Dr SHIRISH KHEDGIKAR
Happiness is mental or emotional state of positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal. Since 1960’s happiness research started in clinical research, psychology and economics.
The United Nations (UN) believes that the agenda of ending poverty, reducing inequality and protection of nature may lead to happiness all over the world. “Keep Calm, Stay wise, Be kind” is the theme of this day, declared by the UN this year. ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ declared by the UN in 2015 include creation of happiness in the lives of the people around the world. Hence, the theme declared by the UN during Covid-19 pandemic is promoting the positive ways to look after ourselves and each other, during this period of the global crisis.
Advice to keep calm will help every individual in constructive response. Wise choice of positive action will be helpful for every one. Kindness to help others always helps to build a happier society for everyone. It’s not all about money, we can give our time, ideas and energy for society. People with strong relationship are happier, healthier and live longer. Our close relationship with our family members and friends gives happiness. Unplugging from gadgets, spending time outdoors, eating healthy food and taking enough sleep always makes us active and being active makes us happier. Learning new things like new sports or musical instrument makes us curious engaged and happy. If we learn resilience, we can respond and react well in traumatic and stressful situations. People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier and experience less stress, anxiety and depression.
Gross National Happiness is the term coined by the then President of European commission Sicco Mansholt in 1972. His idea was promoted and popularized in 1990 by Jigme Wangchuck, King of Bhutan. UN, in 2011, appealed to all members nation to measure happiness of the citizen by using the index. His country adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. Every year, the World Happiness Report is released by the UN on March 20. As of March-2020, Finland was ranked the happiest country in the World, three times in a row. It is followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. Afghanistan, South Sudan and Zimbabwe received the lowest scores. India got rank 118 in 2016, 122 in 2017, 133 in 2018, 140 in 2019 and 144 in 2020, getting lower and lower scores. This must be a matter of great concern for us. The UN has declared that happiness must be public policy objective of all countries. More inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication and ultimately happiness.
(The writer is Associate Professor at Government Dental College and Hospital, Aurangabad)