Oh, haven’t we heard just about it all? The philosophers have made their analysis, our parents have given their counsel, our friends have keyed in on the matter and the media has left no stone unturned when it comes to the subject of happiness. 

Netflix is just one of the few streaming services that provides an array of films genre by genre, most with a noticeable recurring theme; the pursuit of happiness. 

That’s why we have cinematic culminations like Euphoria which is a raw and murky representation of how the masking of pain and extreme pursuit of pleasure and happiness can lead to self-destruction as well as those of others. 

But what exactly is happiness, 

We clearly know what sadness feels like, but happiness takes different shapes and forms for each individual. According to VeryWellmind, “Happiness is an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfilment. When people are happy they feel an overwhelming sense of positivity, confidence and life satisfaction.

UN’s annual International Day of Happiness 

In 2012, the United Nations recognised the 20th of March of every year, as the international day of happiness. This action signified the integral role happiness plays not only at an individual level, but also at a national and global level. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ninth World Happiness Report 2021 aside from evaluating how governments in different countries dealt with the pandemic, also focussed on how the virus affected the structure and quality of people’s lives around the world. The report assessed 149 countries where Finland ranked first as the happiest country and Kenya took the 121st position. 

Is Kenya a happy country?

If you and I based our findings on the banter that takes place on Twitter, our report would surely conclude that Kenyans are the happiest humans.

However, looking at facts a few major indicators play an integral role in determining whether a country is happier than the next and why it ranks at a certain position. Such include wealth, safety, availability of opportunities, and how industrialised a country is.

Comparing any of the European countries – which make the first nine countries on the list – to Kenya, we can rest assured that we live in different time zones (every pun intended).

At the bottom of the list, we find Rwanda, zimbabwe and Afghanistan. According to experts, this ranking is contributed to by poverty, instability and war issues. 

This, however, doesn’t imply that happy countries do not partake in war. Russia was ranked 76th in the 2021 report, while Ukraine ranked 110th. How the war happening between the two countries will affect their rankings in the 10th world happiness report is left to be seen. 

Celebrating the International Day of Happiness amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine

Happiness For All – Ukraine, marks the theme for this year’s day of happiness celebration. Focus is on the essence of happiness within countries and on the other hand highlighting the detrimental effects of war.

This is following the current military conflict happening between Russia and Ukraine that has led to at least 15k deaths, 3.2 million people displaced, 1.9k people suffering fatal injuries, 1.7k buildings destroyed and a total worth of 119 US billion dollars of property damage. 

Reporting on the matter, the campaign arm of United Nations International Day Of Happiness, announced that #HappinessForall is a call to all humanity to stand in solidarity and support against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“If we lost democracy and freedom, there would be no global goals for sustainable development, and no global happiness or well-being for all life on earth by 2050, as per UN 65/309 and UN 66/281 consecutively.” Happiness.org

What can you do to stand with Ukraine for the happiness of all civilization and humankind?

  • Take responsibility for yourself and for others.
  • Take part in compassionate actions. Find out more in the infographic attached below.

The human element of happiness and how it contributes to the national picture

The science of happiness provides clear evidence as to why humans need happiness in their lives.

When you are happy, you attract more positivity and good energy back to you which reflects around the things you do and the people around you. A happy self conjures new thoughts, new ideas, new decisions, new actions and the right actions lead to success and happiness.

The best you for everyone is the you that follows the path you want to follow without guilt but truth and wisdom. 

If happiness is a choice what is the secret to real happiness?

Everybody has a different definition of happiness because no two paths to happiness are the same. However, the emotion released and what sustains and secures that happiness whenever we feel it remains the same.

The misconception is often that a sudden change to a specific life situation, say getting an unexpected amount of money, would surely yield happiness. However, such a drastic would eventually not lead to happiness but huge problems.

The progress from point A to B is on the other hand, is what gives you the confidence, stability and resilience that absorbs the shocks that life will inevitably throw your way. Otherwise, what would be the use of having everything when you lack the ability to use and manage it to your advantage?

The Pursuit of happiness

In our age where the pursuit of happiness has become somewhat an obsession, numerous studies have indicated that this obsession could be making us less effective at reaching our goals and less content with our lives.

However when we reach a state where we can distinguish happiness from the means to happiness then we are able to live in fulfilment contentment without the disappointment that comes when things don’t work out. 

Even though our possessions have the ability to make us happy,  what truly makes one happy is not the continuous accumulation of material things. It is the wisdom and capacity to constantly negotiate moral choices that are presented to us on a daily basis – for a better future, while appreciating what we already have in the present.