18 Ways to Celebrate the International Day of Happiness

Updated February 05, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

Source: rawpixel.com

The feeling that money isn't everything has been growing, and happiness has taken center stage in the global community. 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.

Happiness is serious business. The UN held meetings and considered what to do about the need to recognize and celebrate mental health around the world. As the United Nations examined the importance of happiness, it wanted a way to promote the idea that happiness is a universal human right. Since the 2012 resolution, Happiness Day has been celebrated by millions around the world. 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 happy, 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

Instagram and Twitter hashtags are fun to use, and they help promote your commitment to making the world a happier place. 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. The site features social posts that people make using happiness hashtags. They suggest using hashtags like:

  • #internationaldayofhappiness
  • #happinessday
  • #choosehappiness
  • #createhappiness
  • #makeithappy
  1. Attend A Happiness Day 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.

You can travel far from home to attend a series of concerts in another country. Or, you can look for events in your local community, like Happiness Day potluck dinners. Get out, be with other people, and have a good time!

  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.

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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 are:

  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
  • Reduced inequality
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible production and consumption
  • Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Peace, justice, and strong institutions
  • Partnerships for the goals
  1. Just Play

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
  • Go sledding
  • Play peek-a-boo, hide-and-seek, or charades with your kids
  • Have a joke-telling contest
  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. Many people could use some good clothes. Clean out your closets and find those items that you enjoyed at another time in your life but no longer need. Ask a friend if they'd like them or give them to an organization that can redistribute them to people who need them most. When you see your tidy closet after the extras are gone, you'll feel happy, too.

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9. Celebrate With A Feast

Food not only allows humans to survive, it makes people happy, too. For International Day of Happiness, bring your family and friends together for a big happiness feast. Have a sit-down dinner, a barbecue, or a quiet supper. Or, you can celebrate by taking someone out to dinner who rarely gets a chance to have a satisfying meal.

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. Often, people who are involved with the happiness movement give seminars about the subject. 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 happy people!

12. Make Happiness Art

This year on International Happiness Day, make art that expresses your joy. Make hand-lettered signs declaring your happiness goals. Draw cartoon images on the sidewalk with colored chalk. Get together with friends for a day of painting happy portraits of each other. Share your artwork with friends, family, or your local community. Post it on social media to share it with the world.

13. Find Out More About Happiness

If learning makes you happy, 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 happy 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 International Day of Happiness by dancing. Take part in a group dance like square dancing, line dancing, or folk dancing. Go out with a loved on and dance the night away. Try ballroom dancing or just get out there on the dance floor and move your own way. If no one is around, dance for yourself and feel the happy rhythms of your favorite music.

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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. As it turns out, volunteering has even greater benefits for physical and emotional health as you get older. So, as you get older, it just makes sense to take more time to help others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, knit infant caps for hospitals to give out in the neonatal unit, or grab a hammer and help build a Habitat for Humanity home. 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

Even for the happiest worker, the time will usually come when work seems like a drudgery. 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. Work out conflicts peacefully when you can. Be a good listener for your coworkers. Take the attitude that work can be joyful 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.

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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. When you address your problems and work through your issues, you can increase your happiness by leaps and bounds!

It can be challenging for some to motivate themselves to seek treatment for mental illness. If you question whether or not counseling can help, know that the methods psychologists use to diagnose and treat mental illness have been informed by decades, if not centuries of scientific research. For others, simply finding a therapist can be a challenge. If this applies to you, why not consider online counseling? 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.

19. Online counseling from platforms like BetterHelp can allow you to turn your life around. Online therapy also has high rates of patient satisfaction. In other words, most people who attend online counseling are happy they did so. Some might even describe them as happ Deciding to get treatment can be the most meaningful thing you do on the International

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

“Shawnna is a wonderful listener. Every session I have with her she is able to acknowledge and clarify what I am thinking, so that we can get to the root of the problem and come up with an action plan to improve my mental health. She has provided me helpful resources and activities to work on in between sessions, which has helped me overcome every day stressors, as well as work on issues that I have been dealing with for years. It has been reassuring to know that I am not the only one who struggles with negative thoughts and emotions, and that I have handled them like any other person would. I am thankful for the knowledge and skills she has shared with me so that I can regain happiness in my life once again.”

“The 8 sessions that I have had with Julie have had a surprising impact on my situation, helping to shift my perceptions and move me forward significantly along my path towards healing and happiness. I have felt very supported by Julie, not just within the sessions but also afterwards when she follows up with thoughts and suggestions for reading. What I have found particularly helpful is Julie’s straightforward and pragmatic approach. I have no hesitation in highly recommending her.”


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