By Gill Jackson, Associate Trainer for WAW and registered Therapeutic Counsellor.
Why do we celebrate International Day of Happiness?
International Day of Happiness is celebrated throughout the world on 20th March each year. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28th June 2012.
The aim of the day is to encourage people around the globe to realise the importance of happiness within their lives.
So, how can we achieve happiness?
How can we define happiness?
Happiness is very subjective, each of us have our own unique experience of what it means to be happy. However, generally speaking, it means to be joyful, content, fulfilled and satisfied.
It’s important to remember happy people aren’t elated all of the time and remember that they still experience the full range of human emotions including anger and sadness. However, they are often resilient and optimistic people who despite life’s trials and tribulations, they have hope (some would call it faith) that things will be well again and good times will return. These factors all contribute to helping these people achieve a sense of happiness.
How can we achieve happiness?
Aristotle believed there were four levels of happiness: happiness from immediate gratification, from comparison and achievement, from making positive contributions. The highest level of happiness was from achieving fulfilment.
Here are some ultimate keys to unlocking happiness:
- Have a healthy lifestyle. Eat and drink well- it’s surprising how much of an impact what we consume has on our mental health. Eat little and often and a healthy balanced diet, along with plenty of water. Reducing stimulants (like caffeine, nicotine, drugs and alcohol) and treat foods (those that are high in fats and sugars). Ensure to get plenty of exercise and sleep.
- Manage stress levels– too much stress or prolonged stress is really bad for our physical and mental health, so it’s really important to manage stress levels well.
- Do what makes you happy– self-care. Be that taking a bath, going for a walk, taking a class, listening to your favourite music etc. Self-care refuels you; it reduces stress and increases the feel-good hormones in our brains.
- Enjoy the moment– staying in ‘the now’ (also referred to as mindfulness) can help us to stay grounded and appreciate what we have and our experiences.
- Practice gratitude– for what you have and your achievements. Focusing too much on what we want or haven’t got can make us miserable. Being grateful for what we have and where we are in our life’s journey in that current moment can help us to appreciate the little things in life and just how lucky we all are.
- Pursue intrinsic goals– ensure to set goals around personal growth and community. This can increase happiness more than extrinsic goals (like pursuing money or status).
- Reframe negative thoughts– avoid those negative ways of thinking! Look for ways to reframe those thoughts and search for the positives in all situations. That silver lining is there most if the time, we just have to look extra hard to see it.
“Happiness depends upon ourselves”- Aristotle, 300BC.
Check out our other blogs to dive deeper into some of these tips. For example, why not read our blog on self-care and why it matters?