International Happiness Day

Our writers share what happiness means to them...

multiple writers
14th March 2020
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens, brown paper packages tied up in string, these aren’t a few of my favourite things, but they make someone happy.

That’s probably the best part about International Happiness Day, that it’s individual and it’s about celebrating the things that put a smile on your face. And if there’s one thing that puts a smile on my mug, it’s the lethal combination of Dickson’s pie, mash and gravy.

Dickson’s pie has long been something me and my family have enjoyed. A firm family favourite, my relatives have worked in the local business and eaten a lot of their produce. Coming to university, I was keen to keep to my roots and I told all my mates about Dickson’s and their wonderful pies. This led to one of my pals, Sophie, taking a keen interest in regional food, and so started pie night. Initially this started out as a “taste testing” opportunity for her, we ate the steak, corned beef and mince pie with a different assortment of potatoes and vegetables combined with gravy on top every couple of weeks in first year.

That’s truly what International Happiness Day is about, finding something that puts a smile on your face and makes you feel warm inside

We then took the pies to our Christmas party, where everyone shared them, and good festive fun was had. Since then, Sophie and I have held pie night once a month and Dickson’s pies have featured at every one of my university Christmas parties. Pie night has become such a big part of my university career, that even whilst Sophie is on placement year, she still found time to come up in January for some pie.

Food is one of the things that really brings people together, and whilst pie, mash and lots of gravy certainly brings me an awful lot of joy, it’s also a fantastic way to keep in contact and catch-up with friends. That’s truly what International Happiness Day is about, finding something that puts a smile on your face and makes you feel warm inside (literally in the case of the pie).

Rebecca Johnson

I’m a firm believer that life is about balance. That’s not to say that your life should be complete entropy. Think of life as a bag of fruit pastilles (other assorted sweets are available). There’s a reason the packets with only blackcurrant and strawberry sell much fewer than their more mixed counterparts. Only having your favourites is great- but the happiness you get from eating them lessens throughout. You need the green or yellow pastilles, whichever you don’t like, to make the ones that you do feel special

That’s my understanding of happiness. It might be a little stoic, but I believe that we do need some troughs in our lives so the peaks feel worth it. We don’t have long on this earth, and we have even less time to enjoy everything while we’re still able. Hell- we don’t even have that long at university. I do my best to accept that every day- to understand the hard, slow days. They make me savour the days filled with friends. Hunting for ghosts where we shouldn’t be, ranting about politics in the early hours, sitting down and really sharing with a friend. That’s happiness to me, and it’s a privilege that I get to enjoy so much of it. 

We do need some troughs in our lives so the peaks feel worth it

I can’t stress enough that I’m incredibly lucky to be in the position I am, especially mentally. Not every bad day can be solved with a promise that tomorrow will be better and I don’t want to give that impression. If you’re really struggling, there are professionals who can help you more than any article in a paper. [Links to services people can go to for guidance with their mental health.

Alex Darbyshire

For a long time, I didn’t know how to be happy. I spent a lot of my time feeling isolated because I thought I was the only person who didn’t laugh, smile and flourish. During my first year of university, I found out that this was due to untreated depression and a degree of trauma.

I first learnt to be happy when I was explaining to a therapist why things upset me, and realised that it was a lot less overwhelming as soon as I gave credit to the things that bothered me. Being happy to me means accepting that things make me sad. From there, I can adapt my mood to give credit to the things that make me happy.

Now, I know how to call things by their right name and how I feel is tangibly linked to what is happening. I can do things that make me happy. The people around me can say things and behave in certain ways that make me feel happy. I can change the situation I’m in to one that is happy, and I’ve finally managed to do that.

I’m happy, and I’m proud that I’ve made that happen.

Jennifer Mills

Happiness is a concept usually centred on feelings of full positivity and cheer. However, life does not go as intended all the time. When negativity permeates, it is always criticised or perceived with disappointment. Majority of inspirational quotes, self-help books and influencers reinforces an obsession with being happy. It emphasises how life experiences should always be optimistic.

Happiness is rooted in strength, passion and love

Life with all positivity conceals other emotions. It can heighten a society fearful of disclosing their identities and problems. This can have dire consequences, as individuals might pretend everything is naturally perfect all the time. Such issues cannot simply be erased or swept aside. Everyone faces challenges. Zoning out provoked emotions is unhealthy, and it does not work. No matter how we try, inconveniences strikes in our minds.
It is undoubtedly better to trudge on intense emotions, regardless of how painful they are instead of thinking that everything is fine. Happiness is rooted in strength, passion and love to continue when life feels like an impossible struggle. It really is okay not to be happy all the time. Without bad moments, it would be impossible to appreciate the little moments. Traditional discourse on happiness needs rethinking to add the ebb and flow of emotions in life.

Carl Smith Valdez

Happiness: a mindset of complete satisfaction with my own actions. That is how I define happiness. I am most happy when I know I have done my best. Whether that has been a fully day working in the library, or helping a friend in need, I am happy when I am proud of myself and satisfied with what I have achieved.
Happiness is one of the most important emotions to me, it fuels my day. I am the most productive when I am happy; I am a significantly better person to be around when I am happy; and I like to think make others happy when I am happy. I am happy when I know that others I care about are happy and when I see those who I love succeed in what they like to do. Happiness is expressed for me in many forms, a smile or a hug, or an article written for The Courier, sat at my desk after a successful days work. Happiness gives me motivation, my own happiness and the happiness of others!

Meg Howe

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