The International Day of Happiness (also known as Happiness Day) is celebrated throughout the world on the 20th of March. Expect to see thousands of people taking action to support this happy day
In 2012 the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year. The consensus of the resolution was that happiness was declared to be a “fundamental human goal”. The following year, 2013, the official celebrations began.
Let’s create a happier world together.
A Happiness Model
Originally the concept of a day set aside to recognize the value of happiness came from Bhutan, “Land Of The Thunder Dragon” . Bhutan is the only country in the world that has a ‘GNH.’ You may think GNH is just another statistically based term with no real life application, but it refers to “Gross National Happiness.”
Bhutan is located in South Asia and is landlocked between India, Tibet, China, and Nepal. A demoncracy and the last standing Buddhist Kingdom, their citizens are considered to be some of the happiest people in the world.
The Action for Happiness Pledge – “I will try to create more happiness in the world around me”
‘”Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions” ~ The Dalai Lama, Patron of Action for Happiness
Happiness doesn’t just feel good
Happiness is contagious. And it has tangible benefits. Happiness influences the people we know and the people they know. Research shows that the happiness of a close contact increases the chance of being happy by 15%. The happiness of a 2nd-degree contact (i.e. friend’s spouse) by 10% and the happiness of a 3rd-degree contact (i.e. friend of a friend of a friend) by 6%.
In addition to being contagious, being happy –
- Helps people live longer than their less happy peers
- Ensures psychological wellbeing and cardiovascular health
- Supports and forms good and healthy relationships
- Enables better ability to cope with stress and trauma
- Is a skill that can be learned and enhanced through training
- Fuels success, not the other way around (income and environment affect only about 10% of success)
When individuals maintain a positive outlook, their brains are more motivated, engaged, creative, energetic, resilient, and productive. Think about that – up to 40% of personal happiness is generated by daily activities and the conscious choices made.
Anxiety, depression, pessimism and a lack of enjoyment of daily activities have all been found to be associated with higher rates of disease and shorter lifespans.
Happiness in the Workplace
Creating a happy workplace is a noble and worthwhile idea in itself, but is it good for business?
A number of workplace studies have been done to calculate what happy employees will become –
- 43% more productive (Hay Graup)
- 86% more creative and innovative (UC Berkeley)
- 66% experience fewer sick days(Forbes)
- 51% lower employee turnover (Gallup)
- 41% less safety-related accidents (Gallup)
- 37% higher sales(Martin Seligman)
Surprising, studies showed that a shocking 87% of workforces are unhappy. Unhappy employees represent an average of $13,000/ year / employee in unrecognized productivity. Companies that focus on creating and supporting a culture that encourages people to be happy in their work, reap tremendous benefits from their efforts.
Don’t put the key to happiness in someone else’s pocket. ~Author Unknown
Happy Managers Make the Difference
Where to start? Building a happy workplace begins with hiring skilled and happy people / project / programs leaders. Why? Management is your talent magnet.
What does this mean? When an organization has happy and skilled leadership in place, they will undoubtedly influence the environment, forge happier and more productive working relationships with existing employees and attract a higher quality of future hire. Expect to see employees contribute more ideas and go above and beyond the expected responsibilities. Happy leaders provide the organization with a good indication of what a happy company – a flourishing and happy workplace – should look like.
Happy leaders model behaviors that build a flourishing and happy workplace environment. They development healthy internal and external partnerships. How do you recognize these leaders? You can always tell good people by the company they keep and you can also tell a good company by the people it keeps.
“Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.”
~ Jack Kornfield
Happiness is the New Engagement
Science tells us that it is very difficult for individuals to predict what keeps them happy. Science has, however, proven that focusing on one’s passions and purpose can create a sustainable happy state. When groups focus on what is important to them, this creates a movement that encourages people to take action snd make their environment (and the world) a happier and more caring place.
“Happier employees lead to strong, nurturing relationships – and a more profitable business – all of which we are continuously working hard to grow at Zappos.” –Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com
International Day of Happiness
For everyone, whether at home, at work or at play, March 20th is a great reminder of what being happy contributes to one’s life. It does not come from buying and consuming. That is pleasure and pleasure is fleeting. Being happy is not connected to being rich, famous or glamorous and it certainly is not a final destination.
Many people buy into the myths of what makes one happy. They believe it is something gained externally when in fact, it is found within. It does not exist on the far side of some distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. To become happy, one needs to consider some touchpoints and attitude towards each of them.
Pleasure – temporary experiences such as joy, sex, love, and eating
Relationships – as a social species, relationships are at the foundation of what it means to be human
Outlook – how you approach the world through adventurousness, curiosity, and making plans
Meaning – having a purpose and the wisdom to understand it
Involvement – to be happy you have to be engaged and actively involved
Success – confirmation from yourself and others that what you do has value
Elasticity – how you recover from life’s inevitable negative events
Download 2016 Happiness Reports
Sing-a-long with Bobby McFerrin