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Inspired by Iceland

How a little smile can change our world

27/03/2015 | By | Reply More

Here’s something to smile about: Global happiness is on the rise

smileOver the past two years, the United Nations held a solemnly day of happiness on the 20th of March. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of happiness, whether it is in large or in small packages.

After years of happiness research, one thing has proved fundamental – the importance of our connections with other people.

Researchers who prepared the United Nations’ second annual World Happiness Report (Year 2013) believe the global happiness is on the rise. And nowhere are the people happier, they say, than in one of the coldest corners of the planet: Scandinavia.

That’s right, though they may have to stare into a fake light for a few hours each winter to keep their spirits high, the people of Denmark, Norway and Sweden — as well as their Northern European neighbors in the Netherlands and Switzerland — reported some of the highest senses of well-being in the world in the latest iteration of the report, published by the U.N.

Some 60 nations showed significant improvements in the study, which measured citizens’ own evaluations of their lives, while 41 others worsened. Gains were more common in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, while losses were more common among industrial countries.

The U.N. released the study to urge heads of state to find a way to put happiness on the global agenda, an idea first proposed in 1972 by the former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.

At the heart of the discussion is the need to create measures to make well-being a critical component of how global leaders measure economic and social development. In other words, the strictly GDP-based approach is outdated, and a nation should been seen as succeeding not if its citizens are financially well off, but rather if they’re healthy and happy.

A profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognising that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.

March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.

10 Keys to Happier Living

Everyone’s path to happiness is different. It recognises that knowing what makes us happy isn’t enough. We have to do it. This is a simple, fun way of putting happiness at the top of your to-do list.

Why not start your happiness journey today? For each of the ten keys you’ll find information, questions, resources and a range of suggested actions to help you apply them in your daily life.

Do things for others: Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy. So if you want to feel good, do good

Connect with people: People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Close relationships with family and friends provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self worth. Broader networks bring a sense of belonging. So taking action to strengthen our relationships and build connections is essential for happiness.

Take care of your body: Our body and our mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as being good for our physical health. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of a depression. We don’t all need to run marathons – there are simple things we can all do to be more active each day. And we can also boost our well-being by unplugging from technology, getting outside and – importantly – making sure we get enough sleep!

Notice the world around: Ever felt there must be more to life? Well good news, there is! And it’s right here in front of us. We just need to stop and take notice. Learning to be more mindful and aware can do wonders for our well-being in all areas of life – like our walk to work, the way we eat or our relationships. It helps us get in tune with our feelings and stops us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future – so we get more out of the day-to-day.

Keep learning new things: Learning affects our well-being in lots of positive ways. It exposes us to new ideas and helps us stay curious and engaged. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps boost our self-confidence and resilience. There are many ways to learn new things – not just through formal qualifications. We can share a skill with friends, join a club, learn to sing, play a new sport and so much more.

Have goals to look forward to: Feeling good about the future is important for our happiness. We all need goals to motivate us and these need to be challenging enough to excite us, but also achievable. If we try to attempt the impossible this brings unnecessary stress. Choosing ambitious but realistic goals gives our lives direction and brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we achieve them.

Find ways to bounce back: All of us have times of stress, loss, failure or trauma in our lives. But how we respond to these has a big impact on our wellbeing. We often cannot choose what happens to us, but in principle we can choose our own attitude to what happens. In practice it’s not always easy, but one of the most exciting findings from recent research is that resilience, like many other life skills, can be learned.

Take a positive approach: Positive emotions – like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, and pride – are not just great at the time. Recent research shows that regularly experiencing them creates an ‘upward spiral’, helping to build our resources. So although we need to be realistic about life’s ups and downs, it helps to focus on the good aspects of any situation – the glass half full rather than the glass half empty.

Be comfortable with who you are: No-one’s perfect. But so often we compare our insides to other people’s outsides. Dwelling on our flaws – what we’re not rather than what we’ve got – makes it much harder to be happy. Learning to accept ourselves, warts and all, and being kinder to ourselves when things go wrong, increases our enjoyment of life, our resilience and our well-being. It also helps us accept others as they are.

Be part of something bigger: People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression. But where do we find ‘meaning and purpose’? It might be our religious faith, being a parent or doing a job that makes a difference. The answers vary for each of us but they all involve being connected to something bigger than ourselves.

Watch video below for you reflection.
Run time 4:42

I hope this content above can give you my dear reader, inspiration for a better world and happiness. Why not to give a little smile into your thoughts, what you can do for our planet, Earth and to do positive things for yourself as a person.



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