Happiness – One word and one emotion which seems to be ever elusive in our life. We are constantly trying to seek and it constantly seems to be getting farther away from us.
But what if we are wrong in our pursuit? What if all along our notions of things that bring us happiness were incorrect?
Having survived a difficult a phase where in underwent a surgery for tumor and the subsequent problems, I have fought and tried hard to realize what works and what doesn’t. Along this journey I also realized the true potential of these things in alleviating anxiety, stress and depression which ultimately benefits our general well being and makes us happier.
So shall we begin!?
1) Lessons from the longest study on happiness
If you haven’t seen this TED video on the longest study on happiness, then you must. Anyways, I will summarize what the video has to talk about and to put it briefly, he says “it’s the quality of your relationships that matters”. That indeed is a significant understanding and learning from the study. This also explains why a happy childhood has long lasting effects.
But what if one suffered from a traumatic childhood? The study says that we can make a recovery in our mid-life only if we are willing to spend our time in helping and guiding the future generations. Hope is not lost.
2) Practicing compassion and helping those in need
Much like how the first idea to being happy is, helping others can have a determinedly positive effect on our well-being. Happiness is infectious. When we help others and make them happy, it makes us happy.
I have worked with various NGOs for child upliftment for last 8 years, and none has given me more joy than helping children. It seems I have grown with them.
One of the NGOs which I have been associated for a long time now is Sankalp. I have been working with Sankalp since my college days.
My blog on Sankalp – Sankalp silent song of the poor
3) Yes money can buy happiness
While it remains entirely true that being rich isn’t essentially the path to happiness, yet it cannot be denied that money is important to happiness. You can not be happy on an empty stomach or if you constantly need to worry about paying bills.
Up to a point having things that give us a comfortable life – safer neighborhood, a comfortable bed, healthy meals can indeed make us happy. But after that the effect plateaus. If you really wish to spend money on being happy – spend money on doing things rather than having things.
Experiences make us happier. So go out, buy your favorite musical instrument, learn a new skill, or travel or cook a meal for the homeless. You will be happy.
I once tried out making my own motivational wallpapers and they turned out to be beautiful. You can have a look at them here.
A related idea about spending money is to spend on others as well. Learn to spend a part of your bonus on charity, or to gift someone loved, or to host a house party. Sharing with others makes us feel happy about ourselves.
If you ever plan on travelling to destinations in India – I will gladly be your host. 🙂 You can also see my travel related blogs.
4) Learning to live in the moment, just like a sparrow.
Recently I read a book by Kartik Sharma, Quest of the Sparrows. The book is about the journey of a monk, a frustrated businessman and a person who considers all monks to be charlatans. The narration is wonderful but the key takeaway remains as to how a sparrow manages to be carefree, not constatly worrying about hoarding for the future.
Oh and by the way, reading some goods can indeed make you happy as well.
5) A good sleep can do wonders to you body – helping restore natural order of the body.
Now many people will find it difficult to have a good sleep. It is indeed a difficult problem to encounter. But recent research can be helpful.
You can try Yoga, or meditation or playing musical instruments. These activities can helped calm frayed nerves.
If you are in India, specifically in Bangalore, you can can have a look at this Yoga center I go.
Sai Paduka Yoga center – Bangalore
For other, I would suggest following this YouTube channel – Yoga with Adriene.
Her videos are really amazing.
I am also learning to play a piano and trust me it a wonderful pastime as well as a stress buster. Iused to be a deep sleeper. But when I was (in fact even now a little) suffering from health problems, my sleep was disturbed. However with disciplined Yoga and piano classes my sleep is getting better. I am getting better sleep, plus my cognitive skills have only become better.
See this video on the effects on playing an instrument on the brain.
6) Watching stand-up comedies
Watching 30-60 minutes can improve your mood. Better still watch them with a group of friends and the effect multplies. Remember the idea of better relationships from first point. Happiness only gets compunded.
Now standup comedies are meant to be very country specific – because they tend to focus on local issues, government policies, cultural customs and societal behvaiours. So I would encourage you to search up best standup comedians in your country and watch their videos. Laugh out loud. No one will judge you.
7) Have a healthy meal
Food, one thing which we all love. But do know that even though junk food will satisfy your taste buds, they are not going to improve your mood in the long run. While going through a Harvard health blog(link here), I learnt that our gastrointestinal tract is lined with millions of nerve cells. It makes sense then that having food rich in proteins, vitamins lowers depression levels and improves brain plasticity.
We often underestimate the importance of a good meal. It is something critical to our well-being and happiness. Being empty stomach can immediately make us grumpy. So why wait, shake up a smoothie and be happy.
I made a sincere effort to put together some practical points to make all of us happy. Nothing fancy here. I do hope you found it useful. Do share with others as well.