Edmund Burke said that except human beings all other animals know that the purpose of life is to enjoy it. When you look around, you see so many people unhappy and stressed. They are just not able to enjoy life. They wait to be happy. They treat happiness like a long-term goal. To them it is a result of some actions.
Most of us have a million conditions that need to be met before we can even think of being happy.
I will be happy when
- the market improves
- the loan is repaid
- my son/daughter gets admission in a professional collage
- I have a house of my own
- I can have my own business
- I lose weight
I would have been happy had I
- not married this person
- gone abroad to study
- been in a government job
- not taken this particular decision.
The list is endless. We can think of so many reasons not to be happy, some in the past and some that need to happen in future. Result—we are not happy in the present.
Our happiness is forever dependent on an unending list of things. It’s all in the mind.
Let us decide to be happy and happily desire. Though it seems easier said than done, it is possible if we have an action plan that helps us be happy, unconditionally.
Plan of action
The plan is to do simple steps that will guarantee success, which means you will definitely start seeing a change once you make a habit of them.
- Make a list of things that make you happy: It could be anything like cooking, gardening, reading, listening to music, dancing or even sleeping. If these things make you happy, are you doing enough of them? If your answer is no, then you should focus on doing more of it, more often. When your days are filled with enough things that you love doing and things that bring you joy, you’ll be happier.
- Use mood elevators: When you are down and out what changes your mood? Watching a movie, eating, shopping, chatting with a friend, going for a walk or working out? Write it all down. Discuss this list with your loved one or friends and add new things to it—things other people do to change their state of mind. When one of my friends is very upset, she changes her dress and it changes her mood! I tried it too, it worked!
- Say the right things to yourself: What do you say to yourself when something goes wrong? Do you say: Why does this always happen to me? Or what have I done to deserve this? Or what is there to look forward to now? When you think like this, youare actually telling your mind that you have no control over things and that makes you a victim of the circumstances. A very disempowering stateof mind indeed!Instead, if you ask yourself: Is there any other way of looking at it? What can I do to make things theway I want them? How can I do this better or differently? The mind immediately takes charge and starts looking for the silver lining. Instead of being a victim, you become the master of your own destiny. You start looking for ways and means to actualise your dreams and before you realise it, you are in control, and happy. Enjoy your happiness.
How happiness helps
Happiness is healthy
Happiness not only feels good, but also is good for you. These six life benefits arise from being happy.
Happiness feels good
We strive for happiness in our lives because it feels so good to be happy. We all clearly understand the meaning of the word happiness. It is not ambiguous.
Research shows that happy people are 50 per cent more likely to live and 50 per cent less likely to become disabled. Happy people are also likely to have stronger immune systems, and endure pain better than unhappy people.
A Mayo Clinic study found that optimists [a characteristic of happy people] live longer than pessimists. A famous study of the writing of nearly 180 nuns found that 90 per cent of those with inherent positive emotions in their writing lived to age 85 or beyond. And 54 per cent lived to age 94. In contrast, only 34 per cent of the less cheerful nuns were alive at age 85 and only 11 per cent lived to be 94.
Success in work
Happier people are more satisfied with their jobs than less happy people. It is clear that more happiness causes higher job productivity, and higher income. We need to work to be happy. Psychologists find that our culture builds in us an aversion to work tagging it a negative experience, but in reality we have more pleasant and fulfilling [flow] experiences at work than at home.
Better mental health
Studies indicate that happier people have less depression, a low suicide rate, and less paranoia than unhappy people, as well as greater self-control and coping skills.
Psychologist David Myers indicates, “There are few stronger predictions of happiness than a close, nurturing, equitable, intimate, lifelong companionship with one’s best friend.” A study of 141 senior class photographs examined the nature of smiles in the photos: genuine smiles, the so-called Duchenne smile, versus a forced photo-smile. Researchers found that genuine smilers were more likely to be married, to stay married, and to experience more personal wellbeing.
— Team CW