Yesterday was the UN International Day of Happiness.
It gave me an irrational slight lift and smile in my step.
Starting the day with the daily obstacle course of family excitements, jollier than usual my youngest was concerned: “Dad, you're being a bit weird, you're not at all shouty. Are you feeling OK?”
I sang the great Hymn of Happiness* (more later) as I left the house and waved to a neighbour that I don't know yet (well I do now) explaining “It's International Day of Happiness.”
“Ahaa” and he whistled the same tune.
I decided to write a spontaneous blog on Happiness, not researching any facts or figures and not carefully constructing an argument, just pure opinion.
Lots of businesses say they want to bring happiness. Can you bring a little more happiness into work?
The nation of Bhutan even measures happiness as its main achievement. Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product.
It was Bhutan, partly, that inspired the UN. Secretary-General for the UN Ban Ki-moon's message for the International Day of Happiness, 20 March 2014: "Happiness may have different meanings for different people. But we can all agree that it means working to end conflict, poverty and other unfortunate conditions in which so many of our fellow human beings live."
He goes on to say the world "needs a new economic paradigm that recognises the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness."
That's the serious side of happiness: this is hard core - happiness makes a positive difference.
What does happy mean for you?
Well if I had my way we would have a Director of Happiness, a DoH whose job it would be to ensure we always have happy patients and staff.
“The answer is yes… what was the question?” says the DoH.
What would the experience of care be like for our patients if all parts of our health and social care system said yes?
Can I have an appointment on this day and at roughly this time?… yes!
Diagnostic test?… yes;
Community nurse visit?… yes;
Be speedily discharged home with appropriate support?… yes.
Wow what would it be like?
But for anyone who grew up in 1970s Britain, or whose parents did, there's only one Hymn of Happiness.
Enjoy the rest of the week and smile.