UW Combined Fund Drive

April 27, 2022

Pursue happiness this mental health month

May is mental health awareness month, providing the perfect opportunity to center your well-being and happiness. 

The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental goal. Consider Bhutan, a country that has highlighted the supremacy of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. 

Bhutan’s gross national happiness is assessed using various categories including psychological well-being, health, time use, education, culture, good governance, community vitality, ecology and living standards.

Yale reported its most popular class ever recently: Psychology and the Good Life, or how to live a happy life.

At the macro level, the pursuit of happiness is interconnected with economic and social equality. In 2015, the UN launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with the objectives to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness. 

At the micro level, people want to be personally and meaningfully happier – a goal often achieved through showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, and increasing social connections through the practice of social wellness.

Positive psychology: Maintaining a happy and well-balanced life

Many thought leaders – philosophers, scientists, theologians, psychologists, even economists – seek to define the complex idea of ‘happiness’; since the 1990s, the rising branch of positive psychology – the study of the characteristics that allow humans to flourish – has considered what defines happiness.

More than simply a positive mood, happiness encompasses a state of wellbeing that involves living life with a sense of meaning and deep contentment.

Research suggests that happiness can improve one’s physical health, and that it has even been linked to a longer lifespan and higher quality of life. Around the world, researchers have found that people globally rate happiness higher than other desirable personal outcomes, such as obtaining wealth or material goods. 

The positive psychology movement aims to enhance what’s good in life rather than fixing what’s wrong.

The American Psychological Association has identified twenty traits, including altruism, spirituality, creativity, and wisdom, as personality characteristics that may be the “roots of a positive life.” Researchers within the field are studying the types of experiences that bring people contentment, the personality traits that compose happiness, and methods to create positive institutions.

A main goal for the field is to develop positive psychology techniques for everyone. Applying positive psychology techniques to developing life skills and habits that foster happiness and better quality of life appears promising, and has great potential to reach individuals globally.

With happiness as a fundamental goal for organizations, leaders, scientists, and individuals worldwide, we can collectively work towards making the world a better place and improving the lives of all individuals.  

Learn More

Learn more about the UN’s goals to foster well-being and happiness globally through reading key documents and publications: 

Enroll: Take a free online version of the Yale course The Science of Well-being through Coursera.

Read: The power of optimism in the workplace (Fast Company) and From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life (Fast Company)

Practice healthy habits in your daily/weekly routine to improve your overall wellbeing and happiness: 

  • Exercise 
  • Get plenty of sleep 
  • Breathe deeply 
  • Explore meditation 
  • Find a self-care ritual 
  • Give back 

Listen to podcasts about happiness to learn more about the benefits of improving your wellbeing: 

Volunteer within your local community to help organizations working towards social and physical well-being initiatives and reducing issues that impact these aspects. 


Consider making a one-time contribution or setting up payroll deduction to one of our CFD member organizations working to address key issues that impact global wellbeing and happiness, such as mental health, poverty, inequality, and sustainability:  

NAMI Greater Seattle (Charity Code: 0320832): Addresses unmet needs of persons with mental illness and their families through public education, self-Help and family support groups, information and referral, and advocacy. Counties Served: King 

CHC: Creating Healthier Communities (Charity Code: 1481729): Creates powerful connections between American workplaces, their employees and the trusted health charities of their choice to improve the lives of people living with a disability or chronic disease. 

Americares (Charity Code: 0315518): Saving lives and improving health for people affected by poverty or disaster so they can reach their full potential. 

BRAC USA, Inc. (Charity Code: 1480525): BRAC is a development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. We were founded in Bangladesh in 1972 and over the course of our evolution, established ourselves as a pioneer in recognizing and tackling the many different realities of poverty. 

Given to Give Foundation (Charity Code: 1482783): Exists to encourage students, empower families, and engage the community. We seek to support education by providing resources to help students be successful in school, fight poverty by providing resources to help families overcome economic-related hardships, and impact change by supporting organizations that are making a positive difference in their communities. 

Urban Impact (Charity Code: 0521204): Partnering with families and communities to break the cycle of social, material, and spiritual poverty.  

Women’s Empowerment Network (Charity Code: 1479318): The purpose of this organization is to promote physical and mental health, education and empowerment, especially among women and children living in conditions of poverty in politically and economically marginalized or underserved communities. WEN provides funding for health education obstetric, gynecologic, pediatric, primary medical care and preventive health services domestic violence support legal services and micro lending to women and families in rural Nicaragua. 

Community Resources Foundation (Charity Code: 0316304): Provides opportunities for individuals to develop and strengthen their resiliency skills through support, education, information and community activities and thereby foster a healthy community. Counties Served: Snohomish 

Direct Relief International (Charity Code: 0316325): Providing essential medical resources to the most vulnerable communities in the U.S. and worldwide, improving health and transforming lives.