Did the promotion at work make you happy? Did you enjoy your vacation last week? Did you feel elated when a stranger complimented you?
Eating in a good restaurant, going out with friends, getting an A grade – happiness seems mostly dependent on external factors. What if there was a lack or absence of these things in life? Would you still feel happy?
Truly speaking, happiness is a state of being. It lies within; it does not come and go with circumstances. It is for one to feel and experience the real joy that comes from a state of acceptance of everything around. Acceptance develops by doing the best you can with no attachment to the results. And that appears to be easier said than done.
How to develop and be in this state of joy and acceptance always?
- Start the day with gratitude
When you wake up, thank the Universe for giving you another day of this beautiful life.
- Start with accomplishing personal chores
Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Keeping yourself and your surroundings clean can help you attend to your daily chores better. Brushing teeth, washing face, taking a shower, folding bedsheets, all of this might seem trivial but they help you power through at least the first half of the day.
Every time you eat, think of all the people who are directly and indirectly associated with the food on your plate. Pray for them, thank their efforts. You have no idea how well this can help you connect with Mother Nature.
- Work for joy
Whether you enjoy your work or not, try making the experience joyful. Whenever possible, work in the field that you are passionate about, for that is the kind of work that can bring real happiness and fulfilment in life. At the same time, if you cannot do what you like, start liking what you do and feel the difference! The situation may remain the same, but your response to it can make all the difference.
- Spend time with nature
Recollect and imagine yourself to be part of nature. Make it a routine to spend some time outside, in a park, by a river, or simply under a tree or with some indoor plants. Talk to the trees and plants and, if you feel comfortable, hug them and thank them for their giving nature. This helps in remaining connected to your roots.
- Spend time with family
While access to smartphones and other digital devices can help you remain connected with others, especially in times of a pandemic like Covid-19, whenever possible meet up physically with your friends and families. Social connections and human contacts are the best way to alleviate loneliness.
- Take out ‘me time’
‘Me time’ allows you to connect with yourself, the real you. Meditate, read a book, spend time in nature, take a walk, or pursue a hobby. It includes anything and everything in your own company, which gives you the time and space for insights and ideas and helps develop care and love for yourself in a healthy way.
Happiness can often be blocked by thoughts of the past and the future. You may either be filled with regret about the past or worry for the future. In such moments, know that:
All that has happened, has happened. All that will happen, will happen. All you have, is the present. Happiness is the present moment, not even the next minute. If there is something that you have control over, it is now. A mindful present can heal the past and ease the future. A mindful present can help you build a hearty, healthy life. Take the ownership. Be healthy, be happy, be present.
We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.
When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.
Designing Destiny by Kamlesh Patel
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Francesc Mirallis and Hector Garcia
Happiness the Mindful Way: A Practical Guide by Ken A. Verni
‘Three Happy Habits’ by Kamlesh Patel, The Speaking Tree, Times of India, 19 March 2022.