Who couldn’t do with a little more happiness? Even if you have a great life and plenty of amazing people to share it with, it’s all too easy to lose sight of what’s important in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of modern living.
And that’s where the International Day of Happiness comes in! The aim of the day, which falls on Monday the 20th of March this year, is to create a happier and kinder world together by adopting a simple daily practice to be mindful, grateful, and kind.
The International Day of Happiness is a global celebration coordinated by Action for Happiness. This non-profit movement of people from 160 countries is dedicated to creating a happier, kinder world. And, thanks to the support of like-minded partners, Action for Happiness is able to spread the word while spreading happiness where it’s most needed.
The United Nations proclaimed the 20th of March to be the International Day of Happiness in July 2012, making this year’s celebration the 10th of its kind. The day came about in recognition of “the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals” and coincided with a shift in attitude throughout the world as people began to realise that “progress” should mean increasing human happiness and well-being rather than focusing solely on growing the economy. Since then, all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be more of a priority.
Happiness seems like such a simple concept. But for many people, true happiness is fleeting and fragile at best and ever-elusive at worst.
30% of the UK population suffers from at least one mental health condition, with depression and anxiety disorders the most common among these. And in any given week, around 8 in 100 people experience symptoms of depression and mixed anxiety.
Depression doesn’t always manifest with sadness, of course. It is possible to be depressed or anxious and feel happy, whether that’s in general or from time to time. But for many people, depression and its many symptoms can cause a disconnect from genuine happiness.
This can mean moments that should be happy become tinged with foreboding. Or, as is the case with people who have what’s called smiling depression, feeling forced to look and act happy despite how they feel inside.
This recognition of never knowing what private, internal battles those around us are dealing with is at the heart of campaigns such as Time to Talk Day and the International Day of Happiness. Just as mental health issues can affect our outlook, anything from invisible physical health problems to a recent bereavement or a life-changing event can mean that happiness is hard to come by. When people around us show us kindness and compassion, though, it can make all the difference.
This is why the International Day of Happiness promotes happiness as more of a group objective than an individual pursuit. And it’s also why the 20th of March is a great opportunity for you to spread some happiness in your workplace!
For those of you who’d like to celebrate the International Day of Happiness in your workplace, you can start by downloading these posters on Ten Keys to Happier Living to get everyone motivated before the main event. My personal favourite has to be this Great Dream poster though. It highlights some of the many actionable ways to live happier, more meaningful lives in a simple yet effective way.
Even if your employees are mainly remote, the free Action for Happiness app is a great tool for connecting, sharing, and inspiring you all to be happier and kinder together. Likewise, brands with an active social media following can use the hashtag, #InternationalDayOfHappiness to connect with and inspire their fans.
A quick and effective option for you and your employees to try is the three-step method on the homepage of the International Day of Happiness website. It encourages you to be mindful, be grateful, and be kind, as a way to give yourselves a boost and build your compassion for others.
Or if you’re looking for more in-depth resources, the Action for Happiness website has a huge range of videos for your team to watch at their own pace. Another option is to choose one or two videos to watch as a group and discuss. This video entitled, Work Happier could be a great place to start since it deals with ways to create happier workplaces for those around you.
I realise that dedicating a chunk of time to the International Day of Happiness isn’t going to be possible for all workplaces — especially since it falls on a Monday! But I do urge all of you to at least spread the word among your employees. The true value of any company lies in its people so it’s important to nurture their happiness as a way of creating a culture of unity, support, and kindness.
Happiness is a shared human goal that should be within reach for everyone. But it’s also a lot easier to achieve if we make an effort to be kinder to each other.
Whether you decide to take five minutes to be mindful or make a real effort to spread happiness in your life, there’s a lot to learn from the International Day of Happiness and its objectives.
Looking for tips on creating a supportive and nurturing working environment? Check out our blog for all kinds of inspiring ideas or get in touch with us here at The HR Hub to find out how we can help you make your workplace happier via firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0203 6277048.