Today, 20 March, is International Day of Happiness.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: another meaningless commemorative day, like “Talk like a Pirate Day”, “Middle Name Pride Day” or “International Juggler’s Day”.
Does happiness really need a commemorative day? Surely every day should be a happiness day. We’d all love to live like that. Just as you love your mum every day, even when she’s no longer with you, happiness should be a fundamental part of your daily routine.
But, of course, we have a Mother’s Day. And quite rightly so. It’s an opportunity to openly say what is maybe taken for granted the rest of the year.
On that basis, I think happiness deserves it’s own day.
So, what’s your plan for today? How will you celebrate, share and enhance your happiness?
There is not a recipe, or guide that I can give you that will instill happiness, but I have some basic principles that you may be able to fit into your circumstances.
Money will not buy you happiness, but a lack on money can counter it. Don’t become fixated with material things as the only way to create happiness. Appreciate things that have no monetary cost: your time, relationships with family and friends, fresh air and the great outdoors, doing a favour for someone, saying hello to a stranger, smiling.
Make a list of when you have felt most happy or content. I guarantee most will involve being with somebody, rather than spending money on something. Try and remember WHY you felt happy at that time, and look for opportunities to remember and share them, or re-create those circumstances. I find looking back through photographs helps bring those important memories back, as does meeting up with those you shared the moment with and sharing recollections.
Don’t just look for BIG things as evidence of your happiness: contentment can be found in the seemingly ordinary. I spent a couple of hours a few years ago sharing a couple of beers on a clammy summer evening with a really good friend. We chatted about nothing in particular, but it was just so relaxing after a hectic day racing round Alton Towers: it was just perfect.
So, don’t dismiss International Day of Happiness. Embrace it, learn about yourself from it, and, like the love for your mum, let happiness become unconditional every day.
“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.” Mark Twain