Happiness Day

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We’ve all got things to be miserable about, but today, it seems, is the International Day of Happiness. Happiness, that’s right. An NPR post on the subject brought back memories of hiking in Nepal. Excerpt:

Working is my happiness. I go to my fields every day. We grow everything we eat: garlic, rice, vegetables. I have done this since I was a child. And I love Bollywood movies. Tara Devi, about 46

Reading makes me happy. My sister and I will be the first girls in our family to go to college. Devaki, 16

I figured that I’d sensed that kind of joyfulness because I wanted to. It must have been my skewed perception, because how can you judge happiness in a whole country? It seems absurd, but maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s the abundance of running water everywhere that releases positive ions or something. The photos on the United Nations page are a reminder of how much happiness in the world is tied up with the presence of children. The government of tiny Bhutan is a leader in the conversation about happiness, suggesting that while the meeting of basic needs matters, wealth does not equal happiness. Bhutan has famously adopted a goal of gross national happiness over gross national product (GNP).

Here’s the world’s happiest playlist.