The United Nations (UN) annual International Day of Happiness has been celebrated on March 20th since 2013. Each year the UN releases its World Happiness Report which ranks 156 countries on six indicators that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. Finland is the happiest country in the world for the third year in a row, followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. Canada ranks 9th in this year’s report, the same as last year. I feel fortunate to live in a country where these important factors are valued and sustained.
We can celebrate this day by reflecting on how we can improve our own happiness and that of those around us. This is especially important right now as we face the challenges of the COVID-19 virus. Modelling a present focus, practicing gratitude and adaptability, sharing our sense of humour with our family and friends can help to maintain optimism. We can also engage in activities (with appropriate social distance of course) like acts of kindness, exercise, creative projects, reading and reflection, and spending quality time with those we live with. Perhaps when the crisis passes we will have more appreciation for the intangible values that really make life worth living…like enjoying photos of spring flowers!