From reducing stress and combating illness to enhancing our immune system and even lengthening our lives, the benefits of happiness abound. So much so that the United Nations convened to draw attention to and prioritize the importance of the positive emotion by designating March 20 each year as International Happiness Day.

What is International Day of Happiness?

In 2011, the United Nations came together to put focus on mental health and the well-being of people over financial and economic growth and adopted a resolution recognizing happiness as a fundamental human goal. The following year, the UN held the first conference on Happiness, and in 2013, the first-ever International Day of Happiness was celebrated.

A global affair, the annual event highlights authentic, sustainable happiness, one that comes from true connections and is rooted in fulfillment. Each year, a new theme is assigned to the day – 2013 honored Happy Heroes, 2014 asked people to Reclaim Happiness, and 2015 centered on Relationships. The theme for 2021 is Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind., which reminds us that there is much about life that is out of our control and the importance of breathing, taking time to make good choices, and building connections with those around us.

International Happiness Day events range from conferences and concerts to coffee dates and quiet corners with a good book – all with the aim of spotlighting the significance of happiness, how we create it and how we make it last.

Five Great Ways to Celebrate International Day of Happiness

Pay it Forward

Whether it’s taking care of a neighboring table’s lunch bill, volunteering at a local non-profit organization, or donating blood, acts of kindness are a win-win, bringing joy to all involved. And the more the merrier!  A great way to foster a sense of belonging and optimism, share positive vibes with friends and strangers by hitting the streets in a group to spread cheer. Hand out compliments, treats, and high-fives, or simply just exchange friendly hellos with folks around town. You can really make your day by delightfully making theirs.

Move your Body

Hit the trails for a heart-pumping hike in nature and the fresh air. Call up your squad for a pickleball tournament. Or just turn up the tunes for a living room dance party with the kiddos. No matter how you get those muscles moving, you are guaranteed to increase your energy and improve your mood. Big or small, keep the anxiety-blasting and spirit-boosting benefits going by setting goals to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Take the stairs, ride your bike to work, or play tag in the backyard, every little bit adds up to big bliss!

Connect with Others

Humans are social by nature, so it’s no wonder that our relationships bring us so much pleasure. Enjoy an afternoon of tea with your grandparents. Let them tell stories of their childhood, of their parents, or how they fell in love. Jot them down in a journal or create a family scrapbook so that you can carry the love with you and share with others. Or, treat a new coworker to lunch and find out how they got their start in the profession. Learn where they grew up and went to school or about their favorite hobbies. Interestingly enough, building connections can improve self-esteem and reinforce your sense of identity. However, the key to creating long-lasting bonds that comes from spending time with others is being present in your interactions. So put down that phone, ask a lot of good questions and listen, really listen, to their responses. And let them do the same. It will pay off tenfold for both of you in the end.

Meditate

Breathe, calm, center. In a world that can feel filled with uncertainty, these three simple actions can help to elevate you out of the chaos and into a more balanced headspace to see the bigger picture. Take the day to kick off the healthy habit of weekly or daily meditation. In the long term, your new regimen can promote emotional health, a more positive outlook, improved interpersonal connections, and even generate kindness. The great thing about meditation is that it doesn’t require any special equipment. You can really do it anywhere – your bedroom, your office chair, the park – anytime you need it.

Take Time For You

At the core of International Happiness Day is finding sustainable joy within yourself. Go beyond the retail therapy or sugar high from your favorite ice cream sundae, and take the time to self-reflect and tap into your well-being. Begin a gratitude journal and hone in on what you are truly thankful for in your life. If needed, talk with someone and make your mental health a priority. Or take a solo trip and attend the World Happiness Summit. Either way, honor the day by educating yourself on how to use the correct tools in building a more fulfilling life.

Send a Friend a Gift Just Because

Everyone loves getting a good gift! Especially when it’s for no reason, the jubilant emotions are amplified. For the giver and the receiver, a meaningful gift just because is a heartwarming token of affection. The generosity and the thought behind the rewarding exchange can lift both people’s spirits and strengthen the ties in their relationship.

A wonderful way to pay homage to International Happiness Day, ProFlowers’ offers a stunning selection of Just Because gifts that make it easy to find something for everyone. Have a college friend who now lives on the opposite coast? A sweet-scented bouquet that is bursting with beautiful blooms will light up her smile and remind her of the friendship you forged in those ever so delightful dorm days. Has your neighbor been facing some health challenges? A charming potted plant to place on their side table will not only breathe life into their space but can help to speed up recovery and serve as a healthy distraction from the difficulties at hand. Don’t forget – everyone loves chocolate! And we have plenty of it.

Whether you are near or far, pull those you love a little closer this International Day of Happiness with a special delivery from ProFlowers. The benevolence felt by the both of you is sure to leave an enduring impression.