March 20 is International Day of Happiness. However, the world right now does not feel very happy, does it? With everything going on in Ukraine, everything we're seeing on the news about the destruction, about all the refugees having to flee, it's hard to be in our own happiness.
However, we do need to be coming from a place of our own happiness because we are the only ones responsible for our happiness. A lot of times, people get married, they join companies etc. and are expecting that other person or expecting the company, their job, their career, the money, whatever it is to bring them happiness. However, we are all in charge of our own happiness.
Today, I'm going to share about owning your own happiness, sharing happiness, and some really great actions for happiness.
International Day of Happiness
This campaign is a global celebration to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness. It's actually coordinated by Action for Happiness, a nonprofit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organizations.
Canada was ranked 15th last year in happiest people in the world. It’s maybe lower due to COVID or because of the floods and fires, the protests, inflation and all the unrest that we've been feeling right now.
The top seven countries are Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Sweden. Most of them are European countries, and I'm not going to go into why they're happier because I really want to bring it back to where we are and what we can do in our daily lives.
Owning our happiness
As I said, we are in charge of our own happiness, but society values certain aspects of our life to make us happy. We look to outward accomplishments, outward material goods like our house, cars, clothes etc. that we earn or buy. But the problem is we're not looking towards what truly makes US happy.
I'll share a little bit about where I am right now. I'm hanging out in Ontario. I'm in my mom's guest room. This is one of the places where I am happiest - puzzling with my mom, sitting and watching the news or different TV shows together. We like anything that includes animals like the vet shows or the dancing shows. Sometimes even game shows.
It's the simplicity of that. They bring me joy.
Also, for me, it's walking in the sun. It's the laughter with friends and family. These are the simple joys that maybe during COVID, you found again.
In my coaching world, I focus on having people switch from measuring their success in life for happiness and instead looking to their satisfaction.
When it comes from success, we ask ourselves…
Where really we should be measuring our life and our happiness according to how SATISFIED we are. We would ask ourselves…
If you look at your life right now, how would you score your life based on success? And how would you score your life based on satisfaction?
I do have a tool that I use to do this. But if you just gave yourself a number for both of them, what would it be? I get that there are different areas of life. I actually have 10 of them. By going through that, you can also see which areas are higher and in which areas are lower.
But a lot of times, when I first work with someone and I ask what the number was for each area and I ask them why, they might say,
So again, it comes back to the things that we have… the things that we accomplish or earn.
In the About section of dayofhappiness.net, I love this paragraph that says, “A profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognising that 'progress' should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.”
Some people tell me that they're happiest on vacation, and I asked why. They say, “Because I get to slow down. I get to sleep in. I get to cherish the moments and hang out with friends and have new experiences, and live slower.”
No one's talking about how they achieved all these things on their vacation. What if we brought the things that seem only worthy of vacation into our regular days, for example:
These are the joyful moments, but yet we look to material items and accomplishments because we consider them to be so much bigger. With everything that's going on in the world today, happiness is not about the big material purchases or the achievements. It's about the little things in life. The little moments where we really get to enjoy ourselves.
Back in 2015, the Day of Happiness campaign was focused on relationships. It says on the website, “We are a social species, and we thrive on we're closely connected to others. But modern society is leaving more and more people feeling disconnected, isolated, and lonely.”
Where can you connect with another person in a real way like stopping by with some freshly picked flowers from your garden or inviting them over to have grilled cheese and soup? It doesn't have to be something major.
Relationships. That's how we can share happiness, be part of more happiness and take action.
Maybe you never thought about taking action toward your happiness. I kind of forgot about this for a while. I was just in the busy schedule of life and focusing on all the responsibilities I had. Like taking care of two kids and trying to get fit again after all the physical injuries and then having COVID. It wasn't until my counselor said, “Well, what in your life makes you happy? Are you choosing to do the things that make you happy?”
This week, while I've been hanging out with my mom and with my family, I closed the computer. I just sat. I told stories. I listened to stories. I asked questions. I looked out the window and watched the birds. I chose happiness. I consciously made the decision to do activities for my happiness now.
Now, why bother? With all the negativity in the world, we need to recharge. We need to refuel. We need to have our cups filled. We are so depleted. Maybe you're thinking, “I'm not depleted.” Maybe it hasn't hit you yet or maybe you are not living at your highest level of happiness.
When a friend wanted to set up a meal train for me when my son broke his femur, I said, “Oh, we're okay.” Because I thought financially, we can just pay for meals. Plus there’s me and my husband so both of us can tackle this. Yes, we didn't have any family around, but I thought we'll get through this. It'll be okay. I just went into grin and bare-it mode and checked things off.
I said, “No, we're good. We can handle this.” She said, “But for how long can you keep your head above water?” You might not even know you're treading water. But it might just take one more thing. We've had COVID. We've had protests. We've had natural disasters. Now, the war in Ukraine.
There are a lot of things pulling at us: responsibilities, wearing masks, not wearing masks, vaccines, financial disturbances. Taking action on your happiness, I'd say is one of the critical things we need to do today to build up our energy and emotional reserves so that we don't get depleted. This is also a little message I'm reminding myself.
Dr. Mark Williamson said, “The International Day of Happiness is more than just a fun celebration. It also reminds us all that the world is a better place when we connect with and care about the people around us.”
Simple steps for Happiness
Step one: I encourage you to choose one activity, one thing, or make one choice for your own happiness.
Step two: Reach out to someone else, and do something where you get to share happiness in relationship with them. Then why not have this be a bit of a movement? This leads me to the third step.
Step three: Post online about your happiness. What makes you happy? Maybe it's a photo of you with your dog by the beach. Maybe it is a bike ride with a friend. Share it to be a leader of a movement where we choose to own our happiness, increase it and create more happiness in the lives of others.
How often do we get together and whine? It's a whine and wine Fest. What if we change the conversations to “What brought you joy this week?” “What made you happy?”
They are simple steps, yet things we don't do because of the heaviness of the world and all of our responsibilities. We have a chance here. Not just on this one day, but every single day. So I hope you choose happiness. I hope you share happiness with others.
I'd love to hear the things that you do for your happiness to inspire me and for me to be able to share it with others as well.
So choose to be happy and to own your happiness!
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