International Day of Happiness 2023: date, what is the campaign, theme, how to take part and origins explained

The campaign is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries around the world

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International Day of Happiness takes place every year, but what is it, when did it start and how can you get involved?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the International Day of Happiness?

The event is a global celebration marking the United Nations International Day of Happiness.

It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, and is supported by a partnership of like-minded organisations.

The official website said: “With our world facing unprecedented challenges, wellbeing matters more than ever. When we choose to take action to help others, they benefit, we benefit and we set an example of kindness that can ripple out into the world too.”

What is the theme this year?

The 2023 theme for International Day of Happiness is: “Be Mindful. Be Grateful. Be Kind.”

Regarding the theme, the International Day of Happiness site explains: “There are lots of issues in our world right now. We can’t always change what is happening, but we can choose how we respond.”

It then lists “three simple steps you can use any time to help make life happier and kinder”.

Those steps are:

  • Be mindful - relax your breathing and notice: “How am I feeling right now?”
  • Be grateful - look around you and ask yourself: “What am I thankful for?”
  • Be kind - with warm feelings, ask yourself: “Who do I want to send love to?”

When did it begin?

In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognised happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples”.

The first ever UN conference on Happiness took place in 2012 and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which said the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on the same day.

It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.

When does International Day of Happiness take place?

The event takes place every year on 20 March, with all 193 United Nations member states having adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.

How to get involved

The website said: “There are many crisis situations happening around the world in Ukraine, Yemen, Gaza and elsewhere.

“Today on the International Day of Happiness we are reminded that our actions matter and that each of us can help build a more compassionate world, wherever we are.”

The campaign suggests three ways that you can spread happiness, including:

  • Sharing positive messages - spread ideas that promote peace, kindness and understanding, online and in real life
  • Connect with people - reach out to people who you know are connected to a crisis and offer your care and support
  • Give directly - donate to causes working on the front line of a crisis or find a way to help with local efforts