Time and again, a lot of people say, that they “want” to be happy. It’s confusing at times that if they so desperately want something why aren’t they getting it.
It seems some of them are always in rejection mode. They are always focused on what they don’t want for themselves or what they dislike about themselves. They hate going to office, but don’t know what they want to do in case they leave their job. They feel they are victims of destiny, but if you ask them how they can change it, they would have no answers for it. They feel they got an incompatible spouse but would hate the idea of living alone. They feel their children are stubborn and argumentative, but don’t know what they can do so that the child just listens to them. The list can go on and so will their cribbing about what they don’t want. They are so busy hating their own life that they rarely focus on how they can make it lovable instead.
Some people are in a “zone out” mode always. They are too busy living in their past or worrying about their future, that they forget they have a life to live today. No matter what the category is, all of them still want to be happy. Then what is stopping them from being happy? Maybe they are just too fascinated by the idea of happiness, that they have forgotten the very basic definition of happiness.
By definition, happiness is just the state of being happy. It is not something you can accept, reject, want or not want. You just stay in the zone of happiness. Your mood feels great, you feel resourceful and empowered, you feel you have enough to keep you happy. When we are happy, all the problems that come our way also seem as mere hurdles that could not stop us from reaching our goals. The best part of being happy is that it spreads to the people we meet and we become the creators of happiness around.
So, let’s see the 5 practical ways that can help you remain in the state of happiness:
- Surround yourself with positive people: We are well aware that we are the average of our five closest friends. They impact not only our financial or social life but they determine our happiness, our success and our relationships as well. In crisis situations, it is the positive people who share with us hope for a better future and enable us to see the light at the end of the tunnel. On the other hand, negative people exaggerate the negative situation to a level that it might seem as a dead end and lead us into anxiety and depression. Also, negative people tend to share only their problems and always feel that they are victims. For them the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. When you meet these people, run as fast as possible else you will soon be where they are now. Instead look for people who can find solutions amidst their problems and are good for your mental well-being.
- Exercise: Exercise regularly for at least 20-30 minutes thrice a week. A simple walk in the nearby park can help in releasing the happiness hormones. When we exercise our body releases dopamine, giving us a feeling of happiness during the exercise. Post exercise, our body releases serotonin to calm down the muscles, lower pain sensitivity, control appetite and regulate sleep thus making us feel calm and relaxed in the long run. So, by exercising you are actually creating your own happiness.
- Practice Mindfulness: Being mindful is being present in the moment. When we are able to appreciate the small gifts life has given us, we are truly being mindful. To start practicing mindfulness, sit down calmly at a quiet place and start observing your body parts. Start with doing it 5 minutes before sleep or as soon as you wake up. Increase the time gradually and notice how your attention span increases as you become more aware of yourself and your environment. Not only that, being mindful will ensure that you appreciate the small gestures of love by your closed ones and help you value them rather than their mistakes. This would help in improving your relationship with your parents, spouse, children, colleagues, boss, business partners, to name a few.
4. Change the meaning you give to an event: Often we take small things in life for granted. Our spouse or mother packs food for us, our boss appreciates us for our hard work, our friend remembers our birthday, we reach our home or office safely, all these events are assumed to occur as they are and hence, we don’t appreciate the small gifts we have. Since these events are expected, they are stored in our brain as resolved issues, hence we don’t recall them often. On the other hand, a small unpleasant situation often instigates a feeling of anxiety. A small fight with the spouse, an argument with the boss, a small car accident often leaves a big impact on us as we take these events as unresolved issues and end up repeating the event again and again in our mind. This triggers a feeling of pain, sadness, anxiety and even depression and we end up feeling victims of the environment. To change this, we need to change the meaning we give to an event. We need to treat the small positive events as unique and unexpected. Similarly, the unpleasant events should be treated as expected and common. For example, you smile at a stranger and the stranger smiles back can be taken as an unexpected and unique event and cherished for some time instead of just taking it for granted. We can apply this in every area of our life and feel a positive shift in our vision towards life
5. Change your Physiology every time you want to change your mood: Out body posture plays a pivotal role in determining our mood. Think of a depressed person and imagine their body posture and facial expressions. These people are usually frowning and their spine and shoulders are not straight. Instead of them, when we think of a positive and confident person, we will observe that person will have a smile on his face and stand straight with spine and shoulders straight. We can apply this on our self every time we start feeling low. We need to stand straight with our spine and shoulders straight, fake a big smile on our face, and say to our self as loud as possible that we are feeling happy and energetic. We would need to repeat this exercise unless and until this message reaches our subconscious mind and when done with full conviction, we will see immediate shift in our mood.
In a nutshell, the key to a happy life is being surrounded by happy people, being present in the moment and creating your own happiness by training our mind respond and not react to external disturbances.