Today, the 20 March, is a day to be happy. Just as any other day, of course, but today it says so in the calendar!
Indeed, in July 2012, the General Assembly of the UN proclaimed today to be the day of happiness and with it they wanted to emphasise the happiness and well-being as universal goals of human beings globally, but also the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives. With the adoption of resolution 66/281 on International Day of Happiness, the UN, its Member States, organisations and the whole international system, civil society and individuals included, were invited to raise awareness of the significance of happiness in each and everyone’s lives.
Consequently, I am writing this blog post today of all days.
The word on everyone’s lips this spring might quite well have been the coronavirus. It has changed our understanding and limited our freedoms of movement and assembly, set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we’ve had to start thinking differently about our current lifestyles. However, as has been noted in media, restrictions on travelling and closing of businesses and factories in heavily polluting countries like China, have had major positive effects on climate. Could corona be the push to transforming our lives and societies to healthier and more sustainable practices? Tough to say yet, really, but surrounded with news on the rapid, global spread of the virus we need more good news like that one!
The World Happiness report 2020 focuses on the different environments we live in: social, urban and natural. In general, social connections and trust in the system function as building blocks of happiness and well-being. Urban environment is no longer a guarantee for greater life evaluation as rural environment can, in some cases, correlate to a sense of belonging to a community and can share of resources more equally. Natural environment, then, is creating positive effects on life evaluations and better moods outdoors than indoors.
In that regard, Covid-19 has forced us to think outside of the box. On my free time, I would normally maybe open the television and watch it hours straight. Now, having to limit my contact with friends and stay home for the time being, I have found a new spirit-lifting joy in going for walks outside, enjoying the spring sunshine, talking with friends on the phone and just having more time in my hands than I would regularly have for things that matter the most. Strangely, and perhaps out of the privilege I have, this situation has already made me value things differently.
If you, too, are all cooped up in your apartment, what could you do for your happiness and well-being today? Here’s a list of ideas, if you are running out:
☐Call a friend or family member and check how they are doing. Possible topics to discuss: weather, daily routines and feelings.
☐Make a pot of coffee with a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom to spice up your morning routine.
☐Study irregular verbs of a language you should anyways be revising.
☐Read an article on Positive News to make your day slightly brighter.
☐Go take a walk in the nature, if you’re feeling healthy. (This one’s my favourite!)
Warm and fuzzy thoughts to all you readers!
For further reading:
Resolution 66/281. International Day of Happiness. Available: https://undocs.org/A/RES/66/281.
World Happiness Report 2020. Available: https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2020/environments-for-happiness-an-overview/.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Available: https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.
Vidal, John. 2020. ‘Tip of the iceberg’: is our destruction of nature responsible for covid-19? Available: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/18/tip-of-the-iceberg-is-our-destruction-of-nature-responsible-for-covid-19-aoe.
Positive News. Available: https://www.positive.news/.