A Happy Day Worldwide

As sanctioned by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, the whole world is celebrating International Day of Happiness today (March 20).


(source: chromemusic)

Are you celebrating this day of happiness too?

But, before that. Are you.. happy?

In a world where quantitative results are sought after, it’s unsurprising to find many ways  to “measure happiness.” Here are some of them:

  • Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index – Generated in Bhutan, GNH sought to create a measurement tool that would be useful for policymaking and create policy incentives to peace and happiness for the people and security and sovereignty for the nation.
  • National Well-being Index –  This ONS Programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures in areas such as health, relationships, job satisfaction, economic security, education, environmental conditions and measures of ‘personal well-being’ (individuals’ assessment of their own well-being) to see how the UK is doing as a whole.
  • Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS) – This is a four-item scale, measuring global subjective happiness. The scale requires participants to use absolute ratings to characterize themselves as happy or unhappy individuals, as well as it asks to what extent they identify themselves as such.
  • The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) – This 20-item questionnaire is used to detect the relation between personality traits and positive or negative effects to this moment, today, the past few days, the past week, the past few weeks, the past year, and generally (on average).
  • The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) – This is a global cognitive assessment of life satisfaction. The SWLS requires a person to use a seven-item scale to state their agreement or disagreement with five statements about their life.

(more explanation here)

But, who would seriously “measure” their happiness right? It’s an emotion.. You may feel happier or less so on other days but you either feel it or you don’t – you don’t have to measure it.

The whole idea of “celebrating happiness day” may seem silly, especially with paramount of workload and responsibility we have to handle as well. But I guess, that’s just it. We have been driven by profit for so long that the pursuit of happiness does not come as naturally as before. Heck, we even have to institute a “happiness day” to celebrate a supposedly intuitive emotion!

But, if monetary gains is really what we are aiming for, happiness is economically profitable too. According to Valerie Alexander,

“happy employees are less likely to take sick days, attack other workers or steal from their employers. Happy workers aren’t going to up and quit in the middle of their shift, wreaking havoc and increasing turnover costs. Happy professionals are generally more productive and measurably more creative than their unhappy co-workers, which has both tangible and intangible effects in the market. Happy people are healthier, thus causing less of a strain on an employer’s insurance or the public healthcare system, and less likely to engage in crime, reducing the need for police, courts and prisons. In short, happy people produce more and cost less – for all of us.”


(image source: babble)

Think about it. How important is the pursuit of happiness to you? How do you think it affects your life?

While you do, here’s some things that you can do today:

  1. Share your own moments of joy by uploading videos to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ with #happyday or #happinessday. You can see all the posts on the Days of Happiness site.
  2. Donate to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund. – done!
  3. Make the “Project Happiness” pledge: “Happiness is contagious. I pledge to proJECT happiness forward.”  done!
  4. Join and take part in the “Action for Happiness
  5. Explore The Third Metric. This is a growing movement led by Arianna Huffington which offers an interesting roadmap leaders can draw upon to have a more positive impact on the wellbeing of their employees. – done!
  6. Otherwise, you can at least spend the International Day of Happiness by watching Pharrell’s 24-hour music video for “Happy.” – doing…

There’s a Singapore version for that too. Enjoy!


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