With its picturesque landscape and tolerant, inclusive society, Finland was recently named the happiest country in the world in the UN’s annual poll - and things aren’t too shabby in the UK either.
Despite coming in 19th place in the rankings, there are plenty of things in the UK that have left us feeling warm and fuzzy inside this year - and we’re only three months in.
To mark International Day of Happiness, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite people, pets and perfect moments guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
1. The vets helping homeless dogs.
Every week in London, a group of selfless vets give up their spare time to help dogs with homeless owners. The vets volunteer through DOTS (Dogs On The Streets) London, a charity that provides free vet check-ups and treatment for pups in need as well as free food, collars, leads, blankets, dog coats and more.
One rough sleeper, who wished not to be named, said the charity has made a huge difference to his life. “DOTS is phenomenal and without them life on the streets with my dog would be much harder and stressful not knowing how to access vet care. We both look forward to going to their station each week,” he said. Read more about DOTS here.
2. The most beautiful Carpool Karaoke.
Earlier this month a group of 50 mums of kids with Down’s syndrome created a Carpool Karaoke-style video to help change attitudes towards their children.
Explaining why she decided to appear in the clip, Angela Mui, 44, said: “I want people to know having a child with Down’s syndrome isn’t scary; in fact it is a wonderful adventure; full of joy, love and yes some challenges, just like having any typical child. ”
3. The cooking classes led by refugees.
If you want to improve your cookery skills and learn about a new culture, head down to an event ran by not-for-profit social venture Migrateful. The initiative organises cookery-classes-come-supper-clubs led by asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in London, which members of the public can pay to attend. The profits then go towards helping the families in need of support.
HuffPost reporter Natasha Hinde recently attended a masterclass in Iranian cuisine hosted by mother-daughter duo Elahe and Parastoo. Elahe said hosting the classes has helped her to improve her confidence and self-esteem. She also has greater belief in her capabilities. “I am cooking with love and passion again like in the old days,” she said. “It is hard not to love Iranian food.” Find out more about Migrateful here.
4. The brilliant #MarchForWomen signs.
The solidarity shown at the #March4Women earlier this month was enough to make anyone smile, but the inventiveness of some of the signs was the cherry on the cake.
The march, which marked both International Women’s Day and the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage, was an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come when it comes to gender equality, but also push for more to be done.
Signs ranged from the inspirational to the downright hilarious - like the Ikea pun pictured above. Check out a few of our favourites from the day here.
5. The puppy who found a forever home.
In January, the announcement that the first puppy had been handed in to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home after Christmas left animal-lovers around the UK heartbroken. But it didn’t take long for the adorable pup, named Ronnie, to find a new home.
Less than a month after arriving at the shelter, Ronnie found his forever home when he was adopted by Joanne Taylor, her partner Daniel Jeffery, and their two children Alfie, eight, and Archie, five.
At the time Joanne, 27, said: “Seeing the pictures of Ronnie online made me want to visit Battersea and rehome a rescue dog. Never did we imagine it would be him. We thought he’d be snapped up straight away as he is a puppy.” Read Ronnie’s uplifting story here.
6. The kind-hearted stranger who made a paramedic’s day.
An NHS ambulance worker has said he was “humbled” by the generosity of a stranger who paid for his petrol in a random act of kindness earlier this year.
Tony Jones, who works for North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), was at his local Texaco Garage in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, filling up his personal car when a fellow customer noticed his uniform. When Tony got to the front of the cashier queue, he was told his full tank had already been paid for.
“I was completely stumped for words and taken back by such a gesture. I went out side and thanked him. He told me that we, meaning NWAS, do a fantastic job and it’s the least he could do for people who do such an important job,” Tony wrote on Facebook. “He wished me a very safe night, shook my hand and drove off.” Read the full story here.
HumanKind is HuffPost’s celebration of kindness, featuring people who do incredible things for others or the planet – transforming lives through small but significant acts. Get involved by joining us on Facebook or telling us about the people who you think deserve recognition for their kind works. You can nominate them here or share your personal story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.