It's that time of the year, the day to be happy, whether you like it or not.

Actually, I'm not sure that is what the UN's International Day of Happiness is. But, just in case you didn't know, every year on 20th March this event takes place. 

A quick check of the UN's website to see what this actually entails, fortunately suggests that it is not a day of compulsory happiness. So, don't worry you can still be miserable on 20th March.

But if International Day of Happiness is not enforced jollity, what on earth is it?

Well, according to Resolution 66/281, which was adopted in 2012 (and is responsible for this day of jollity) the UN's International Day of Happiness is there to make us "conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal" and for "recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings".

Well, thank goodness we've got the UN thinking about this sort of thing for us, because it stops us from wondering how human beings ever coped without being told this information. 

OK, enough of the satire and poking fun at International Day of Happiness and the UN. In all seriousness, happiness is important. The problem is "what is happiness?", and "how do you become happy?".

Let's try to answer each of these questions.

The first one, "what is happiness?". Adopting the same stance as the UN in answering this:  Happiness is different for everyone. On the BBC, during their report on the day, they implied that social connectedness was central to happiness, and loneliness was the opposite of happiness.

While agreeing that loneliness is the opposite of happiness, being alone is not necessarily the opposite of being happy. Images of happiness often invoke solitude - someone alone in a beautiful, natural landscape, on a mountain, in a rainforest, on a deserted beach etc. Social connectedness is a part of being happy, as an absence of any connection to any other human being in a 'Robinson Crusoe' like-way is only going to be happiness to a very small number of people.

However, even that extreme may be happiness to a few. So, back to banality, happiness is different for everyone.

In answering the second question, "how do you become happy?", let's take a more profound approach. Drawing the reader's attention to the phrasing of the question: it is not "how do you pursue happiness?", but "how do you become happy?".

Happiness is not something that can be pursued - the pursuit of happiness will lead to unhappiness. Instead, happiness is something that comes about, like a by-product.

So, finally, all that is left, is for me to wish Happy International Day of Happiness to you all!