Mark Twain once wrote, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer someone else up,” and now science proves his sentiment to be true. Research shows us that lasting happiness comes from helping, appreciating and caring for others. When we share small acts of kindness (Happy Acts) to boost someone's happiness with a simple smile or compliment, our own happiness soars. Soon, joy becomes contagious. And that’s what the International Day of Happiness on March 20 is all about—spreading happiness.
Four years ago, the United Nations established March 20 as the International Day of Happiness after passing a resolution that “happiness is a fundamental human goal.” The initiative to declare the special day came from Bhutan—a country whose citizens are considered to be some of the most joyful in the world.
“Happiness for the entire human family is one of the main goals of the United Nations,” says U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Each year Live Happy celebrates International Day of Happiness with its #HappyActs campaign to drive positive change and spread serious cheer around the globe. Orange Happiness Walls are put up across the United States and Canada as gathering places for people to pledge how they will share Happy Acts and inspire others to live purpose-driven, meaningful lives.
Host your own wall!
For those who can't make it out to one of the walls, we also encourage you to host your own happiness wall at your school, business or community organization. It's a great way to inspire and unify employees and coworkers, neighbors and students around a positive theme! For instructions on creating your own wall, check here for more information.
March to happiness
This year, Live Happy’s theme for International Day of Happiness is “March to Happiness.” On each day of March, Live Happy will share on its social media pages a simple Happy Act that you can do, or you can keep up by checking our calendar. Each science-backed tip will include exactly how it boosts well-being.
Nanette Pelletier’s happy act has gone big. She wanted to share some warm meals with the homeless on Christmas. She started a program called Feed Hawaii’s Homeless with her husband and daughter three years ago and shared 18 warm meals. Nanette’s program quickly inspired others to donate food items, time and money to her cause. On Christmas Day 2015, they prepared and shared 1,000 meals and gifts for the homeless. “It was so amazing to see it come together and be successful, I cried the entire day as we pulled the pictures and video together,” she said. Each warm meal was wrapped with a Live Happy notecard bearing a positive message like, “Someone in the world is thinking of you right now.” Nanette said some people sobbed as they read the uplifting messages.
Lots of celebrations are planned around the world, including happiness flash mobs (people who gather with delightfully original signs created to spread cheer to strangers—last year’s messages included “Hey, you got this!” and “Hey gorgeous—yes, you!—smile!”) and community potlucks designed to turn strangers into friends.
Michele McKeag Larsen of The Joy Team will be putting up happiness billboards starting March 14 with positive messages like “You make a difference.” Or, “Make some magic. Fairy dust optional.” Your own Happy Acts can just be small, positive moments. Hold the door open for someone, buy coffee for the stranger behind you in line or give a compliment.
Small acts can leave a big impact. When you are happy, it changes how you think and behave, opening you up to opportunities, and making life more positive and fun. Together we can turn the world into a more connected place and make happiness contagious.
What #HappyActs will you do? Start planning now!