International Day of Happiness

Did you know that today (the 20th of March) is the International Day of Happiness? It’s a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness, coordinated by Action for Happiness.

The day itself was an evolution of the UN’s 2011 resolution that recognised happiness as a “fundamental human goal”. The first UN conference on happiness took place in 2012 and the first International Day of Happiness was celebrated in 2013.

While there are many things that are important for our survival and our general wellbeing, research shows that happiness and how we feel about our lives is one of the things that matters most to us.

This same research also shows that our priorities need to change – both at a societal level and an individual one. Unsurprisingly it shows that true happiness stems less from material wealth and self-interests and more from our relationships and helping others. Generally speaking genuine happiness stems less from external factors outside of our control and more from how we chose to react to the things that happen to us.

There are some interesting facts around happiness itself. Happiness isn’t set in stone – our genes and upbringing influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, our circumstances (such as income and material goods) influence only 10% – the other 40% is influenced by our daily activities and relationships. It illustrates that while some factors are outside of our control, we can directly influence our own happiness by the way we act, what we do and who we surround ourselves with.

Unfortunately, controlling our own happiness can be a challenge for the best of us – it’s easy to get swept up in the challenges of life, which is why the International Day of Happiness is one that we as a firm like to take time to recognise and celebrate.

We ask our team to share something that makes them truly happy, and why. All of us take this time during the day to reflect on something we connect with, that brings genuine happiness to our lives.

For some of our team this is their families, friends or pets – spending time with their children or partner, a great dinner with really good friends or hitting the beach with their dog. For others it’s getting back to nature – camping, fishing or just settling into a good book at the beach.

The thing we notice, year after year, is that it’s usually about personal connection – with a person, animal or place, it’s that feeling of joy, of excitement, of calm – of genuine happiness.

We hope that today you can take some time to think about what truly makes you happy, and then plan to spend time doing that very thing. Happiness is something that can be difficult to attain at times, and as a feeling it can be hard to hold on to, but the importance of this day is recognising that we should all take the time to strive for happiness more. That we should take a beat when we’re sad or angry or struggling to think about how we might get back to happy.

We think this is important in every aspect of our lives – work and home, and we hope that we can encourage this in our workplace and team outside of just this day through a positive workplace culture and flexible working arrangements to help our team spend more time doing the things that make them happy.

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