In case you haven’t heard, which quite likely you haven’t, July 10 is International Happiness Day. You can find out more about the official undertaking by viewing the video at the International Happiness Day website.
Happiness is a good thing, in and of itself, and it’s something we all aspire to. The good news is that according to reports published on IOL, a global network of social researchers found that between the years 1981 and 2007 the overall happiness level in the world increased.
Time.com reports that the whole concept of measuring Gross National Happiness was begun by the King of Bhutan in 1972, emphasizing the priority he placed on the quality of life for his people in precedence to economic growth. The idea has caught on, and the Gallup Poll now keeps a running measure of happiness in the USA.
LiveScience reports that 50% of the US population is “thriving” or happy, but that doesn’t place us very high on the ladder—in fact, we are only 16th in the world. In Denmark, the happiest country, 83% of the residents are happy.
All these statistics are fine for national policy planners and fun to discuss at social gatherings, but what do they have to do with lifestories? This isn’t a question I would have thought to ask even a week ago. It has never occurred to me to write specifically about happiness. For me, happiness is part of the background noise, though not something I take for granted. There are plenty of times that I’m stressed, tired, angry, or just downright grumpy. Those are definitely not happy times, but overall, I’d put my personal happiness index rather high, higher than the average Dane in fact. Looking back over the course of my life, I see it gradually rising.
I think my descendants would be interested to know how happy I feel, and what specific things make me happy. Oops. Things do not make me happy. For me, happiness results from conditions, and typical conditions include being passionately involved with a project; a stimulating conversation with a friend; hearing about the progress of my grandchildren; a beautiful sunset; golden sunbeams piercing the forest canopy; mastering a new skill or solving a problem; stuff like that.
The idea of an International Happiness Day especially appeals to me because I believe that happy people are peaceful, productive people, and the world just has to be a better place if more people are happy.
Happy International Happiness Day!
Write now: for ten minutes about your happiness level. Are you generally happy more often than not? What conditions contribute to your happiness or unhappiness? What would you change or do to be happier? Describe an especially happy time in as much detail as you can recall. What did the moment mean to you? What was going on? What memories are connected with it?