So…what exactly is happiness?  Research in the field of positive psychology and happiness often define a happy person as “someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride; and infrequent negative emotions such as sadness, anxiety and anger.  Happiness has also been said to relate to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, but mostly it has to do with the positive experience of emotions.”

Where are you on the happiness spectrum?  Well, regardless of where you are on the happiness spectrum, each one of us has his or her own way of defining happiness.  Shirley MacLaine, Academy Award winner says this about happiness, “To be happy, you have to be willing to be compliant with not knowing.”  Michael J. Fox says, “My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.”  Dr. Shefali Tsabary, psychologist and author said, “Only when we fill our own need and feel satiated from within can we truly be fulfilled and happy.”  An anonymous writer suggests that happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now and sincerely appreciating it for everything that it is.

Did you know that there is actually a day devoted to happiness?  The INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HAPPINESS is celebrated throughout the world on March 20th.  This special day was founded by the United Nations advisor Jayme Ilhen who came up with the idea for a UN Resolution that would recognize the pursuit of happiness as a human right and a fundamental human goal.

The first INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HAPPINESS was launched in 2013 by the grandson of the late Nelson Mandela and by Chelsea Clinton.  In 2014, Pharrell Williams promoted this special day of happiness with the world’s first 24 hour music video to his record breaking song “Happy”!!!

The World Happiness Index 2016 just completed their ranking of the happiest countries on Earth.  The winner for 2016 is Denmark, followed closely by Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway.  The US ranked 13th.  So, what are the secrets to such happiness in those winning countries?  Here are some of their suggestions for raising our happiness index:

1.  Focus on staying active, not just on ‘exercising’.  Incorporate movement into your everyday life wherever you can.

2.  Appreciate the beauty of nature.  Get outdoors as often as you can.  Walk, hike, bike.

3.  Stay social, catch up with friends often, spend time with loved ones.  Make small efforts to make socializing a natural part of each day.

4.  Disconnect from the electronic world.  Turn the TV off, shut down your laptop, silence your phone. Substitute time spent with your electronic devices with time spent with family and friends, get outdoors, garden, go fishing.  Also spend some quiet time each day.

5.  Be optimistic and practice gratitude.

6.  Treat your body like it deserves to be happy.  Take time for self-care and make health a priority.

7.  Be compassionate, smile, and make friends.

8.  Accept that everything isn’t always going to be perfect.

Remember to honor your feelings, honoring who you are and where you are at each day.  Realize and remember that each day is different, we are ever changing beings.  Some days you will feel happier, stronger.  Honor where you are each day, but keep moving that needle on the happiness spectrum in the right direction.

As Deepak Chopra puts it, “We’re not nouns, we’re verbs. We aren’t fixed beings, stuck where we are, unchangeable.  We are not hard-wired but soft-wired, changeable.”

Practice how you want to be in life.


***For your listening pleasure, some ‘happy’ songs that evoke joyful and happy feelings:






blogged by N.H.