The sun is shining. Your friends and family are nearby. You’re reading a good book. And in the midst of a big hearty, smile, it’s hard to imagine that the happiness you are feeling inside could simply be a knee-jerk response to a chemical bodily reaction.
What is happiness really?
Certainly happiness is an emotional state that can be reached when you’re feeling positive. The Merriam-Webster dictionary essentially says the same thing. They describe happiness as “the state of being happy” or “an experience that makes you happy.”
Scientists use different definitions of happiness depending on their research focus, but various studies have determined the two main components needed to create a happiness measure.
Happiness is determined by a combination of how satisfied you are with your life and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis. (There’s a really great infographic here if you want to learn more about the science of happiness.)
On a global scale, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, defines happiness as:
Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.
Gross global happiness is important because it measures how social, economic, and environmental factors are personally impacting us. This is why the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed March 20 to be the International Day of Happiness; to recognize the relevance of happiness in the lives of individuals around the world.
Happiness is complex
There’s much we can learn as individuals and as a planet about happiness. To celebrate International Day of Happiness, we’ve put together a quiz. How much do you really know? Find out below! (Or click here if you can’t see the quiz.)
Take Action Challenge
Take the quiz to see how much you know about happiness. Share your results with your friends using #HappyDay and #happinessday.
Lead photograph by Marcism, Creative Commons 2.0