happyacts1sqToday is International Day of Happiness. In American society, happiness is considered a sport—something elusive to be pursued—something to strive for and attain at some future point in time. But is that really happiness? Today might be an ideal time to stop and consider happiness.

It feels like there may be as many definitions of happiness as there are people to ask. Merriam-Webster defines happiness as:

1: good fortune:  prosperity

2a: a state of well-being and contentment:  joy

2b: a pleasurable or satisfying experience

3: felicity, aptness

To me, happiness is less of a sport and more of a state of being, grounded in gratitude. When I take time to remember the many small, medium, and large blessings that I have to be thankful for, a sense of well-being and happiness results. A hot shower. A reliable vehicle. My home. My family. My friends. My job. My colleagues. Creative ventures. Receiving a hand-written note. Art. Flowers. Quiet moments. Raucous laughter. Don’t get me wrong: there are “things” that can make me happy, though their effects generally have a shorter shelf-life for my overall well-being.

According to Action for Happiness,

In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognized happiness as a ‘fundamental human goal’ and called for a ‘more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples’.

In 2012, the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on 20 March. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.

Mayerson Academy’s Thriving Learning Communities program applies the science of character strengths to the practice of teaching and learning. This research-based approach to improving students’ social and emotional competencies through the lens of character strengths is designed to increase motivation, engagement, learning and performance by focusing on what is strong versus what is wrong. So, celebrating happiness is a natural fit for Mayerson Academy and we are happy to partner with Live Happy to celebrate. (Last year, Live Happy led the largest awareness campaign of any organization.)

To boost awareness within our organization, we’ve created a happiness wall that we will be filling up with pledges for how we intend to share happiness with others. We are also adding photos of “things” that make us happy.

What makes you happy? How can you extend happiness to others? What #HappyActs do you plan to carry out?