20 March 2016

Be happy! ...today is International Happiness Day

Blogging about happiness may seem eccentric, but today is the United Nations International Day of Happiness, and happiness is good, so I thought it deserved a mention.

The day was inspired by a speech Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave at a UN General Assembly meeting on Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm. The meeting was an initiative of Bhutan, a country that rates national happiness above national income and has adopted a goal of Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product.

The Secretary General stated that the world “needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness."

The General Assembly subsequently proclaimed March 20th the International Day of Happiness recognizing "the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives."

This year, the International Day of Happiness is focused on Climate Action for a Happy Planet. I don't imagine the planet is too happy with us, but if we could all just start ranking its welfare over Gross National Product, we might cheer it up.


  1. And the "World Happiness Report 2016 Update" has announced a winner, Denmark, which has edged out the previous title holder, Switzerland. Not surprisingly, inequality has been found to be a major factor in lowering national happiness.

  2. Here's a link to the report:


    Canada is rated #6 after Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. The U.S. is #13 while Japan places an astonishing 53rd, behind Ecuador and Belize.

  3. Six out of 157 ain't bad. I'm happier already.

  4. Jeebus, Bill, there's also this. I realized that there's one other country, immediately ahead of Canada on the happiness scale - Finland. That got me thinking. I had always understood that Finland had an unusually high suicide rate. So, I Googled that apparent contradiction:





  5. I once did a quick study of suicide rates and the only significant correlation I could find was with latitude. And, if I remember correctly, Eastern European countries were exceptionally high.