20 March marked the third celebration of the United Nation International Day of Happiness. People all over the world celebrated joy and wellbeing with on and off-line events.
The most prominent factor that defines people’s happiness is relationships with people, and the best way to feel good is to do good. With this in mind, the non-profit Action for Happiness, together with over 60 partners, coordinated a range of events to celebrate the UN International Day of Happiness by connecting people and spreading positivity.
Around 50 smiling volunteers gathered at Trafalgar Square at eight in the morning for a Positive Message flash mob, holding happy signs, giving free hugs, flowers and high fives.
Recent research by Gallup showed top ten happiest countries to be in Latin America, with UK as low as number 49 on the list, below countries like the US, Rwanda and Uzbekistan. According to the Office of National Statistics, London was among the least happy places in the UK in 2014.
Unaware of the special occasion on the gloomy Friday morning, always-stressed Londoners looked like they needed a cheer-up – especially when the long-awaited solar eclipse was hiding behind the heavy clouds.
Such flash mobs were also organised in ten other places around the world…
… and in six places across the UK.
Alex Nunn, the coordinator of the flash mobs, said a few people who passed through the happy crowd at Trafalgar Square found the Positive Message flash mob group on Facebook to thank volunteers for making their day. For Alex and his team this meant the event was successful.
Listen to Nunn speak about Action for Happiness on Soultraveller radio.
The UN held a conference on Happiness for the first time in 2012. It acknowledged the importance of happiness as a vital part of the prosperity of the human kind, and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples”. All 193 UN member states agreed to give a greater priority to happiness and wellbeing in their countries. On 12 July the General Assembly of the United Nations announced in a resolution 20 March to be the International Day of Happiness. The annual Day of Happiness was first celebrated in 2013.
Action For Happiness considers the increased international focus on happiness a profound shift in the attitude and the definition of ‘progress’. GDP is no longer the only factor that is taken into consideration when determining a nation’s wellbeing; it now includes the level of happiness and health of its peoples.
This year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon launched an online campaign to encourage people to post songs that make them happy on social media using #HappySoundsLike. The playlist of happiest songs was later conducted, with contributions from Britney Spears, Charlie XCX, Ed Sheeran, and many more.
Happiness took over the Internet for the whole day, as millions of people also used #InternationalDayofHappiness to post positive updates on social media. Additionally, UN hosted a digital happy party (https://www.globalhappyparty.com/) via Google Hangouts, where people could share videos of themselves dancing to Pharrell’s Happy.
Get involved and keep updated by liking Action for Happiness on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @actionhappiness