20th March is International Day of Happiness, a global event held by the UN which serves to remind us that being happy is a human right and worth celebrating.
Paralegal, Holly, writes about what happiness means to her, and how through practicing mindfulness and expressing gratitude, you can change your whole perspective.
What is International Day of Happiness?
International Day of Happiness was first introduced by President of the World Happiness Foundation, Jayme Illien, to the United Nations in 2011. Founded by the UN and its partner non-profit, Action for Happiness; International Day of Happiness was established in 2012 and first commemorated it 20th March 2013. It has since been celebrated around the world every year.
The day is a global celebration of happiness, which encourages people to spread positivity around the world – a lot of this is carried out via social media.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Happiness is ‘Be Mindful. Be Grateful. Be Kind’, which aligns very closely with our company values at CEL Solicitors, namely ‘Gratitude is our attitude’ and ‘Be kind’. I feel extremely fortunate to work at CEL, where our mental health is prioritised and we, as staff, are put first as a ‘people before profits’ law firm.
Be Mindful. Be Grateful. Be Kind.
To me, happiness is not something we can chase after and hold onto – it’s something we can feel if we’re intentional about the things that we do.
People often view happiness as something we just are – as if when we are happy, we are just happy, and when we are sad, we are just sad. But as author, Steve Maraboli said, “happiness is a state of mind, a choice, a way of living; it is not something to be achieved, it is something to be experienced”.
I don’t think we can feel happy all the time. It’s harder to reach a state of happiness when you are feeling low, which is why I always tell people to look for the little bits of positivity in each day. No matter how low your mood is, you can find one moment of happiness in your day which can change your whole perspective. This can be small things such as how you spend your mornings, watching the sunset or sunrise, looking at the moon and the stars, seeing somebody smile, or just enjoying a nice cup of tea or your favourite meal.
It’s also important to be mindful when experiencing these moments. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment and expressing gratitude for that experience. Therefore, I believe that happiness is a practice; a practice of being mindful, being present, expressing gratitude, and creating space for those little moments that make you happy. When you’re struggling to feel happy, hold onto hope. For me, hope stands for Hold On Pain Ends. You may find this gentle reminder easier to hold on to, rather than trying to find actively happiness.
My Top Tips for Happiness
- My belief is that happiness comes from within. It must start with you, and you need to build a sacred space within yourself that you can go to when things are hard and when you need to prioritise your happiness and well-being.
- Remember that you must do whatever it is that makes you happy, whether that be going to the gym, watching a movie in bed, cuddling your pet or dancing to your favourite songs.
- You are the creator of your own happiness. However, you can also create moments of happiness in other people’s day just be being kid towards them. Remember, a smile can be contagious. Why not try doing one small act of kindness for a friend or a stranger today and be the reason for their little moment of happiness.
- If you to start practicing mindfulness and gratitude but have no idea how to begin, start small. You can take a few minutes each day to be in the present moment, start or end your day by writing down 3 things you are grateful for, listen to positive affirmations, try yoga, exercising, reading a book, breathwork, meditation, go for more walks in nature, or practice self-care. Whatever you do make sure it is creating space for your happiness. Remember, YOU deserve to feel happy.