The International Day of Happiness is a day to celebrate happiness. It is also known as Happiness Day.

Why do we need to celebrate happiness? Because, our inner happiness is important for our well-being. Happiness Day is being celebrated every year on March 20th.  United Nations established it in 2012. Their goal was to raise awareness that happiness is important in our lives and that we should not only be aware of it but also incorporate it, due to its’ importance for our well being, into public policy as well.

Happiness should be fundamental human right. Happiness should be part of policies to achieve sustainable development goals and eradication of poverty.

This celebration prompted me to ask, again, what is happiness, really?

Happiness, that beautiful word that makes you tickle inside. That by definition, brings smile to your face and peace to your heart. Word that increases your sense of well-being. What is happiness indeed?

Happiness is a complex concept.

As such, happiness has been a subject of a century long discussions and writings by many writers, philosophers, and others. There is no single definition that would clearly explain what happiness is, but in general, happiness is defined by positive emotions, life satisfaction and general well-being.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

Anger drains you out. Happiness fulfills you and lifts you up.

Albert Camus wrote: “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

Just live your life the best you can. Do not keep searching for it. Open up. Get out there. Make mistakes. Learn from it. Love no matter what. Do not let negativity overwhelm you. Control your mind. Direct your mind. Teach your mind to look toward the sunshine.

“Keep your face toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”

Positive emotions have wide range of feelings including joy, hope, inspiration, gratitude, awe, and others. Being positive is good for you.  Positive emotions have numerous health benefits for both your physical as well as your mental health. There is research demonstrating its’ positive effect on your cardiovascular and immune system. Positive emotions increase creativity and provide a shield of resilience when faced with stress. That shields supports not only our physical but our mental and emotional health as well.

How to be more positive? How to be happier? Happiness is an inside job:

Take time to be happy.

Smile, it is a free therapy.

Practice mindfulness.

Cultivate gratitude.

Keep gratitude journal.

Surround yourself with people you love and who love and support you.

Avoid negative people and those who put you down.

Engage in activities you love and activities that fulfill you.

Life is too short to spend it on negativity.

Your life is your sacred garden, your sacred space.

Allow into your life, only those people who are positive: bringing the peace, joy, and sunshine to your life.

Weed out people who are like weeds.

Set up boundaries.

Cultivate happiness.

Live a life that is consistent with being true to yourself.

Cultivating good and happy life is important for people of all ages: children and adults alike.

Whatever choice you make, it makes you. Choose wisely. Think happy thoughts. Be happy.

Happy people make others happy, too.

Jasminka Vukanovic-Criley MD, FACP, FHM is Awards winning physician hospitalist, educator, entrepreneur, leader. She can be reached on Twitter @criley_md and LinkedIn  

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