International Day of happiness

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2024 Date20 March 2024
2025 Date20 March 2025

International Day of Happiness

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International Day of Happiness History

The International Day of Happiness aims to acknowledge the importance of happiness in the lives of individuals across the world. It’s an initiative backed by the United Nations as part of their wider commitment to fostering well-being and happiness among people of all nations. The day is honoured with a variety of activities, events, and initiatives all designed to promote and encourage happiness. This includes community projects, awareness campaigns and individual efforts to spread positivity and joy. In essence, the International Day of Happiness aims to bring attention to the idea that economic progress should consider more than just the financial metrics, placing equal importance on happiness and wellbeing.

The United Nations first announced International Day of Happiness in 2012, an idea conceptualised by Jayme Illien, a philanthropist and UN special advisor. Illien proposed it in an effort to promote the need for a more inclusive, equitable, balanced and holistic approach to economic growth. Within the United Kingdom, the day signifies the importance of happiness not only from an individual level but also from a societal perspective. It’s a day that echoes the UK’s ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ guideline, developed by the New Economics Foundation, which encourages people to connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give to others as forms of enhancing personal happiness and social cohesion.

In the United Kingdom, the International Day of Happiness is observed via a multitude of activities and initiatives across different social platforms and environments. Organisations, communities, and individuals unite in efforts to spread joy, optimism and kindness. Numerous campaigns and activities are organised typically involving public awareness efforts to highlight the value of happiness. This could range from schools organising special assemblies focused on the importance of positivity, happiness and mental health, to workplaces initiating joy-spreading activities and wellbeing workshops. For the UK, as is globally, the International Day of Happiness takes place every year on the 20th of March.

Facts about International Day of happiness

  • The theme for International Day of Happiness in 2024 was Reconnecting for Happiness: Building Resilient Communities. The theme in 2022 was Happiness For All, Ukraine.
  • According to the NPR, in 2023, Finland was ranked the happiest country in the world for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Different activities are held in various cities across the UK for International Day of Happiness including community activities, happiness flash mobs, school programmes and public talks, all with the aim of fostering happiness and well-being.
  • In the UK, Northern Ireland consistently ranks as the happiest of the four constituent countries, according to annual surveys from the ONS.

Top things to do in the UK for International Day of happiness

  • Make the effort to cross an item off of your bucket list. We all have dreams and goals and fulfilling them creates happiness and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Give to others. Whether it's donating to a charity of your choice, volunteering, or giving a thoughtful gift, studies have found that giving makes us happier.
  • Visit the Happiness Festival: There are numerous festivals and events taking place across the country on International Day of Happiness. For example, The Festival of Happiness in Manchester, includes music, comedy, and inspiring talks on happiness.
  • "Share the Happiness" Fair: This fair hosts dozens of workshops and seminars on different topics relating to happiness, from mindfulness and meditation to laughter therapy and dance.

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