A little-known date you should mark in your calendars for today is the International Day of Happiness. At a time where there’s so much hatred, political uncertainty and threats to our wellbeing, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to remember that the world is indeed still capable of doing a hell of a lot of good.
This movement all started at a 2011 United Nations General Assembly, where they declared an official resolution defining happiness as a ‘fundamental human goal’. The United Nations are a rare breed as an official organisation since, unlike most, they follow through on their plans: they had a conference the following year on how to develop this resolution and as a result, we have had a day each year dedicated to the happiness of ourselves and others.
The International Day of Happiness is well-backed by the charitable organisation Action for Happiness. It is a suitable partner for the UN project as the remit of this charity is to ensure that everyone finds happiness. Students are some of the worst for neglecting happiness due to the workload encompassing university life. However, as some of the charity’s ‘Actions’ show, there are very simple ways for people to achieve happiness.
The actions below are some that I feel we could benefit from by applying them to student life, not only on the 20th, but every day:
· Action 2: Do kind things for others.
· Action 16: Set your goals and make it happen.
· Action 19: Give yourself a happiness check-up.
· Article 46: Make time for fun with family and friends.
Happiness is obviously a subjective concept for each person, but the way in which I personally define happiness is more low-key than some. Happiness to me is something that should be rooted in the present: we can strive for bigger goals, like our degrees, but along the ride we should sit back for a moment and remember that each day is an opportunity to be happy and make memories. Happiness doesn’t have to take the form of a wild AF sesh or a day trip to Disneyland; the little things are just as important. I personally would be equally as content hanging out with my dog than I would on a night out.
The key message the UN are trying to portray with this day is the fact that happiness should be seen as a fundamental human right. Life is a strange thing, but it is also absolutely everything to us and is therefore a gift. Like all gifts, it should not only be used, but appreciated too. So, as a wise man once said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it”.