March 20 was the first International Day of Happiness and many of us missed it. This day was declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations and the official reasoning behind declaring such a day was “to better capture the importance of the pursuit of happiness and well-being in development with a view to guiding their public policies.”
The United Nations is not a newcomer to declaring international days. It has many of its days including such days as International Day of Jazz and International Day of Migratory Birds but none hit a nerve as did International Day of Happiness. This day was celebrated in many countries. Acts of kindness were extended to complete strangers as well as to friends and co-workers.
This day was suggested by Bhutan, which is a country that uses the Gross National Happiness Index as a means of evaluating their progress instead of the more customary gross national product index.
The intention of this day was to put more emphasis on happiness as a means by which an individual or a nation would be judged as to their success rather than by a gross national product figure. The thinking goes back to the old saying that “money can’t buy happiness” to which there has always been the answer “but it sure helps.”
The declaration by the secretary-general read “On this first Day of International Happiness let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”
This is true whether in personal,business, or even national relations. Try doing something nice for a family member or a neighbor or a business associate; you will feel better for it. Basically, you can trace such thinking back to what you were taught as a child – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal and when happy, the individual is better able to handle any adversity. This is true in a financial situation when funds are low and creditors are many, the attitude of the one in debt can make all the difference in the world.
Being happy can help in the control of finances. At one time or the other, most people spend more money than necessary just because they are not happy. The use of money to compensate for happiness usually does not work. If you buy that tie or blouse because of how you are feeling, you are compounding the problem. If you are relatively happy, chances are you will be satisfied with what you have or what you can afford.
Overspending can be closely connected with an individual’s state of unhappiness. Obviously, being unhappy leads to a detrimental approach to your saving money so it is to your benefit to get your thinking channeled into a happy arena. Most people have plenty to be thankful for if they just look around.
When children in our country refuse to eat their lunch, they are told to think about the hungry children who have no food. This seldom works but it is something we as adults can think about, not because we refuse to eat our vegetables but because we do have so much to be happy about and when we are happy, that electric bill doesn’t depress us quite so much.
As much as the United Nations has to worry about all over the world, it is significant that they should spend time promoting something as basic as a day of happiness. Happiness has to be important for the United Nations to spend their time on it. Think about it from your personal financial point of view.
Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.