Coming April 13, 2012, thanks to the good folks at Sustainable Seattle:
|Pursuit of Happiness Day|
|Happiness is as American as Apple Pie. April 13th is the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, author of the famous “pursuit of happiness” line in our Declaration of Independence.Friday, April 13, 2012 is the first Pursuit of Happiness Day. The event will be a national festival/teach-in on American campuses,
Interest in measuring and promoting well-being or happiness, instead of simply increases in Gross Domestic Product, is galvanizing people around the world. The science of happiness has exploded in universities around the world. The most popular class at Harvard is now a class about happiness, from which hundreds of students are turned away each year due to demand. Business leaders like Tony Hsieh are coming to understand the great importance of well-being in the workplace. The United Kingdom just launched its Action for Happiness Day and campaign to great fanfare, and its Prime Minister announced that the UK would publish a happiness index with quarterly GDP figures. Cities and universities in Brazil have launched happiness campaigns as has the city of Victoria, BC. In the US, Sustainable Seattle is leading a city happiness initiative that is spreading to other places—including small towns like Decorah, Iowa. The Gallup-Healthways organization now polls people’s the positive affect aspect of happiness in the US on a daily basis, and in 150 other countries around the world.
2011 Focus on Universities
US campuses were the launching pad for the enormously successful Earth Day in 1970, the much more limited, Take Back Your Time Day in 2003, and Bill McKibben’s hugely popular 350 events around climate change in 2009. Sadly, counselors at American universities have witnessed a major increase in depression in recent years—at Cornell University, six students committed suicide in the last year alone. Pressures on students are taking a toll. A focus on what they can do to improve their lives and their happiness is an imperative today.
We need a vision of the future that sustains us. Happiness is subject that allows nearly all disciplines on campus to participate and contribute their knowledge to a teach-in and celebration. Happiness scientists, working for the United Nations in the Kingdom of Bhutan, have identified nine essential domains of happiness. Neglect of any of these ultimately reduces personal and social well-being. Here are the domains, and academic disciplines connected with them that could be encouraged to participate in Pursuit of Happiness Day:
• Psychological Well-Being: psychology, pharmacy, theology
Inter-disciplinary teams could work together to share insights as the teach-in develops.
Get Happy: Suggested Activities for Pursuit of Happiness Day
The focus should be on the personal, social and policy dimensions of happiness, and the aim should be to get students more engaged with each other, their colleges, their local communities and national issues. In the 2010 elections, only 21 percent of American college students actually voted.