Kabir Nadkarni

International Day of Happiness

March 20, 2023

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.

Activities for International Day of Happiness:

The happiness calendar is for students, faculty and staff at the University of Alberta. Use the calendar to learn about events, consider tips and learn from other resources focused on the importance of our own and others’ well-being and happiness.

Try some suggestions in the calendar and you can enter to win a door prize:

Happiness Reflected: A Community Poetry Project

 Happiness Reflected is a collection of original poetry from our campus community that Days of Action has curated intentionally for Happiness Day. With a true community effort, this poetry collection is available in a variety of formats. You can view posters of select poems and pick up a free copy of a chapbook from any University of Alberta Library location starting March 20 (while supplies last). 

You can also listen to our limited series podcast where we reflect on what the poems in the collection can help us learn about happiness. You can listen here or on most platforms you use for podcasting.

The Happiness Reflected Community Poetry Project has been made possible through partnership with University of Alberta Library and the Sound Studies Institute.

Download the Poetry Book

Listen to the Podcast 


Happiness Awards

Happiness Awards provide a way to share some gratitude for folks in our campus community. Take a moment and think about people you know in our campus community who have contributed to your happiness or helped you out over the course of the year or maybe you know someone who will benefit from some encouragement.

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 20, 2023.

Nominate someone

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.
Practice Meditation
A large body of evidence indicates that meditation and mindfulness decreases negative emotions, and there is also evidence that practising loving kindness meditation has the potential to increase positive affect and happiness Read more here.
Cultivate Happiness

An article published in the journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests that happiness and wellbeing can be nurtured and cultivated using a scientific framework consisting of four pillars of well-being: awareness, connection, insight and purpose.

Express appreciation to someone and cultivate gratitude

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). Gratitude 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! 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.” 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, drink water, rest and appreciate what your body allows you to do. Book a consult with a nutritionist at the University Health Centre, read about positive body image, learn about sleep hygiene, purchase affordable groceries from WECAN food basket or through our Campus Food Bank.
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.

Ask for help

Reach out to your support network. 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. If you are looking for support at the University of Alberta, a good place to start is the Student Service Centre.

Take on a happiness challenge
Print our Happiness Challenge worksheet. It has five activities that have been scientifically proven to increase happiness!