20 March, 2017
Today is the United Nations International Day of Happiness, an event that seems tragically sad.
It’s a poor reflection on our world that we now need a specific day to remind us to be happy, to think about the small moments in our lives that give us joy and the social connections that help us feel content.
Have we become so separated from each other by technology and by a culture that offers choices tailored to us as individuals rather than as communities?
Perhaps it is churlish to be negative. So let’s look at the positives.
The campaign aims to show there is an alternative route to happiness than that which advertisers would have us believe. Brands suggest that their products that will make us feel content because by buying them we’ll feel beautiful and popular, while politicians argue the route to joy is through hard work, economic success and traditional family values.
What Action for Happiness (the movement that coordinates the Day) want to do is remind us that this isn’t necessarily the case. For most of us, the route to happiness lies in creating a sense of wellbeing at home, at school, at work and in our communities.
And that means finding the positives in each day, performing acts of kindness for others and taking time to look after ourselves.
It’s a very well-rounded campaign. There’s research into levels of happiness around the world to grab media attention, resources targeted to specific age groups to maximise participation and routes to support for those who are far from happy.
And as it turns out, happiness is newsworthy – largely because there’s a shortage of it.
You may have seen stories recently about the impact of mindfulness on the behaviour and attainment of pupils in both the US and the UK, and the donations for the ever hopeful owner of a stolen bike he was sure would be returned.
There is arguably a growing appetite for the more positive stories as we search for personal and collective wellbeing.
If you or your organisation is taking part in the Day and you’re considering using the media to share the love, think about the story behind your involvement, what will make a great image to go with it and how you can maximise social media.
But above all, find the joy in what you do today.