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Need a reason to smile? Then you will be happy to know that today, March 20, 2019, is not just the first day of spring, but also the International Day of Happiness. Established by The United Nations (UN) in 2012, it is meant to remind us that happiness is an essential human goal and right. This year's theme, Happier Together, encourages people worldwide to focus on what we have in common, rather than what divides us.
The idea to create this all-important holiday was suggested by the tiny South Asian country of Bhutan. While the country's residents have an average annual income of just $2,420, they consistently rank as among the happiest in the world. Bhutan is the only country in the world to use Gross National Happiness – which takes into account both material wealth and spiritual well-being – over Gross National Income – the total domestic and foreign output claimed by residents of a country – when evaluating its prosperity.
According to the UN, the day should be marked "in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities." Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
Create a happiness wall
Ask your family, friends, or school mates to jot down one thing that makes them happy on a colorful sticky and create a wall of happiness. Just reminding yourself of all the good things happening around you will keep you smiling for the day, and hopefully all year.
Take the "Happy Acts" challenge
Though the International Day of Happiness is celebrated only on March 20, the folks at Live Happy magazine have been encouraging people to observe the holiday all month, with a daily challenge. These include hosting a happiness dinner for friends and family, picking up 10 pieces of trash from the road, planting a tree, and singing a happy song. Try one, or all – we guarantee it will make you smile.
Sometimes all it takes to be happy is a little indulgence. So go ahead and grab a cup of hot cocoa or a tub of your favorite ice cream and cherish the treats, while watching your favorite television show or reading a good book.
Start a Conversation
We often spend our days buried behind computers or smartphones. Try to set them aside for one evening and spend time talking to your parents and siblings. It will bring you more satisfaction than looking at celebrity Instagrams and Snapchats.
Step out of your comfort zone
Most of us have dreams that we never pursue due to 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!
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 learn to recognize and grab it!
Resources: guardian.com,nestle.com, wikipedia.org