International Day of Happiness: ‘Acknowledge the good things that came your way’

Posted on March 15, 2019

Prof Tharina Guse, Head of the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Humanities, gives Tukkievaria readers a reason to smile as she discusses International Day of Happiness, which is celebrated on 20 March 2019.

1. In your opinion, why is the International Day of Happiness so important?

TG: It helps us to recognise the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in our lives.  It can also make people aware of extensive research on well-being, sometimes called happiness studies, which is being done in a wide range of fields including psychology, economics and education. 

 2. What are some easy strategies and practical tips to be happy?
TG: Pursuing happiness as a goal in itself may not make you happy. Most people equate happiness with positive emotions such as joy and excitement. However, we now know that happiness involves both pleasurable experiences and more meaningful aspects of life, such as positive relationships with others, having a sense of purpose, and actualizing your potential. 

Some strategies to enhance happiness and well-being are: 

  • Practice gratitude. Acknowledge the good things in the world that came your way. Also, acknowledge others’ contributions to your life. One way to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Where you can write down three things you are grateful for in your life, once a week.
  • Practice acts of kindness. This includes small things, like holding the door, or can be more formalised, such as volunteering. Even giving your time to help out a friend or co-worker can increase well-being.
  • Nurture your relationships with the important people in your life. Healthy relationships are the key to happiness.
  • Savour positive experiences. Take time to experience positive activities more slowly, like walking the dog, watching the sunset, having coffee with a friend. Even reminiscing about a holiday with loved ones can increase happiness.
  • Exercise more; it releases neurochemicals that can lift your mood.

3. What makes you happy? 
TG: Spending time with the people I care for, and to engage in meaningful work. My research in positive psychology definitely makes me happy!


- Author Shakira Hoosain

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