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.