International Day of Happiness

That elusive state of mind we are all searching for, happiness has multiple meanings and each meaning is different for each of us. Celebrated all over the year each year on 20 March, the International Day of Happiness was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June 2012 and aims to make people around the world realize the importance of happiness in their lives.

Before the establishment of the International Day of Happiness, the President of the World Happiness Foundation, Jayme Illien, along with Luis Gallardo founded Happytalism. Illien ran a campaign at the United Nations from 2006 to 2012 to encourage and advance the primacy of happiness, well-being, and democracy. In 2011, Jayme Illien proposed the idea of the International Day of Happiness at the United Nations General Assembly to promote happiness economics around the world by improving the economic development of all countries. The idea was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 July 2011 at the initiative of then-Prime Minister Jigme Thinley of Bhutan, a country that has famously pursued the target of Gross National Happiness since the 1970s.

The International Day of Happiness was officially established in 2012 and first commemorated in 2013. Building on the concept of Jayme Illien, the United Nations has taken a step forward with World Happiness Day to inform people about the importance of happiness in people’s lives and the need to incorporate happiness into public policies. On World Happiness Day, the United Nations General Assembly calls for people to make more continuous progress and the small things that continue to make their lives better.

The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal and happiness plays an important role in addressing the many challenges the world faces, both complex and interrelated. The world needs a new economic paradigm that recognises the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic, and environmental well-being are indivisible and together they define gross global happiness. Happiness should not be a luxury for a few with the pursuit of happiness being universal and fundamental.

In the steps to Global Happiness, we learn that happiness is a fundamental human right and goal for all, happiness is a universal aspiration in the lives of all with happiness being a way of living, being, and serving communities and society. Happiness is a north star for individuals, communities, governments, and society and the path to happiness leads toward achieving sustainable development goals. Happiness is a new paradigm for human development and the worldwide celebration of the international day of happiness is democratic, diverse, organic, and inclusive.

The World Happiness Report is published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a global initiative of the United Nations. This report ranks the different countries on national happiness, based on respondent ratings of the lives of their citizens, the report also correlates with various quality of life factors and the report primarily uses data from the Gallup World Poll.

On this International Happiness Day, while you’re enjoying the things that bring you happiness, please think about sharing your happiness with others. Be grateful, share your blessings and give back as much as you can and share happiness.

2023 Week 11 Update

We’re back in Singapore from India and this time, my parents came back with us. My father, who is a patient with Parkinson’s Syndrome is still tired and getting used to being in Singapore. He had a harder time travelling and other than the move from Mumbai to Bengaluru, he hasn’t travelled since 2019. But, the time now is to enjoy the months we have together in Singapore before they return home.

Today’s quote is attributed to the man known as the Father of the Nation in India, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi asks us to spare a look at sparrows who live in the moment and asks us to do the same. By living in a single moment, we don’t worry about tomorrow and the future, instead, we focus on the now and live that moment to the fullest.

GG just received her results, and though they were not what she expected, she is relieved that she has now finished her polytechnic journey. She also graduated with a minor in Basic Japanese language and this is something she plans to do more of later. She has been applying to universities and has already done one round of interviews and has another one due this week. Please send her positive energies from wherever you read this, and whichever higher faith you believe in, so she can get admission into her course of choice and hopefully, to the university of her choice.

BB is awaiting his enlistment letter and once that comes in, we will have some clarity on when his national service stint will begin and we can start planning for his university applications.

We’re still not back to full speed with life as usual but hope that this week life will go back to some semblance of normal. And on that note, take care, stay safe and talk soon!

In My Hands Today…

The Peacemakers: India and the Quest for One World – Manu Bhagavan

The Peacemakers is the gripping story of India’s quest to create a common destiny for all people across the world based on the concept of ‘human rights’. In the years leading up to its independence from Great Britain, and more than a decade after, in a world torn asunder by unchecked colonial expansions and two world wars, Jawarharlal Nehru had a radical vision: bridging the ideological differences of the East and West, healing the growing rift between capitalist and communist, and creating ‘One World’ that would be free of empire, exploitation and war.

Madame Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Nehru’s sister, would lead the fight in and through the United Nations to turn all this into a reality. An electric orator and outstanding diplomat, she travelled across continents speaking in the voice of the oppressed and garnering support for her cause. The aim was to lay the foundation for global governance that would check uncontrolled state power, address the question of minorities and migrant peoples, and put an end to endemic poverty. Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy would go global. All that stood between the Indians and success was their own fallibility, diplomatic intrigue, and the blinding haze of mistrust and overwhelming fear engendered by the Cold War.

As Manu Bhagavan recounts the story of this quest, iconic figures are seen through new eyes as they challenge all of us to imagine a better future. Based on seven years of research, across three continents, and written in a crisp and riveting style, this is the first truly international history of newly independent India.

World Oral Health Day

Organised annually on 20 March, World Oral Health Day is observed to raise global awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of oral hygiene so that governments, health associations and the general public can work together to achieve healthier mouths and happier lives. World Oral Health Day aims to recognise the importance of good oral health and unite to reduce the burden of oral diseases which affect individuals, health systems, and economies everywhere. It also aims to empower people with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to secure good oral health

Oral diseases are a major health concern for many countries and negatively impact people throughout their lives. 90% of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases in their lifetime, many avoidable. Oral diseases lead to pain and discomfort, social isolation, and loss of self-confidence, and they are often linked to other serious health issues. And yet, there is no reason to suffer – most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be treated in their early stages. 

Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping one’s mouth clean and free of disease and other problems by regular brushing of the teeth and cleaning between the teeth. Oral hygiene must be carried out regularly to enable the prevention of dental disease and bad breath. The most common types of dental disease are tooth decay which includes cavities, and dental caries and gum diseases, including gingivitis, and periodontitis. General guidelines for adults suggest brushing at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and brushing last thing at night and at least on one other occasion. Cleaning between the teeth is called interdental cleaning and is as important as tooth brushing. This is because a toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth and therefore only removes about 50% of plaque from the surface of the teeth. There are many tools to clean between the teeth, including floss, tape and interdental brushes; it is up to each individual to choose which tool they prefer to use. Sometimes white or straight teeth are associated with oral hygiene. However, a hygienic mouth can have stained teeth or crooked teeth. To improve the appearance of their teeth, people may use tooth whitening treatments and orthodontics.

More than 130 countries take part in World Oral Health Day which is organised by the FDI World Dental Federation. World Oral Health Day was launched on 20 March 2013 by the FDI World Dental Federation which also marks the launch of a year-long campaign to raise awareness of oral health and the prevention of oral diseases. Since 2013 these campaigns have featured a specific theme. Since 2014 and in collaboration with its daughter organisation, the International Association of Dental Students or IADS, FDI organises an annual worldwide competition for best awareness and prophylactic activities held by dental student organizations in celebration of World Oral Health Day.

The campaign theme for the years 2021 to 2023 is Be Proud of Your Mouth. This theme that spans three years sends out a simple but powerful message to value and take care of our mouths. This year, the campaign wants to inspire change by focusing on the importance of oral health at every stage of life, because no matter what age one is, caring for the mouth and looking after oral health is important.

So take care of your oral health,  because establishing good oral hygiene and dietary habits have proven to be essential to achieving and maintaining, overall physical and emotional well-being throughout life.

In My Hands Today…

Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff: Declutter, Downsize, and Move Forward with Your Life – Matt Paxton

Your boxes of photos, family’s china, and even the kids’ height charts aren’t just stuff; they’re attached to a lifetime of memories–and letting them go can be scary. With empathy, expertise, and humor, Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff, written in collaboration with AARP, helps you sift through years of clutter, let go of what no longer serves you, and identify the items worth keeping so that you can focus on living in the present.

For over 20 years, Matt Paxton has helped people from all walks of life who want to live more simply declutter and downsize. As a featured cleaner on Hoarders and host of the Emmy-nominated Legacy List with Matt Paxton on PBS, he has identified the psychological roadblocks that most organizational experts routinely miss but that prevent so many of us from lightening our material load. Using poignant stories from the thousands of individuals and families he has worked with, Paxton brings his signature insight to a necessary task.

Whether you’re tired of living with clutter, making space for a loved one, or moving to a smaller home or retirement community, this book is for you. Paxton’s unique, step-by-step process gives you the tools you need to get the job done.