Get Ready For International Happiness Day!

Nepal
Happiness in Nepal

Wondering why there are so many videos of people singing Pharrell Williams’   “Happy”  going viral this week?  Here’s the answer:

March 20 is the second annual International Day of Happiness!

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in 2012 recognizing March 20 as a day to acknowledge that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal” and recognize “the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples”. This year, the United Nations Foundation and Pharrell Williams are teaming up to encourage people to support the United Nations’ efforts  to create a happier world for people everywhere.

Some people are already asking why in the world we need a day to celebrate happiness.  What could an international day and a celebrity singing an upbeat song possibly do to make an impact on serious global problems?

Personally, however, I am looking forward to International Happiness Day.  The way I see it, we already have more than enough aspects of our human nature to divide us.  When people focus on what makes us different – our religion, our ethnicity, our skin color –  it  often leads to violence and conflict. Lives are shattered in big ways and small.  But every human has a very basic need, not to mention a strong desire, for something very simple.  We all want to be happy. We all want to see that our children and the others who who we care about have the opportunity that they deserve to be happy.

Our human capacity to feel happiness is a basic characteristic that we all share, regardless of our differences. 

In my line of work, I deal with a lot of human unhappiness.  So I think about these things all the time.  You would expect that it would make me cynical about people in general  – and particularly about something like an international day of happiness, complete with a celebrity  and an upbeat hit song.

But I strongly believe that our human capacity for happiness is a strength, and one that should be nurtured and celebrated in the midst of all that is dark and dangerous and painful in our world.

I took the photo above the last time I was in Nepal.  I keep it as my screensaver to remind me every day of the simple fact that we humans all have the potential to experience intense joy.  It makes me believe that our human capacity for happiness must one day trump our human proclivity to hurt each one another.  And this photo reminds me every day that everyone – every single person, regardless of who they are or where they live in world – should have the opportunity to feel happiness in the way that these kids in Nepal were so clearly feeling it.

International Happy Day is also a call to action.  It is a reminder that there is more that each of us can do to ensure that everyone is able to live their lives to their fullest human potential  in safety, dignity, freedom, and equality.   For all of us, these are the basic human prerequisites to happiness.  We need to keep moving towards the concept that none of us can be truly happy, until all of us have an equally fair shot at being happy.

There are a few things in this world that are truly global: One of them is that people want to be happy. Thursday, March 20 is the International Day of Happiness, and the United Nations Foundation and Grammy Award-winning musician Pharrell Williams have teamed up to encourage people to take action to support the UN and to create a happier world for people everywhere. – See more at: http://unfoundationblog.org/international-day-of-happiness-2014/#sthash.CuzHI1xW.dpuf
hursday, March 20 is the International Day of Happiness, and the United Nations Foundation and Grammy Award-winning musician Pharrell Williams have teamed up to encourage people to take action to support the UN and to create a happier world for people everywhere. – See more at: http://unfoundationblog.org/international-day-of-happiness-2014/#sthash.CuzHI1xW.dpufhttp://youtu.be/8bhfu1KnKjM

So go ahead and celebrate International Happiness Day.  In the United States, you don’t even have to wait until March 20.  Thanks to the international time difference, #Happy Day starts in just a few hours.   (And #HappyDay is already going strong on Twitter!) You can catch it all on the website 24 Hours of Happiness.com   Since March 10, people around the world have been posting YouTube videos of themselves “demonstrating their happiness” to Pharrell William’s track with the hashtag #HAPPYDAY and submitting it to the website.   On March 20th, Pharrell will spotlight the best submissions at noon in each time zone.

Here is the first one – from New Zealand!

See additional ways to participate here.   And whatever else you do on March 20, be sure to have a
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5 thoughts on “Get Ready For International Happiness Day!

Everyone has the right to an opinion and I'd love to hear yours! While comments are very welcome, they will be moderated. My kids read this blog, too!

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