By Nicole Kiefert (@nicole_kiefert)
March 20 is a twofold day of things that should make you feel good. On calendars it is the official first day of spring, and after our latest winter everyone is probably extremely excited for the seasons to change. March 20 also marks a fairly new holiday called the International Day of Happiness.
History of Happiness Day
The International Day of Happiness may sound like something that should’ve been celebrated since the beginning of time, if not every day of your lives, but this day was officially started in June of 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly that believed “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.”
The holiday was started to spread the awareness of how important happiness and general well-being are to human life. With money and power becoming so essential in the world, it is important for us to take a step back and realize that all we really need is our health and our happiness to get by.
How You Can Spread Happiness
The first step on the main page of the U.N. website is to vote on whether you think wealth or happiness is more important. Eighty-seven percent of the people who have voted feel that happiness is more important, which means the International Day of Happiness has started to spread. The goal of the day is to reclaim happiness around the world. You can also find out how to get more involved from the website. One of the ways it is attempting to hit its goal is by having people send in photos of things that make them happy and using #happinessday.
UWO is taking part in the International Day of Happiness and we want your help. On March 20, tweet us pictures of things that make you happy or tell us what you do to make others smiling using the #UWOspreadshappiness.
Smiling Students at UWO
In honor of International Happiness Day, I asked a couple of students at UW Oshkosh how they maintained and spread their happiness to others.
UWO nursing student Leanne Neu said her friends and family make her happiest.
“I would say I’m happy when I’m with friends or my family,” Neu said. “And I think warm weather, like summer. Country music always puts me in a good mood, too. Specifically Luke Bryan and the big poster I have of him. And sleeping in now that I think of it.”
Leo Costello, a journalism major, said easygoing people with a sense of humor make him happy.
“When people have a sense of humor that allows them to laugh at anything,” he said. “Also people who don’t take life too seriously.”
Abby Schwartz, a junior at UWO and a physical therapy major, agreed that her family and friends make her happy.
“My family and friends, of course,” Schwartz said. “But I’m sure everybody says that. Petting dogs and working out make me happy too.”
Scott Bellile, another journalism major, said finishing a task or goal and feeling a sense of accomplishment is what really makes him happy.
“As a journalism student, I feel relieved but also proud when a writing assignment I’ve spent a week working on is sent off, ready for the web or a newspaper page,” Bellile said. “This also applies to finishing a homework assignment or cleaning my room, but the tasks that take extra motivation leave me with a great feeling when they’re finished.”
There are plenty of ways to express your happiness and UWO has students with a wide variety of ways to show just how happy they are.
Neu said she expresses happiness by smiling.
“Smiling, smiling is my favorite.” She said. “Sorry, that was from ‘Elf.’ But I do smile and laugh a lot. I sing badly to music when I’m happy. How do you express happiness…? I don’t know, I just do.”
Aside from smiling, Schwartz said she also likes to dance around her house to loud music.
“Well laughing and smiling are always signs that you’re happy,” She said. “But I also like to blast music and dance around my house and sing… badly.”
Costello said, “I generally just act in a good mood and I try to entertain people.”
Bellile said he can range from a laid-back happiness to an extreme ball of energy.
“When expressing my happiness, depending on the appropriate setting,” Bellile said. “I’ll either relax and smile or I’ll spring off the walls exploding with energy. “
The goal of International Happiness Day is not only to be happy, but to spread happiness. The UWO students also told us how it is they make sure others are happy.
Neu said she is generally a nice person and doesn’t like to make people upset in the first place.
“I try to make others happy by trying to be a nice person,” Neu said. “I don’t like confrontation so I pretty much try to please everyone. I like to quote movies to make people smile.”
Schwartz spreads happiness by making other people smile.
“Singing really well to them, obviously.” Schwartz said with a laugh. “Doing nice things for people or telling them stories about funny things that happened to me.”
Knowing how it feels to have a happy person come up and have a conversation with you to turn your mood around, Bellile tries to approach people just to talk and make them happy.
“I always try to express a positive attitude toward others,” Bellile said. “Some people just won’t care, but I assume others will appreciate it, because I know I feel great when I have a nice conversation with an upbeat person.”