At Psychologies, the idea of a global diary date for happiness alone makes us smile. Today, 20 March 2013, celebrates the first International Happiness Day, an occasion created by the UN to encourage governments to take a more holistic approach toward citizen happiness. The concept of a day of global celebrations in honour of cheeriness was introduced by the kingdom of Bhutan, whose citizens are considered to be among the happiest in the world. They (more precisely their king, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan) pioneered the idea of ‘gross national happiness’. He believed that in order to maintain development and harmony within society we need to measure not only our bank accounts and national GDP, but our emotional and physical wellbeing, and even the quality of air that we breathe.
Studies have shown that we have a tendency to dwell on the negative things in our lives, so the idea of celebrating the positive aspects can improve our emotional health and provide a much needed mood boost. The fact that co-ordinated initiatives are being taken towards an all-inclusive approach to happiness raises many questions about how we try to pursue our own happiness, particularly in the western world. Does there need to be a pursuit or do we already have the elements of happiness within us? Perhaps International Happiness Day is the perfect excuse to find out, celebrate and spread the happiness we already own.