UN International Day of Happiness


We’d like to talk with you today about happiness. On March 20th, the world celebrates an International Day of Happiness. And although, when you are hearing this, it may be well past the 20th, that does not prevent us from wanting to talk about the event. And about happiness.

If you want to be happy, create the appearance of being happy, which will likely encourage a happy emotional state. That is the conclusion reached by psychologists after the publication of the ranking of the world’s happiest countries. I will tell you more about this rating later, but for the time being I want to mention that this day was founded by the United Nations in 2012, in order that people would think about happiness on a regular basis. And the date of March 20th was chosen for the fact that on this day, in practically the entire world, the length of the day is equal to that of the night. The UN took that to be symbolic of the equal right to happiness for all the inhabitants of the planet.

By the way, it is also worth remembering the country that proposed March 20th as the International Day of Happiness. Interestingly, the initiative came from a small mountainous country in Asia – Bhutan, also known as the “dragon country”. It is believed that the people of the Kingdom of Bhutan are some of the happiest people in the world, and it may be clear why … Wonderful mountain views, rich fauna and flora, it’s a strong foundation for happiness.

Although the notion of happiness may be a bit abstract, still there are criteria by which one can determine a happy country. These include the number of healthy years of life, the confidence that one can count on the support of friends and relatives in the event of a misfortune, the freedom to choose how to make a living, charity provided by the government, purchasing power, and the absence of corruption.  As you can see, much of the criteria depends on social conditions.

The leader of the ranking in 2017 was  Norway. For the 2 years prior to this, that country ranked 4th on the list, while Denmark 3 years in a row was the happiest country.

Ukraine also takes part in marking this holiday. Last year in Kyiv, this was how it was celebrated: volunteers together with the employees of the center of Ukrainian culture and art came out with posters and postcards on Khreschatyk Street. They stopped people hurrying to work to congratulate them on the International Day of Happiness. They gave people warm hugs, making Ukrainians happier – because, unfortunately, according to the UN rating, Ukraine ranked 132nd out of 155 countries.

Yet for Ukrainians, there is still much reason to be happy, because happiness can be found in relationships with other people – which manifests itself in sensitivity, courtesy, and indifference to the faults of others. A high level of education or a good health system alone cannot make people happier. Only the warming of one’s own heart can give happiness to oneself, as well as to everyone who surrounds that person.

It may surprise you to learn that sometimes people do not need power and big money. There is a well-known parable about the ruler of a country who was a very unhappy man. Despite what his counselors tried, nothing helped to cheer him up. One day he met a wise man and shared with him his problem. The wise man advised the unhappy ruler to find in the kingdom one happy man and to clothe his shirt.

Many ambassadors rushed in search of a happy man, but were disappointed, and turned back empty-handed. And then they saw a  worker that shone from happiness. But since there were no shirts on him, they decided to deliver the man himself. Seeing the poor naked man, the ruler was very surprised and began to interrogate him as to what accounted or his happiness. Even more, the ruler was struck when he heard the man’s response: “I’m happy that I can see beauty around. To hear singing birds and laughter of children. I have my hands to work with, and my feet to walk on the ground and help people. And most importantly, I have a God who loves me just like that. “

So, our advice is for you: “Do not build your happiness on something unstable and fragile, but try to find joy in spiritual values.  They will support you even when you experience illness,, and any financial or career problems will turn out not to be so important. Do not look for happiness on the outside, because it always lies within you.”

If you are happy – then you will make happy all those who surround you. March 20th is another opportunity to think over your life, and to appreciate how happy you should be. Remember it this day, and every day:  it’s a valuable chance to make those people next to you happier than happy.

For the time being, goodbye to you.

Be happy!

Anna Baligar (Kyiv, Ukraine)







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