This Sunday 20 March is the International Day of Happiness, a date first proclaimed by the United Nations 10 years ago to recognise the importance of happiness and wellbeing as universal human goals and aspirations.

To mark the day, we’ve compiled some of our favourite strategies to help you bring more joy into your life by strengthening your social connections, practising self-compassion and taking time for gratitude.

Which will you try?

 

Social connection

We’re hard-wired to connect. However busy we are, we can only thrive when we nurture our relationships, our sense of belonging and our ability to connect with others and ourselves. Indeed, US research has suggested that a lack of social relationships rivals smoking and obesity as a major health risk factor.

Microstep: Perform one small act of kindness for someone each day.

From holding the door for a stranger to lending a hand to a colleague, these micro-moments of giving will make others feel valued and fill you with a sense of purpose.

Microstep: During your day, make a personal connection with someone you might normally tend to pass by and take for granted. 

Engaging with others in small ways can help you feel more alive and connected to the moment.

Microstep: When you come across something that makes you laugh, share it. 

Spreading humor and joy is a great way to transcend the challenges of the everyday.

 

Self-compassion

Self-compassion is the practice of offering yourself the same compassion you would to another person. People who are compassionate to themselves “are much less likely to be depressed, anxious and stressed, and are much more likely to be happy, resilient and optimistic about their future”, according to a leading researcher in the field, Dr Kristin Neff of the University of Texas at Austin.

Microstep: Each morning, repeat an affirmation that shows compassion for yourself.

Make it simple and declarative: “I am enough.”

Microstep: Reframe negative self-talk by treating yourself as you would a good friend.

Help overcome your inner critic by giving yourself the compassion and reassurance you’d offer a friend in the same situation. Turn your limiting belief (“I feel like I’m failing”) into a positive one (“You’re doing your best” or “You’re much more than the last thing you did”).

 

Gratitude

The impact of gratitude goes well beyond just feeling thankful. The University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good magazine notes that practising gratitude “has proven to be one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction; it also boosts feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions”.

Microstep: Before bed, write down three things you’re grateful for.

This has been shown to lower stress levels and create a greater sense of calm.

Microstep: Say a heartfelt “thank you” every day.

You have an opportunity to add something meaningful to someone else’s day – and might be surprised by the effect you have.

Thrive Global Asia Pacific

An alliance between Thrive Global and Monash University with the mission to end the stress and burnout epidemic. The partnership brings an evidence based approach to well-being and performance and will work with organisations to deliver programs that lift the performance, resilience, engagement and mental health of employees.

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Any personal information you provide via this website will be collected by Monash University and Thrive Global for the purposes of delivering the Thrive program to you and to send you marketing communications, if you choose to receive them.

To see how Monash handles your personal information please refer to our Data Protection and Privacy Procedure and Visitors and Enquirers Data Protection and Privacy Collection Statement or contact dataprotectionofficer@monash.edu
To see how Thrive Global handles your personal information please see thriveglobal.com/privacy/.