International Day of Happiness

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated April 6, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Lauren Guilbeault, LMHC

The idea of money isn't everything has been growing, and feeling happy has taken center stage in the international community. 

International Day Of Happiness

The United Nations has recognized these shifting attitudes and the need for more emphasis on human happiness. They declared that the world should celebrate happiness on a new International Day of Happiness that would take place every March 20th, starting in 2013.

Here are 18 interesting ways to celebrate the International Day of Happiness.

  1. Take The Action For Happiness Pledge

You don't have to take a pledge to be joyful, but it couldn't hurt. The Action for Happiness Pledge may help you start the day with the right attitude. It goes, "I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me."

  1. Use Happiness Hashtags
The hashtag for each Happiness Day changes every year—so make sure you know which one to use. Happinessday.org is a good place to check.  They suggest using hashtags like:
  • #internationaldayofhappiness
  • #happinessday
  • #choosehappiness
  • #createhappiness
  • #makeithappy
  1. Attend A International Day Of Happiness Event

Happiness events happen every year on March 20. Melbourne, Australia is a great place to go for happiness events. The Event Happiness for International Day of Happiness 2018 included a 3-course vegan dinner, music, and sharing wisdom on how to be happy and uplifted.

  1. Give And Receive Hugs

Give and get lots of hugs. That should make everyone happier! For International Day of Happiness 2017, a hug-fest was held on the Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. (and hosted by the Dupont Circle Foundation). You don't have to go to the capital to share hugs, either. You can organize your own hugging party right where you live.

5. Set Your Own Goals To Promote Global Happiness All Year

In the spirit of the International Day of Happiness, the UN created 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Use the UN goals as a springboard for your own ideas on how to take positive action. The UN goals include but are not limited to:

  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Clean water and sanitation
  1. Just Play

Promote Happiness Internationally

Despite the serious thought and action that has been taken in the name of promoting happiness, there's something to be said for just having fun. Go out and play as if you were a child. Some ideas for playing include:

  • Join in a pickup game of basketball
  • Spend the day at an amusement park
  • Toss a beachball at the swimming pool or beach
  1. Connect With Others

Connecting with others is one of the best ways to be happy on the International Day of Happiness. Make time for the people who are important to you. Reconnect with people who have slipped out of your life. Make new connections by chatting with people you meet while you're out taking care of your daily errands.

  1. Give Away Clothes You Don't Need
Sometimes, giving makes people feel happier than receiving. For Happiness Day, give something valuable to someone who can use it. When you see your tidy closet after the extras are gone, you'll feel joyful, too.

9. Celebrate With A Feast

Food not only allows humans to survive, it makes people joyful, too. Bring your family and friends together for a big happiness feast!

10. Attend A Happiness Seminar

Did you know there are many happiness experts in the world? They study what makes people happy, the benefits of happiness, and how to create more happiness in the world. Look for a Happiness Day seminar in March or go to a seminar or webinar any day to get yourself on the path to greater happiness.

11. Get Into A Happiness Day Flash Mob

Some Londoners had a great idea. They came together on Trafalgar Square for an International Day of Happiness flash mob. The instructions were to share positive messages with people in the square in one-to-one interactions. The entire square was suddenly filled with joyful people!

12. Make Happiness Art

This year make art that expresses feelings of being joyful. Share your artwork with friends, family, or your local community. 

13. Find Out More About Happiness

If learning makes you joyful, spend some time on Happiness Day to find out more about the subject. You can learn about current happiness research from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Stop by the happiness page at Public Radio International to get research-based practical tips for living a happier life. You can even find out more about happiness by simply talking with a joyful person you know about how they developed their positive mindset.

14. Dance for Joy

Nothing expresses joy quite the same way as dancing. Celebrate the day by dancing. Take part in a group dance like square dancing. If no one is around, dance for yourself and feel the joyful rhythms of your favorite music.

15. Volunteer

Volunteering is good for the soul. A study on volunteering explored whether people who volunteer actually benefit from the experience or only think they do. Whatever you find to do, allow yourself to enjoy the work and the connections you're making with others.

16. Promote Happiness In Your Workplace

You can lift your spirits along with those of your coworkers by doing things at work that promote happiness for everyone. Congratulate a fellow worker when they have a small success. Be a good listener for your coworkers. Take the attitude that work can be happy every day.

 17. Smile

When you smile, something wonderful happens; you feel better. Or at least that is the idea behind the facial feedback hypothesis. Research results have varied, with some concluding that smiling promoted positive feelings and others denying such an impact.

Various reasons have been given for why smiling influences emotions. For example, one study suggested that facial expressionschange the temperature of the blood supply to the brain, causing pleasurable feelings when the temperature drops. Whatever the reason it might be, it's definitely worth a try.

18. Improve Your Mental Health

It's hard to be happy when you experience depression, anxiety, or another mental condition. Mental illness isn't something you can just turn off in an instant. Getting better is a process that requires thought, guidance, and expert care. With the right help, though, you can celebrate the next International Day of Happiness in a more joyful way, free of the struggle of mental illness.

You can talk to a licensed counselor for help with depression, anxiety, or other problems that are keeping you from doing the things that would make you and those around you happier. Counselors are available at BetterHelp for private online therapy. Clinical researchers agree that the outcomes of online therapy can match in-person treatment. What’s more, online counseling might be your only option if you live in a rural area.

Online counseling from platforms like BetterHelp can allow you to turn your life around. Online therapy also has high rates of patient satisfaction.

Read what others have to say about their experience with BetterHelp below.

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