Day of Happiness

Back in the 1970’s the progressive little nation of Bhutan realised something profound. That the wellbeing of its people was more important as an indicator of development and prosperity than material wealth. How incredible is it to witness a nation recognising national happiness over national product? A nation that adopts a more holistic outlook where the spiritual well being of its people and communities is given as much importance as their material well being.

That a mindset shift, isn’t it.

And in recognition of this shift, the United Nations has decreed today, March 20, as International Day of Happiness. A day where we can focus on what’s going right in our lives, rather than what is wrong. Because there are times in our life when we can forget to focus on what’s going right, aren’t there. Stressors that take us away from the many wonders that already fill our lives. The people we love, the beauty around us. The treasures we carry within. Most people don’t realise that the simple act of gratitude brings happiness to those who practise it. Common sense really. When we want something we haven’t got, most of us can feel frustration or sadness at the lack of it. When we choose to focus instead on what is good in our lives, we give ourselves the gift of good feelings. It’s all about being mindful really. Sometimes easier said than done. That ability to rediscover our happiness even while we are in our suffering. But so important.

And it’s good to practise this. Not just today, but everyday. Because not only does it pay big dividends for us, it spreads. Most people don’t realise happiness is contagious. And when you read the Harvard University studies you begin to understand the impact. A friend who is happier gives me the possibility of a 25% increase in my happiness. A neighbour who is happier gives me the possibility of a 34% increase in my happiness. And the happier I am, the happier the people around me become too. When you consider that the biochemistry of happiness is healing in our bodies, it’s pretty important who you hang around with then, isn’t it, and where you put your focus.

I feel blessed that my life’s work is now helping people rediscover their own happiness. It’s as much a gift for me as it is for them. And today, on this Day of Happiness, it is my fervent wish that you may take a moment to rediscover – and share – the joys in your life…

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