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By TEDRA TADO MA, LPC – MCHH Oak Brook, Telehealth

International Day of Happiness is meant to foster joy and well-being within us.  Did you know this day was chosen to coincide with the March Equinox that occurs on March 20th every year? (Kiprop, 2018).  In 2012, at the first UN conference on Happiness, the United Nations designated March 20th as the International Day of Happiness.  It serves as a reminder of the importance of prioritizing happiness in our lives.  After all, happiness is one of the most basic human aspirations, but it can often feel far out of reach.  Emotions like anger, frustration, and sadness are increasingly becoming a default way of being for many of us.  Here is a day dedicated to cheerfulness and appreciation for the good things and silver linings in life!  By cultivating positive habits and practices, such as gratitude, kindness, and self-care, we can improve our happiness and contribute to a more joyful world.

Being internally happy is key to being satisfied with your surroundings, so challenge yourself!  Be open to new people and experiences.  Cherish the little things, and be grateful for everything in that moment.  Be present, and try to remember that life passes by so fast.  Whatever makes you happy, that’s what you should do, today and everyday! 

I firmly believe that if everyone in this world practiced a little more kindness and felt a bit more happiness in their day to day lives, the world would be a much more productive and peaceful place.  Being happy is a human right that is worth celebrating, so if you’re not already happy on this day, these recommended celebrations may just change that!  

Here are 15 intentional ideas to help you celebrate International Day of Happiness:

  1. Smile at a stranger and greet them hello genuinely.
  2. Spend time with people who lift you up, rather than people who drain you.
  3. Take a walk through nature and use your five senses to connect with the world around you: sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste.
  4. Make a list, happiness board, vision board, or journal about everything that brings you happiness.
  5. Give a sincere and thoughtful compliment.
  6. Visit, volunteer, or donate at your local animal shelter or pet rescue.
  7. Express gratitude – reach out to a family member, friend, co-worker, etc. and let them know how grateful you are for their presence.
  8. Create a “happiness” wall in your home – This can be a great idea, especially for those with children and teaching them how to incorporate happiness into their daily lives.
    1. Set up a designated space where you and/or your family can share uplifting quotes, inspiring stories, pictures, or positive experiences. 
    2. Regularly update the wall with new content and encourage your family to contribute their thoughts, reflections, and expressions of happiness.
  9. Dance.  Anywhere and everywhere.
  10. Hang out with your adorable pet.
  11. Paint Rocks with special messages and hide them in your community for people to unexpectedly find. (Because I don’t care how old you are, everyone still loves collecting rocks and bringing them home!)
  12. Donate to a local food bank or charity.
  13. Contact 3 people on social media and tell them how much you appreciate them and why.
  14. Pull out a recipe you haven’t made in a while and cook or bake.  Then share or enjoy!
  15. Make time to do something kind for yourself.  Practice self-care.  Happiness begins with you.

Life is filled with reasons to be happy. Take some time to slow down, be present, and fully appreciate how happiness can improve your life and the lives of those around you.  Though our circumstances can make life challenging at times, we have a choice on how we receive, perceive, and react.  We are all capable of achieving a life of happiness.  Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.  Happy International Day of Happiness! 😊 

To find more information about the International Day of Happiness movement, you can visit www.happinessday.org