "an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities."
To get people started the intergovernmental organization asked some of the world's top musicians like Ed Sheeran, James Blunt, David Guetta and John Legend to create a playlist of happy and uplifting songs. Fans were also asked to submit their favorites. Among the six songs that made the "World's happiest playlist" are James Brown's 1964 classic "I Got You (I Feel Good)", "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley and the Wailers' and John Legend's "Made to Love." In addition to humming these upbeat songs you can also engage in one or more of the following fun activities.
Take the "Happy Acts" challenge
The global initiative is the brainchild of Live Happy magazine. It encourages people to perform a random good deed and post it on the magazine's social media sites or tweet about it at #HappyActs. For every good deed committed the magazine will donate one dollar to non-profit organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters. So go ahead and make someone's day by helping them out or giving them a hug.
Join the global "Happy Party"
Singer/songwriter Pharrell Williams and the United Nations Foundation have invited to world to join them in a "Happy Party" to spread happiness and demand climate action.
In order to do so, people have to submit four pictures. These are animated into a dancing GIF and posted on the Happy Party website. They are, of course, all moving to the beat of Pharrell Williams' "Happy!"
Sometimes all it takes to make one happy is a little indulgence. So go ahead and grab a cup of cocoa or your favorite tub of ice cream and snuggle up with a blanket and good book!
Start a Conversation
With the influx of gadgets, we often spend our days buried behind computers or smartphones. Try set them aside for one evening and spend time talking to your parents and siblings. We guarantee it will make you happier than reading what Taylor Swift is saying about Olivia on Tumblr!
Pursue your dreams
Most of us have dreams that we never pursue because of the fear of failing. Remember FAIL simply stands for "First Attempt In Learning". So go ahead and take that first step - you never know where it will lead to!
Finally, don't forget to love yourself for who you are and be happy every single day! International Day of Happiness is just to remind you that there is joy all around - you just have to seek it out and grab it!
Resources: guardian.com,nestle.com, wikipedia.org
Reading Comprehension (3 questions)
- What is International Day of Happiness? When was it first celebrated? Who started the tradition?
- What were some of the world's musicians asked to do? What is Pharrell Williams asking people to do?
Critical Thinking Challenge
What makes you happy? What makes you sad?