Last Thursday was the first day of spring. If that wasn’t enough to please you, it was also the second annual International Day of Happiness. The United Nations General Assembly made it official by recognizing wellbeing as a fundamental right of people throughout the world.
The United Nations Foundation and Grammy Award winning musician Pharrell Williams teamed up to put some synergy in motion. The focus of the online happening was Pharrell’s infectious song “Happy.” You can watch funky videos from all over the world here or listen to a jazz rendition here.
If you missed all the exhilaration, you now have plenty of time to get ready for next year. In preparation, why not make a happiness resolution? Choose one action that feels good and make it a daily practice.
Take a smile, for example. It’s easy to produce and doesn’t cost anything. Laughter, with a touch of humor, can improve communication and warm a cold heart in the midst of an argument. If you put a grin on your face, others see you as open and friendly, even fun loving. Notice that when your eyes twinkle, the faces of loved ones, and even strangers, light up.
Smiling is universal and understood by all. And it happens without much thought. Louis Armstrong’s “When You’re Smiling” rings true–it’s contagious. If a police officer lets you off without a ticket or you’re recognized for excellence in your work, you beam. Smiling is a natural response that shares happiness with others.
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln
Over 40% of happiness is attributable to intentional activity; that is, what we do for ourselves. Smiling is a powerful tool. It releases endorphins that are natural pain relievers and can improve your mood. According to some studies, smiling can lead to stronger relationships and a better quality of life.
There really is no quick fix when you’re in a bad mood or feeling blue. And ‘if only’ thinking–I had a better job, relationship, personality–won’t necessarily make you happy. But putting a smile on your face is a non-verbal interaction that can make you feel like a million bucks. Why not exercise your emotional options today and every day? So go ahead, choose happiness.