How many of us remember this song by Bobby McFerrin? Simple words but hard to practice. The first thing we do in any situation is worry more than anything else. Being happy in that situation is the last thing that comes to our minds. The pandemic has compounded this feeling for many of us. It has forced us to look for negativity everywhere, leaving us with feelings of fear, despair, and helplessness. Where is the joy and happiness we are supposed to experience? What has changed so much that has made us forget what makes us happy and brings a smile?
Apart from the pandemic and the events associated with it that are not under our control, we can still control and take charge of our happiness. This feeling of well-being and positivity will lead to cascading effect in spreading joy and positivity in our immediate and extended circles.
How do we take charge of our happiness?
Happiness is not the absence of problems but, it is the ability to deal with them.
Very beautifully written sentence. By taking charge of our emotions and doing things we love, happiness becomes a part of our life.
Here are my top five tips I follow to keep me happy. I would be delighted if it gives you a framework to work on finding your happiness.
- Focus on the abundance–
I remember reading a story that goes this way-
A teacher walked into a class and declared they were going to have a test. She handed out sheets, and there was just one question -describe in your own words, and there was a black dot in the middle of the paper. The students had 40 minutes to answer the test. At the end of 40 minutes, she collected all the answer sheets. All the students answered by describing the dot placed in the middle of the sheet. She then asked the students why was focus on the small black dot but oblivious to the expanse of white space around it?
It made me realize I did that too. I was focusing on the small black dots on an otherwise white canvas and feeling unhappy. That is when I decided to adopt the abundance mindset. My focus would be feeling happy for all that I have.
- Do not base your happiness on the actions and words of people-
We feel happy because being happy is a feeling and not a reason.
I derived it from another story I had read and titled “The hat effect”.
A story about a young woman who felt she was not pretty, nobody cared for her, and ignored by everyone. One day she goes to a hat shop to try on a few hats and likes a particular hat. She tries it on and stands in front of the mirror, feels happy. A salesgirl compliments the young woman for her looks. The young woman feels on top of the world, and when she steps out, she finds people making way for her, colleagues compliment her and take her out to lunch making her feel very special.
The young woman attributes all the good things happening to the hat she purchased. In the evening, on reaching home, her mother asks her what is different about her today? She is looking so pretty and happy. The woman tells her mother about the beautiful things that happened to her created by the hat. The mother asks Which Hat? I cannot see any. The woman realizes she had left it at the counter while paying for it.
It was the change in her outlook and inner happiness that made the difference.
How many times do we forget to be happy because someone is angry, upset, or unhappy?
- Get a hobby–
A hobby helps to channelize our feelings in a better way. It helps us calm down and look at things from a different perspective. Some situations are not in our control and are unsettling. Sometimes it defocusses us so much that the solution seems impossible. A hobby comes to our rescue at such times by taking our minds off the problem. It provides a calming and peaceful experience and brings clarity. Working on a hobby brings joy and happiness.
Any form of exercise, walking, running, jogging, cycling, is an excellent way to release the feel-good hormones in our body.
Exercising gives a feeling of accomplishment and makes one happy. Try some form of exercise that works for you and not because everyone else is doing that.
- Eat healthily and eat right.
Eat healthy food that provides nourishment and nutrition. Do not try to follow diets because they are popular and everyone is doing it. Know your body and its energy requirements. Eating unhealthy is neither good for the mind or the mind. Guilt, despair, frustration are some of the feelings I experience when I eat unhealthy food. Many of us go through similar feelings about eating too much and too often the wrong kind of food. Therefore, keep it simple- I eat according to my energy requirements, and the food I eat will be healthy.
P.S- Always hydrate. Water has its benefits ( probably I can write my next post on the benefits of hydrating oneself).
To sum it up, here are my top 5 tips to be happy:
- abundance mindset
- do not base your happiness on the actions and words of people
“Happiness depends upon ourselves” .– Aristotle
3. get a hobby
5. eat healthily and eat right
We can’t control the world. We can only (barely) control our own reactions to it. Happiness is largely a choice, not a right or entitlement.
David C. Hill