Saturday, June 22, 2019

Happiness is free, you silly

Image from here
Who doesn’t want to be happy? I wasted almost an entire lifetime chasing happiness until life taught me that happiness is not something to be chased but accepted. It’s given freely. All around us. You just got to have a mind to choose it.

I feel like being a little textbookish today. So here it is:

Psychological researches consistently suggest that good relationships provide the strongest basis for satisfaction in life. Even introverts require a few close relationships if they are to be happy.

An effective way of creating happiness is making positive differences in the lives of others. It is not hard to find ways to be helpful to others and reach out to the less fortunate. When you do that, your sense of self-worth increases and you add a greater meaning to your life. Moreover, your relationship with those people whose lives you touch will deepen. Another advantage is that this will help put your own problems in perspective and direct your energies away from self-absorption.

Enjoying your work is of prime importance if you wish to be happy. If you don’t enjoy your work, you are in the wrong place; find your right place. Or else, learn to love what you do. You can never be a good doctor unless you love dealing with your patients. I will never be a good teacher unless I enjoy being with my students. This doesn’t mean you have to dedicate your entire time and being to your work. No one on his deathbed, so far, has expressed regret for not spending more time at workplace. It is a good idea to strike a balance between your career and your personal pursuits. I love blogging as much as I love teaching. The former gives me an additional sense of contentment while the latter brings my bread home.

Meaningful personal goals add tremendous happiness to our lives. Learning to play the violin or writing a new book or creating a garden on your terrace can all be personal goals. Many people make spiritual development their personal goal. Spirituality need not be about religion at all especially in a world where religion has become a loathsome thing that breeds hatred and violence. Genuine spirituality ennobles you and touches others positively.

Openness to new experiences is essential if you wish to be happy. Living in a fixed groove is the easiest thing to do. We keep doing the same thing again and again. Then we keep getting the same results again and again. Get out of the rut and breathe some fresh air. Sing a new song. Moreover, let new things happen to you. Clinging to traditions, however ancient and sanctified they may be, is not an ingredient of happiness in any research done in that field so far.

Count your blessings. Optimism is not very difficult even when life is an uphill task. There is something good happening in spite of all the pain we endure along the way. If nothing else, I choose to be happy today just because I don’t have a toothache. I’m sure we all have some much more than that to be happy about. How about the seat you managed to get today in the crowded metro train?

PS. I’m indebted to Michael W. Passer and Ronald E. Smith for all the highlighted points in this post. The points are plagiarised from their book, Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behavior.

PPS. This post was inspired by the latest prompt at Indispire: #happinessworthless. The hashtag is a little absurd. The blogger who suggested the prompt, Pranita Deshpande, intends to ask whether the present chase for wealth has hamstrung happiness. If wealth could provide happiness to people, Mukesh Ambani would have been the happiest person in India. Even Modi ji and Amit Shaji ji ji [multiple ji for him, he deserves it, sad man] should have been a lot happier by that logic. They are all caricatures instead. Maybe, Ms Deshpande’s hashtag is not all that absurd?