Happiness is one of the most basic human aspirations. It has also become an important measure of social progress. As a happiness activist, I believe each of us can improve our own happiness by learning new skills and performing acts of kindness to influence positive social change. On March 20th, the world will celebrate the International Day of Happiness, which is an excellent opportunity to spread some joy in our communities.
As part of my 12-year journey as a happiness activist, I have been spreading awareness about the importance of prioritizing happiness for ourselves as individuals, and also for governments and organizations. In 2012, I had the opportunity to participate in a high-level meeting at the United Nations hosted by the government of Bhutan on “Happiness and Well-Being.” Other activists such as Jayme Illien, Hamid Al-Bayati, and I had the opportunity to launch the International Day of Happiness established by the U.N.’s General Assembly Resolution 66/281. (Here is a video from our celebrations back in 2013 🙂
At Coursera, I have been able to combine my passions for happiness and education by working to bring universal access to world-class learning to my home region, Latin America.
It is scientifically proven that learning improves happiness. In fact, as positive psychology expert Vanessa King writes, “learning something new is actually a core need for psychological well-being. Learning can help us build confidence and a sense of self-efficacy. It can also be a way of connecting with others too.” She adds, “As human beings, we have a natural desire to learn and progress. Psychologists call it mastery.”
CALL TO ACTION
Join us to celebrate the International Day of Happiness on March 20!
- Wear yellow: Wear something yellow on March 20th and wish a happy day to at least three people during the day.
- Happy minute: March 20 = 3.20 = Happiness Minute. Happiness needs a destination (3:20 p.m); a reason (positivity); a frequency (every day at 3:20 pm). Wish a happy day to someone at 3:20 pm.
- Spread the word: Share pictures or videos of people or things that make you happy, using #happyday and #InternationalDayOfHappiness
3 ways to celebrate the International Day of Happiness
1. Learn something new! Learning improves our lives, and learning has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity. So, start a course on Coursera! When people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.
2. Connect with your community. Celebrating with our communities makes a difference, and all around the world, people are organizing opportunities to celebrate this day and help to spread more happiness throughout their local communities.
3. Practice inclusivity. Connecting directly with others can help to overcome the challenges of social isolation and loneliness—particularly for those who may not have strong family or social networks to turn to and rely on. The International Day of Happiness is addressing a major social issue in a positive, inclusive, and inspiring way.
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank all the happiness activists around the world who keep inspiring us with their projects, ideas, and actions. Spreading happiness is not always an easy task, but it is worth it!
Mario Chamorro, Head of LatAm at Coursera and Happiness Activist
P.S. Here’s a picture of the celebrations of our 2019 International Day of Happiness at Coursera (: