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Happiness Now: What Do the U.N., Pharrell and Ellen Have in Common?

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From Pharrell William's song "Happy" at the top of the Billboard chart, to Ellen's "I am Happy" hoodie, worn backstage at the Oscars, happiness is in the news. Thursday, March 20 is the second official U.N. sanctioned International Day of Happiness, and people all around the globe are taking the opportunity to focus on happiness. From Nigeria to Mexico, from Australia to the U.K., just to name a few... individuals, families and communities are jumping on board in ways that can be really simple and surprisingly fun. How are you celebrating?

Why Is Happiness Important?
For those people who may have a bias against the word happiness, the version we're talking about does not have to do with seeing life through rose-colored glasses, or escaping into pleasurable pursuits at the expense of creating a meaningful life. With the alarming worldwide rise in anxiety and depression, developing the skills for emotional resilience is more important than ever.

As the stresses of society approach critical mass, and conversations like The Third Metric gain momentum, even entire countries are adopting measures for well-being and gross national happiness. Join the global movement to expand the happiness in your life and in the lives of those around you. Here are three easy ways to start:

1. Be inspired by the song "Happy:"

Post a youtube video of yourself demonstrating your happiness to Pharrell's track with the hashtag #HAPPYDAY and submit it to 24 hours of happiness. On International Day of Happiness, the best submissions will be spotlighted.

2. Take the pledge:
At Project Happiness, we teach students across the world the Science of Happiness so that they can learn the skills to generate happiness from the inside. Sharing happiness spreads it, and people have more influence than they know. This is a conversation that crosses all borders. Join us in the pledge:

"Happiness is contagious. I pledge to proJECT happiness forward."

Even a smile can change someone's whole day. The movement is clearly growing. In just a few years, what started as a film to help my own daughter, has expanded to educational programs in over 80 countries.

3. Share a happy moment:
Help celebrate International #happinessday: Share a photo of something that makes you happy, using #happinessday. We are partnering with Action for Happiness along with 40 other organizations to share a more authentic view of what happiness is all about.

These are just a few ideas: celebration, like happiness has many forms. This International Day of Happiness, make the choice for happiness now. While you're at it, why not extend it even longer? What we focus on grows. By acknowledging the little things that we are grateful for, the moments that are memorable, and the good that is all around, everyday can present a new opportunity to experience enhanced well-being, connection and happiness. We can all proJECT happiness forward -- it's easy. This is an invitation to rediscover something that can be a game-changer -- you have everything you need inside of you.

On International Day of Happiness or any day, what do you lean into: a happy song, connection with friends or family, being in nature -- this list goes on! What ignites your happiness and how do you spread it?

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