International Day of Happiness: It’s about more than smiley faces

International Day of Happines (#InternationalDayOfHappiness) has been celebrated since the UN created this day of celebration in 2013. This has always been about more than simply individual happiness, sunshine and smiles, and in 2015, the UN launched 17 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ focusing on essential components of happiness and well-being: an end to poverty, the reduction of inequality, and the protection of our planet.

Happiness has developed a bad reputation over the years and is often associated with smiley faces and even a ‘tyrannical attitude’ of positivity, whereby everyone is expected to feel and act all shiny, smiley and happy; this is due to the misinterpretation of positive psychology. Right from its humble beginnings, when a few psychologists got together and wrote the ‘Positive Psychology Manifesto’, there was a strong emphasis on not just individual well-being, but also for communities and society to thrive.

If it can feel like hard work to improve our own happiness, then working on ensuring the world thrives may seem like an insurmountable challenge, but it is one that is worthwhile undertaking. We cannot flourish, as individuals, in isolation. In order to be truly happy, we need to go beyond the superficial, beyond the smiles and the laughter, and find meaning. It is through meaning, and a sense of purpose, that we can achieve true happiness.

To read the full article, which includes practical ways to work on your own and collective happiness, go to the Happiness Speaker website, where it was originally published earlier today. ​

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RWS Team

The RWS programme helps develop children's life-long resilience, wellbeing and success skills.