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How to Celebrate International Day of Happiness

Happy International Day of Happiness! The United Nations (UN) recognizes the International Day of Happiness annually on March 20th. The campaign is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit comprised of individuals from 160 countries. 

The UN celebrated the International Day of Happiness for the first time in 2013 and has celebrated it annually every year since. The intent is to place emphasis on and prioritize the human happiness of all. The UN adopted a resolution in 2011 that reads, “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental goal,” and invites the organization’s members to take initiatives and measures to promote all people’s happiness. 

Ten Keys to Happier Living

Action for Happiness wrote about the Ten Keys to Happier Living, otherwise thought of as the activities and choices we make that influence our happiness. Here is the top ten as recommended: 

  1. Giving
  2. Relating 
  3. Exercising
  4. Awareness
  5. Trying Out (new things)
  6. Direction 
  7. Resilience
  8. Emotions
  9. Acceptance 
  10. Meaning

Ways to Celebrate International Day of Happiness Today

Whether you’ve celebrated the International Day of Happiness before or this is your first time, find some way to incorporate the activities and things that make you feel the happiest today! We have a few ideas in mind based on the Ten Keys to Happier Living: 


Donate to a charity that is significant and meaningful to you. Consider donating financially, through your skills, or by offering your time and volunteering


Schedule a date with your spouse, best friend, or any other close loved one. Look to your close relationships today and choose a favorite activity to do together with your people.

If you’re up for an additional challenge in the world of relationships, connect with someone new today. Consider reaching out to someone new on LinkedIn to add to your professional network, or greet a stranger while you’re out and about and start up a conversation. 


Get outside and move your body. Choose your favorite exercise–whether it’s a walk, a quick yoga session, or a high cardio run–you’re bound to feel great, and endorphins will be flowing afterward. 


Awareness is all about learning how to live mindfully. If this is the action for you today, consider slowing down and stopping to observe each moment of your entire day. Savor your morning cup of coffee, indulge in a long hug with a loved one that hits the sweet spot, pay more attention to the way you eat.

Stop and notice all that’s right in front of you, and be sure to write down what makes you happiest while you’re at it! As an alternative, practice meditation today. Here are some great videos to get you started.

Trying Out

Try or learn something new today! Have you ever wanted to try a food you’ve never had? Maybe oysters, or kimchi, or ceviche, for example.

If trying a new type of food isn’t your thing, opt to learn a new skill today, or at least engage in the steps necessary to help you know the skill over time. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to speak French, today is a great day to start. 


Having direction and feeling like you’re moving in a forward motion creates a feeling of accomplishment and success, contributing to our overall happiness. If this is the area you want to focus on today, consider reviewing your current goal plans, or consider setting some new SMART goals to work toward today.

Need help setting goals you can achieve? We’ve got you covered. Check out our library full of resources on goal setting.


No one can master building resilience in one day, but if you’ve been curious about learning how to take control of your reactions when adversity strikes, you can spend today learning more about the topic of resilience. It’s important to remember that we cannot choose or control what happens to us, but we can always choose how we react, and that is what resilience is all about.

Besides learning about the topic, take some time to identify challenging situations that you’ve walked through previously and what helped you bounce back. 


Find the good! Grab a journal, paper, or electronic, and write down all of the good things that have happened to you recently. Engaging in this gratitude exercise will help you identify and reflect on the good, inspiring a glass half full mindset. Positive emotions do much more for our happiness than negative ones. 


Acceptance, particularly self-acceptance, is crucial to our happiness. Identify five things about yourself that you view as flaws.

Once you’ve identified these traits or qualities, flip the script and reframe these flaws into unique, positive quirks about yourself. Ask yourself how you’re going to be kinder to yourself going forward, and then make a plan to hold yourself accountable. 


Meaning and purpose differ for every individual, but doing activities that help us feel a sense of purpose is not only rewarding, but they also allow us to live happier lives. Perhaps you participate in a volunteer group that gives you meaning or have a side hustle that feels like it’s your true calling. Maybe your sense of meaning and purpose stems from your religious beliefs. Whatever it is for you, try to engage in that activity today. 

What are you doing today to pursue happiness

About the Author

Alyssa Towns (Swantkoski)

Alyssa graduated from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. Early in her career, her interests shifted, and she works in communications and change management. She lives in Denver with her husband, and they love going on adventures together. She lives for summers in Colorado and enjoys hiking and stand up paddleboarding. She also enjoys collecting plants and stationery sets, reading self-help books, and is obsessed with the Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel. No matter where her career path leads her, writing, and sharing her experiences to help others will always be a part of her plans.