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International Day of Happiness
Guest Blog by Linda James, Founder/CEO at BulliesOut – A UK based anti-bullying charity.
March 20th is the International Day of Happiness and the theme for this year is ‘Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind’. Of course, this is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But how do we define ‘happiness’? Does happiness mean the same to you as it does to others? Does it even make a difference to our lives?
What is happiness?
There are many things that make us ‘happy’ and although happiness is not necessarily the overarching goal for everyone in life, it is pretty important as it has some undeniably positive factors.
According to Positive Psychology, happy people smile more, they have more friends, they are more helpful and have a positive influence on others. They also exercise more often, eat more healthily, are happy with what they have and generally live longer than those who are unhappy.
The impact of COVID-19 on happiness
The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has had a profound effect on the lives of many. The interventions, which include social distancing, national lockdowns, closure of non-essential workplaces and schools, and limiting of daily movement and social gatherings, have disrupted day-to-day lives. Not being able to visit or hug family members will have impacted on the happiness of even the happiest of people.
As we face this ongoing global crisis together, this year’s International Day of Happiness is a chance to find uplifting and positive ways to look after ourselves – and each other.
Staying happy during COVID-19
There are lots of things outside our control, but lots of things we can control. If the weather is good, take a walk in the sunshine. FaceTime or Zoom call your family or friends. Watch a ‘feel good’ movie. All these things will help you to keep calm, breathe and focus on what really matters so you can respond constructively.
Each person has different ideas about what is important and what makes them feel best. Making your own choices about the things you do is very important because it gives your life meaning. Making wise choices about what is important to you helps you be more independent and in charge of your life. Choose positive actions that support your well- being and help others do the same.
We’re all in this together, even when we’re forced apart. It’s important to stay connected and reach out to help others who may be in need. Kindness has been shown to increase self- esteem, empathy and compassion, and improve mood. Despite the worry and challenges Covid-19 has brought, we’ve seen groups appearing on social media, in the local community, all reaching out to try to help others through. And of course, kindness = happiness.
Whatever happens next, whatever challenges we may face, let’s all respond in the calmest, wisest and kindest way we can.
BulliesOut provide anti-bullying help, support and information to individuals, schools, youth settings and the workplace. Learn more at bulliesout.com. Follow the Host news page and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for more tips, advice and guidance.
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