Shortcut to HappinessFebruary 10, 2015

"The pursuit of happiness lies at the core of human endeavours."

- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

The decision of the United Nations (UN) to declare March 20 as the International Day of Happiness may seem bollocks. But the organisation has special days for poetry. There are also observances on rural women, seafarers, and migratory birds. Let's not forget Mother Earth. The campaign may be confusing, as happiness is subjective. Furthermore, different cultures mean different concepts on happiness. So how can the UN make the Syrians aware of this event? War and politics mustn't be part of this campaign. But it's easier said than done.

The UN released the first World Happiness Report three years ago. Economic state, social customs, and political affairs would be considered as factors. Let's not forget to go into the personal level, which is not less complicated. Todd Solondz illustrated it in the critically-acclaimed "Happiness". But the film generated controversy. Themes included pedophilia and sexual abuse, which are rather depraved. But Solondz was curious about the source of human despair. As his characters would show, the pursuit of happiness could led us astray from what would be morally acceptable. It might be a part of the mainstream of humanity, but not everyone will understand it.

Attaining happiness may not be as simple as singing "Happiness", but Pharrell Williams's hit can do wonders. (And if you're coming from an older generation, "Don't Worry, Be Happy".) But there are many ways to achieve it. They may be your Northwest Passage:

Connect to other people. We should be grateful about technology, as getting in touch could happen in a matter of seconds. This wasn't the case back then, which was why snail mail was considered valuable. There would be no excuse to isolate yourself from the rest of the world (unless you're an introvert). And strangers can be friendly too. (It helps to be anonymous in the Internet.) So don't sulk. Go online.

Let's be friendly and respectful with everyone. It's possible to meet people from other parts of the world. But there's the language barrier. Let's not forget our different backgrounds, where problems might arise. Nothing to worry about, as long as you smile. Be open and mindful.

Do more with less. We're living in a consumerism era, where many of us are taught that having more would make us happy. Blame it on those TV ads. Celebrities are at fault too. Although this belief works when we need retail therapy, you must think of the long run. Who wants excess things? Too much is not good at all. (If you don't believe it, then look at the mirror.)

Think of happy thoughts. If you get the blues, then remember the happy moments from your past. Travellers have come up with something better, which is surrounding their place with souvenir items and photographs from their past trips. They know when to look when they need to let go of unhappy thoughts.

Remember who you love. Be grateful for your loved ones. Cherish your mates. Don't forget that it's not bad as it seems.

The International Day of Happiness is a month away, but why bring it up too soon. It's universal. It's a all-year round event (if you think about it). Cheer up.

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