Wednesday, 19 March 2014

One day a year for happiness?

This blog, by Wikichild co-ordinator Melinda George, celebrates the second anniversary of the UN's International Day of Happiness. It provides background for the day as well as several initiatives to measure happiness and well-being in the UK and the EU. The post is a part of the Wikiprogress series on Happiness.

“When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.” – Ban Ki-moon, 1st annual International Day of Happiness 

The 20th March 2014, is the 2nd annual UN International Day of Happiness. This day was launched as a result of the UN resolution 65/309 which invites its member states “to pursue the elaboration of additional measures that better capture the importance of the pursuit of happiness and well-being in development with a view to guiding their public policies.” 

The focus on happiness is a result of a movement towards a more holistic approach to development and progress. This happiness and well-being approach looks further into various areas of life such as good governance, protection and preservation of the environment, the promotion of global cultures, and fair and equitable economic development. 

See this quote from the World Happiness Report
But it is not just wealth that makes people happy: Political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption are together more important than income in explaining well-being differences between the top and bottom countries. At the individual level, good mental and physical health, someone to count on, job security and stable families are crucial.
In line with International Day of Happiness, the United Kingdom Office of National Statistics released a report on Tuesday entitled “Measuring National Well-being, Life in the UK, 2014”. This report provides a snapshot of well-being in the UK regarding 10 domains, along with European comparisons. These domains include both objective and subjective data. Overall, a large majority (77%) are satisfied with their life in the UK. Alongside the report, an interactive wheel and adjustable graphs by region are available to revel in the data a little longer.

The European Union’s Eurostat released a similar online report on Wednesday in light of this UN day. The report “Quality of life indicators” provides data about well-being using its “8+1” quality of indicators framework. Eight of these dimensions concern the functional capabilities citizens should have available to effectively pursue their self-defined well-being, according to their own values and priorities. The last dimension refers to the personal achievement of life satisfaction and well-being. The report discusses trends over time and differences between countries, demographic groups and age. 

Overall EU life Satisfaction, 2011

There are many ways in which you can become involved in this UN Day of Happiness. For instance, share a photo to your social media channel using the hashtag #happinessday, and it will be added to the happiness wall here. After all, we have so much to be happy about! 

Wikichild co-ordinator

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