International Day of Happiness

International Day of Happiness is celebrated internationally on March 20

"Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama

The International Day of Happiness recognizes that happiness is a fundamental human goal and vital tool that can be used to help measure personal success.


Happiness Nominations

This year has been a year like no other and there's no doubt that our campus community will benefit from some encouragement. Take a moment to encourage someone in our campus community by nominating them for a Happiness Award – how have they contributed to your happiness or helped you out over the course of the year? You can also nominate someone who may need some cheering up.

To nominate someone, just tell us how they contribute happiness to our community. The recipient will then receive an e-card that highlights their happiness award and includes your anonymous message (if you opt to share) describing how they've brightened your day.

Nominations close at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, March 22, 2021.

Nominate Someone Today!


Download our UAlberta Happiness Calendar for simple daily prompts that you can incorporate into your day. 

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Happiness Calendar - for students
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Happiness Calendar - for staff
Download Now

Actions for Happiness:

Research indicates that there are simple ways we can take charge of how much happiness we have in our own lives. 

Incorporate physical activity into your day
Stretch, walk, or shimmy. Research suggests the mood benefits from 20 mins of exercise can last up to 12 hours! Here’s an infographic illustrating the link between exercise and a positive mood.
Take regular "tech breaks"
Whether it’s an hour or a weekend, take some time away from technology. One of our biggest roadblocks to feeling relaxed can be an unrelenting exposure to technology. Consider these boundaries.
Express appreciation to someone

Say thank you, give a compliment, nominate someone for a Happiness Award. 

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. Check out research from Harvard on how gratitude affects your life!

At least 7 benefits of gratitude have been empirically validated:(no wait, 8. Nominating someone for a happiness award is a gift that keeps giving!!)

Be good to your body
Eat nutritious food, hydrate, rest, appreciate what your body allows you to do. Book a consult with a University Nutritionist, read more about positive body image, learn about sleep hygiene, purchase affordable groceries from Fresh Routes, and drink water.
Savour the good
Take 10 minutes to revisit a positive experience. For many of us, it is much easier to recall a negative experience or a mistake than a positive outcome or a compliment. Since remembering positive experiences doesn’t come naturally it is important to set aside regular time to reflect on the good so that you can revisit it again to remind yourself of when things have been going well. It is best to do this activity in writing so that you could have different ways to experience the positive experience of the event -- first, as you’re writing, then as reading and hearing what you’ve written. And try to be as detailed as possible so you can truly capture that experience. 
Do something kind for someone else
Get involved in your community
Having a sense of belonging and connection can increase positive emotion. Relationships are an important part of our well-being and nurturing these relationships is a vital component for creating healthy connections. However, there can be many ways to connect with people either old or new in our life -- volunteer with a cause important to you, attend a personal development workshop, join a student group related to your interests/hobbies, or learn about your cultural traditions with a family member.
practice daily gratitude
This powerful practice has been shown to improve our well-being, relationships, productivity, and even our physical health! It may seem simple but we often get caught up in things that we wish were different or not quite satisfied with. But regular practice of gratitude can dramatically shift our perspective and allow us to appreciate our blessings. There are many ways to do this, such as daily gratitude journaling where you write down 3 things you’re grateful for and most importantly: WHY. This again helps us to slow down and notice the good. We can also express gratitude to others by saying “thank-you” or writing a note of appreciation. Charles Dickens is quoted as saying, “Reflect on your present blessings, of which every [person] has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all [people] have some.”
Ask for help
Reach out to your friends and supports. Charlie Brown wisely said that “asking for help isn’t weak, it’s a great example of how to care for yourself”. This article speaks to how asking for help from our social supports is a strong protective factor that helps care for our mental well-being.
Take on a happiness challenge
Print our Happiness Challenge worksheet. It was five activities that have been scientifically proven to increase happiness!