International Day of Happiness amid COVID-19 - GulfToday

International Day of Happiness amid COVID-19


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

At this time of the global COVID-19 scare comes the “International Day of Happiness” (IDH) celebrated since 2013 and as endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly two years earlier, every Mar. 20 (Friday).

Odd amidst the permeating  and percolating impact of the rapid spread of this new contagion, the theme for this special day this year is “Happier Together.”

The theme “focuses on what we have in common rather than what divides us.”

Meantime, UAE Minister of Health and Prevention AbdulRahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais said the occasion is worth celebrating.

He pointed at the wise guidance of the UAE leadership which has helped prioritize the “happiness, prosperity, welfare and stability” of everyone across the seven emirates.

Happiness comes in several spectra.

Entrepreneur/financial literacy advocate Francis Errol Medina anchors it on God who, he said guides him in valuing more his family and those around him who seek his advice on entrepreneurship and financial freedom.

Dubai resident Melissa Green experiences happiness by way of the simple acts of kindness and the “peace and relaxation of nature and the openness of the ocean.”

She is grateful to those whom she trusts and helps her see “the bigger and better picture” of life’s tribulations.

On COVID-19, three mental health specialists namely University of Birmingham Dubai-Psychology Foundation Programme deputy director/lecturer Olivia Goncalvez, Canadian University Dubai-Human Resources professor Dr. Rommel Pilapil Sergio, and Prime Medical Center (Jumeirah) psychiatrist Dr. Naresh Dhar were interviewed.

Dhar said it is but normal for everyone to be stressed and anxious, considering that as social distancing is among the “do’s” to shoo it away, “we are a social species and we thrive when we are closely connected with each other.”

Dhar believes social distancing is resolved via the social media, and the landline or the mobile phones as well as the pursuit of hobbies. He encouraged immediate assistance to all deeply troubled.

Goncalvez said that in these times and in other similar situations, “it is important that people grieve when grief is warranted because that is part of healing.”

She termed the IDH theme as “ironic”  and yet “important.”

“Happier together in time of grief because in such, we need to be able to receive support from our family, friends and community. The entire world is facing a common enemy and we need to stand united together to defeat this threat.”

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