March 20 is the ‘International Day of Happiness’, and until recently I didn’t know there was such a thing.
In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that recognised happiness as a ‘fundamental human goal’ and called for ‘a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples’.
People are now recognising that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and well-being, not just growing the economy.
With this ‘Day of Happiness’ upon us, I began to reflect on what ‘happiness’ means to me. It certainly isn’t about how much money I have in the bank, as it’s more about what I am achieving in my life.
In my world, I am lucky to be surrounded by words, manuscripts and books. And it is these that bring me joy and ‘happiness’. Not just because it is my business, as there are definitely some books we work on that do not resonate with me. But I genuinely love storytelling.
For me, there is an intersection between people and storytelling, and I love that I can help people share their story. Knowing that helping authors publish their books brings them a step closer to realising their dreams, gives me tremendous happiness and satisfaction.
My love of reading and storytelling extends back into my childhood. My mother spent many hours reading to me as a child, and as the years progressed I read to my siblings and then to my children. Often sharing the same stories that I loved. I was also part of a large extended family with around 50 cousins, so there were always plenty of ‘stories’ to share. And you soon learnt whoever had the best story got the most attention!
There is something magical about opening a book and being transported to another place. In a world of chaos, you slip into a realm of calm. I remember a conversation I once had with my then 10-year-old son about his love of books, and he made the comment that ‘When you watch TV everything is decided for you. A book plants the seed but you get to fill in the pieces with your imagination.’
Reading allowed him to enter worlds and have adventures where he was with the main characters becoming part of the stories. And these stories would often continue into the nights through his dreams, his imagination taking the plot to a whole other level.
Whether you read to escape to another place, or for relaxation, motivation or education, reading can make you happier.
These are some ways that books and storytelling can bring joy to your life:
- Build a very special bond with your children.
- Create shared memories.
- Helps you sleep.
- Opens your mind to new ideas.
- Creates a greater understanding of the world around you.
- Builds connections with people you would otherwise never meet.
As a way to celebrate the ‘International Day of Happiness’, I will curl up with a book or two and reflect on how much joy storytelling has brought me over the years. I hope you find what brings you happiness, on this 2017 International Day of Happiness.