International Day of Happiness

March 20
March 20, 2022

“Happiness For All, Ukraine” is the official International Day of Happiness campaign theme for 2022. It is a call to all of us to stand together with Ukraine.

Before 2014 when the war started for Ukraine, it was in the top 100 happiest countries! But starting from 2015 (in 2014 the ranking was not published) the country began moving down the ranking: to 111th place in 2015, 123rd in 2016, and 132nd in 2017, while the number of countries in which happiness was measured remained more or less the same.
In 2017 Ukraine reached its historical minimum and became the unhappiest country in Europe! And ended it in the top five of countries with the most negative happiness ranking dynamics in the past 10 years:-(
According to the Gallup survey that year, a solid majority of Ukrainians (57%) believed their life was getting worse. Secondly, nearly half of the country’s population (46%) said that sometimes they didn’t have enough money for food and for satisfying the basic needs.

Peace and stability is hugely important for human well-being. People who live in societies that suffer from conflict, war and poverty, qualify their lives the lowest.
When given the choice, citizens tend to choose democracy and hope over autocracy and fear.
Democracies are significantly happier than authoritarian and other non-democratic regimes on average, according to an analysis of happiness by regime type.

But by starting the war with Ukraine in 2014 Russian invader and suppressor Putin didn’t become any happier either! In 2021 he said to Biden: “There’s no happiness in life. There’s only a mirage on the horizon.”
Power doesn’t make happy!

And being rich does also not make us happy.
“As long as the material level is very low and the people focus on improving their wellbeing, the level of happiness is on the rise [in parallel with the rising standard of living]; but once the basic needs have been satisfied, getting still richer does not lead to greater happiness,” said Iryna Bekeshkina, head of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation in Vox Ukraine.

Bhutan already knew that in 1972 when the country declared the value of national happiness more important than national income. They use the Gross National Happiness (GNH) to measure the collective happiness and well-being of the population. The concept was promoted internationally and was embraced by the United Nations, which was the start of the International Day of Happiness.

The desire for happiness is universal.
The goal of the International Day of Happiness is happiness and well-being for all and to achieve more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth.

“Acts of kindness and generosity can help us cope in difficult times by giving us a sense of purpose, something practical to focus on and showing the strength of the human spirit. We can build good mental health by taking positive action to help others,” Dr Mark Williamson, co-founder and Director of Action for Happiness.

“The lesson of the World Happiness Report is that social support, generosity to one another, and honesty in government are crucial for well-being. World leaders should take heed. Politics should be directed to the well-being of the people, not the power of the rulers,” Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, world-renowned US professor of economics at Columbia University, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist.

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