Be grateful and celebrate International Day of Happiness, says NCC


To mark this occasion the National Council for Children (NCC) has contributed the following article.
“Happiness is what we need – From Seychelles for the world to see - Happiness can set us free – Seychellois let’s be happy”– These lyrics from famous local country singer David Deltel, who is also NCC’s Goodwill Messenger, were first heard at the opening of the NCC’s ‘Happiness Conference’ at the International Conference Centre last May. 

Nobody knew that a month later, members of the international community, through the United Nations, would declare March 20, 2013 as the International Day of Happiness.
Now why would the UN make a matter as private and subjective as happiness into a public and global one?

As with many a good fairy tale, the whole thing started with a king wanting the best for his country. In 1972 the King of Bhutan, a tiny and poor, yet happy Himalayan Kingdom, grew tired of countries being measured by its gross domestic product solely, and coined the term Gross National Happiness (GNH) to adopt a more holistic outlook, where spiritual well-being of citizens and communities are given as much importance as their material well-being.

Happiness means the quality of life as each person experiences it. This is a key outcome in itself and is an important measure of success for any country regardless of economic development. Apart from Bhutan, the happiest countries in the world are all northern European, scoring well both on wealth and political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption. The three latter factors together proved more important than income in explaining well-being differences between the top and bottom countries.

Although you may think, like many people do, that happiness comes from being born rich or beautiful or living a stress-free life, the reality is that people who have wealth, beauty or less stress are not happier on average than those who don’t enjoy those blessings. 

Research findings coming from across the world seems to indicate that happiness can be cultivated by positive life choices and can be built on one or two of the following pillars:
Devoting time to family and friends, which means investing in relationships by surrounding yourself with happy people. Being around people who are content buoys your own mood. And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you.

Build up your emotional account with kind words and actions. Be careful and gracious with critique. Let people know that you appreciate what they do for you or even just that you're glad they're part of your life and above all make an attitude of gratitude part of your life  as one of the sure ways of bringing a little happiness in your life is to practice habitual gratitude.

Happiness studies consistently link feelings of gratitude to emotional well-being. Research has shown that people who keep daily or weekly gratitude journals feel more optimistic, make more progress toward goals, and feel better about their lives overall.

If you want your children to be happy as well asking them to keep a journal may be unrealistic, but one way to encourage fostering of gratitude is to ask each member of the family to take time daily before or during mealtime for example to name aloud something they are  thankful for.  The NCC believes that ‘Gratitude Makes A Great Attitude’ and it is one way of fostering the kind of positive emotions which   will eventually lead to some form of happiness. Let us also heed the UN Secretary General’s message for International Day of Happiness and:

 “Renew our pledge to help others, so that we can contribute to common good, and promote compassion and happiness to help build the future we want” – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.