Happy Happiness Day!

Wow, we actually have an international happiness day to help remind us of the importance of being involved with our own and our communities’ happiness. The General Assembly of the United Nations commissioned a Day of Happiness, to raise awareness that happiness, human flourishing and wellbeing are fundamental to all life. We know that flourishing people tend to be happier, healthier and smarter. They are more grateful, generous, creative, productive and open minded.

As always, the small and simple things can have a great impact for someone today. Smile more today and say hello. Put some coins in a metered parking space for someone else. Give a hug (if I were with you I would give you a hug – I am sending you one virtually!). Listen for understanding. Share a kind word with your kids or your partner. Lend a helping hand – hold the door for someone. Think warm thoughts for those you see. Let your imagination go wild as to how you could impact others.

Canada (where I am) ends up some where in the middle of the happiest people in the world. Many of our assumptions about what would make us happy are not true. For instance, wealth. After our basic needs are met, wealth is not a variable that makes us happy. Happiness is more an inside job, or an intrinsic characteristic such as gratitude rather then an outside variable, an extrinsic variable, such as wealth. Use this day as a great opportunity for discussion between you and your partner regarding what you are working for in your life to create happiness. The variables that make a difference world wide are also important to your partnership such as family and friend connections, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices and generosity are some of the variables world wide. Also take this day to reinforce your connections with each other and family and friends.

When you do this, it makes a difference with your children and also your networks. Your gestures of goodness, kindness and happiness can spread like a contagion. In some innovative research Cacioppo, Christakis, and Fowler (December 2009) have shown that happiness, loneliness, altruism, and whether people cheat all spread through networks. If people cooperate, it is more likely that strangers, three degrees removed, will also cooperate. Like an event cone, one act, whether it adds happiness or unhappiness, changes and alters unrelated events. We need to celebrate and promote happiness to help with the brokenness in the world as well as ourselves. Happy Happiness Day! – Celebrate today well.

Posted by Lynda in Healthier Marriages and tagged with , ,

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