Dr Akwasi Osei, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, has urged the public to endeavour to stay happy and positive as Ghana joins the world to observe the International Day of Happiness on Friday, March 20.
He said it was an important time for all to keep calm, stay wise and be kind to each other as the world faced a medical crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Osei told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an Interview in Accra, on Friday, that happiness released hormones, which made the body strong and fortified the immune system against diseases and viral infections.
"Making ourselves happy even helps us to withstand any Coronavirus that may attack us," he said.
The International Day of Happiness is celebrated across the world annually to make people understand that happiness is one of the best gifts that they can give to others.
This year's celebration is on the theme: “Happier Together". It focuses on what people have in common, rather than what divide them.
“Today is the day for all to come forward to celebrate our common humanity,” Dr Osei said”. "It is important for us as a people to work for others' happiness and find ways to make people happy, this is possible when we come together with a common goal".
He observed that this year's celebration had coincided with the period when everyone was expected to maintain their level headedness, become cool and calm.
Dr Osei said panic and fear amidst the spread of COVID-19 could cause people to lose their balance and concentration.
“The Director-General of the World Health organisation has stated that our biggest enemy in this scourge is not so much the virus but our fear and panic,” Dr Osei quoted in an earlier statement.
“Fear can reduce you immunity and make you more vulnerable and susceptible to the Coronavirus; fear can make you take an unnecessary action like committing suicide; fear and panic can stress you up and give you a heart attack;
“Fear and panic can give you hypertension and stomach ulcer or worsen these;
“ Fear and panic can make you lose concentration, which may lead to accidents;
“Fear and panic can make you easily irritated or angry and fear and panic can kill you even when you don't have the virus or even if you had it, the virus might itself not have killed you”.
Ghanaians, Dr Osei observed, were generally happy people, and urged not to be deprived of their positive outlook on life.
The International Day of Happiness has been celebrated by the United Nations (UN) since 2013.
The resolution 66/281 of 12 July 2012 of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 20 March as the International Day of Happiness, stating the relevance of happiness and well-being as a goal and aspirations in the lives of people around the world.
It also recognises the importance of public policy objectives and focuses on the need for a more comprehensive, reasonable, unbiased and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples.
The resolution recognises the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.
It had also hosted a High-Level Meeting on the agenda, "Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm" during the 66th session of the General Assembly.
The UN in 2015 launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the planet and these are the three key aspects leading to well-being and happiness.