March 20: International Day of Happiness – and Beginning of Spring!

Today is the first international day of happiness – and no, I am not kidding! UN has declared March 20 as the Day of Happiness:
It was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June 2012. The International Day of Happiness recognizes the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings.

Me being more than happy!

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happiness is a fuzzy concept and can mean many things to many people. Part of the challenge of a science of happiness is to identify different concepts of happiness, and where applicable, split them into their components. (With material from: Wikipedia) (Source:

This day is a good occasion to think about the things that make you happy. And make yourself aware of the fact that probably you are not doing enough of these regularly. For sure, sometimes, we are not privileged to choose but whenever we can we should try to do as many things that makes us happy as possible (that’s why I have at least 4 slices of Nutella toast after a successful training session).

If I was to make a list on things that make me happy, my Top 5 could look like this:



3. Hafl and horse riding

4. Nutella

5. Time

It is not only about the material or physical things that make us happy but also the small differences in life that can make us HAPPIER. Happier in the sense of: Ok, I cannot have Nutella toasts right now, what can I do to be still a happier person (other than running into the kitchen and getting some – well, there is none left I know -.-)?

What does research say? There are plenty of studies on the sources of happiness and tons of statistics on what makes people happy or happier. Here is one list that I personally think is pretty good ( – and on top of that, easy to implement in all of our daily lives:

"The billion-dollar question is, is it possible to become happier?" said psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, Riverside. "Despite the finding that happiness is partially genetically determined, and despite the finding that life situations have a smaller influence on our happiness than we think they do, we argue that still a large portion of happiness is in our power to change. Lyubomirsky spoke here Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She and colleagues last year reviewed 51 studies that tested attempts to increase happiness through different types of positive thinking, and found that these practices can significantly enhance well-being. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

1. Be grateful – Some study participants were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that these people reported a lasting increase in happiness – over weeks and even months – after implementing the habit. What's even more surprising: Sending the letter is not necessary. Even when people wrote letters but never delivered them to the addressee, they still reported feeling better afterwards.

I could write one letter every single day as I feel so happy having such great supporters around me at the moment. I won’t be writing a letter, but I have it on my to do list to update the Special Guests Page on this blog to say thank you to at least some of them!

2. Be optimistic – Another practice that seems to help is optimistic thinking. Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future – for example, living with a loving and supportive partner, or finding a job that was fulfilling – and describe the image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people too reported increased feelings of well-being.

That is an easy one! I am a day dreamer, I can imagine myself in different scenarios in the future pretty easily… I even love doing that! So, for example, show season 2014 looks pretty awesome in my imagination! Those of you who have seen my blog post on equestrian weddings will also agree that I can see a bright horsey future!

3. Count your blessings – People who practice writing down three good things that have happened to them every week show significant boosts in happiness, studies have found. It seems the act of focusing on the positive helps people remember reasons to be glad.

What a good idea! I guess sometimes in this hectic world full of stress (self-induced many, many times if you ask me!), we forget about the small good things that happen! Let’s take for example Saturday: I was travelling 400kms to buy a trailer and when I got back home to the barn, Markus had already prepared an appropriate parking lot for us - that was so nice of him! Nobody told him to do so…and it is these small details that count!

4. Use your strengths – Another study asked people to identify their greatest strengths, and then to try to use these strengths in new ways. For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try telling jokes to lighten up business meetings or cheer up sad friends. This habit, too, seems to heighten happiness.

Definitely starting a blog increased my level of happiness tremendously! Of course, it is a lot of work that adds some sort of stress to my evenings but still, as soon as I get a single feedback or comment, I feel happy. And trying to make up new posts, gathering ideas, researching etc gives some variation to my daily life.

5. Commit acts of kindness – It turns out helping others also helps ourselves. People who donate time or money to charity, or who altruistically assist people in need, report improvements in their own happiness. 

At least I am trying to do so. And it is definitely not that you need to do save the whole world at once but rather small actions that brighten up somebody else’s day. Like telling your boyfriend that you are happy that you have him, before you mention that you are thankful for your horse ;)

All this should be enough to have a very happy March 20, but this day has more to offer: it is also the beginning of spring and equinox! The weather is bright and sunny, for me personally, it is Friday as I am off tomorrow to go to Italy to ride on the beach with Hafl. There is a wonderful weekend ahead. Now, that IS definitely more than enough to feel happy today!

One last quote that sums up all my thoughts for today and the coming two days:

Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy. Bertrand Russell

Russell just forgot to mention the word horse! ;)

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands *clap clap*

My 5 faces of happiness

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