Did you ever wonder why aren’t people happy even after having a well-paying job, a beautiful family, a cozy house, and a big car?
Are YOU Happy?
Why does happiness seem to slip away from us so fast? Can we be happy forever? Are your relationships hurting? We were all happy when we were children, as we grew up, the happiness started disappearing. What happened? What changed?
This article is to explore the ways to be and remain permanently happy in our life.
So, let’s explore some scientifically proven ways to be happy!
Our Mentor says, “The source of happiness is within ourselves; it is not outside. Happiness is a pursuit; it is not a destination. It isn’t a place that you get to, it is a journey, the path that you choose.”
We usually think that happiness is a result of achievement. The truth is that happiness is independent of your possessions in life.
It isn’t dependent on how much you have; it is dependent on how much you appreciate.
People with a thankful attitude are calmer, have higher self-esteem, and have deep and meaningful relationships.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle
A study by the American Psychological Association found that people who kept gratitude journals for eight weeks showed reductions in levels of several inflammatory biomarkers while they wrote their journals. In simple words, people who kept gratitude journals have less stress, and as a result they are happier.
Things to do-
- Start your day by being thankful for little things in life.
- Keep a gratitude journal and write 3 things for which you are thankful. They can be really simple and specific things, eg. I am thankful for the time I was able to spare for exercise today. Simple things! A gratitude journal is said to be a very powerful tool to focus on what is good in your life.
Continuous exercise contributes to the release of Endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the hormones produced by the body to release stress and pain. A higher heart rate allows more oxygen to the brain which helps in not only the positive hormonal release but also stimulating the growth of new connections.
Regular exercise puts our mind and body in synchronicity which allows us to feel at ease. Our bodies respond at a cellular level; regular exercise stimulates the information passage to each cell of our body which brings coherence into our lives.
In research conducted at the University of Illinois, a brain scan showed a lot more activity after a 20 mins exercise which proves that our brain receives clearer instructions when we workout.
Things to do: –
A lot of psychologists suggest to their patients an exercise routine. Walking is a great exercise for all ages.
1 hour of walking each day can help release stress on a constant basis. Focus on little things, make a commitment to start a walk today. If you feel lazy to commit to 1 hour of walk, commit to 15 mins, even better, commit to just getting ready. If you are ready, you’ll leave the house, once you leave the house, you’ll start walking, once you start walking, you’ll continue to walk for some time.
3. DESERVE, BUT DO NOT DESIRE
Happiness isn’t a response to a situation; it is an attitude. It’s a promise that we make to ourselves. In Hindu mythology, we see a few examples that can be used to explain this principle. Let us analyze the king of heaven, Indra. He has 3 main possessions.
- Kamdhenu cow that is said to provide endless amounts of food.
- Kalpataru tree which can fulfill all the material desires.
- Kaustubh mani (gemstone) which is the most expensive gem.
One would think that these possessions should be enough for someone to be happy. But Indra is always insecure, he is always at war. He is always running behind Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth).
All the money in the world cannot buy you happiness.
There is another example in the Hindu scripture, the example of Vishnu. The all-knowing, the beautiful God. Take a look at this picture.
He does not have any material possession, there is no house, there is not even a bed to sleep on, but he is still relaxed. Also, the goddess of wealth is with him. Why? Because Lord Vishnu symbolizes no desire for acquiring or capturing wealth. Laxmi’s nature is to keep moving (money moves from one place to another), but in this picture, she is at rest. Lord Vishnu is very attractive.
There is a very deep message for all of us here.
When you want something. Don’t chase it, don’t try to capture, but be worthy of it. Focus on getting better at the actions, the results will follow.
The picture below looks like that of homeless people sleeping on the street, you’d be shocked to learn that these are not homeless people, they are the people queuing outside Apple stores the night before the launch of a new iPhone model. Apple focused on building a great product. They made themselves so attractive to their customers, that the customers are ready to sleep on the streets to experience the beauty and excellence of Apple’s work.
Be worthy of what you want in your life.
Things to do-
When you want something or have a goal, ask yourself what you need to do to be worthy of that achievement and focus on achieving those little things. Roger Federer doesn’t focus on winning games; he works hard on improving his serve.
4. OPTIMUM USAGE OF TECHNOLOGY
We have much more and faster access to technology now than ever before in the history of mankind. This technology is built to make our lives easier. But we are already seeing the negative influences of technology on humans. Our attention spans are reducing, we aren’t able to recall things as fast, we don’t remember the phone numbers, when we drive, we only rely on the GPS and not learn the ways. Technology is good, too much technology is bad.
The youngsters these days are forced to measure their self-worth based on the likes they get on their social media posts. These enforce the wrong parameters to happiness. Our happiness seems to be dependent on what others think of us. The science behind this is that access to social media and technology releases a chemical in our brains called Dopamine. It is the same chemical that gets released in our body when someone drinks or gambles. In other words, while it makes us feel happy temporarily, it is highly addictive.
Adversities are part of life; they happen in everybody’s life. It is our response to those adversities that determine our character.
Ask yourself, what do you turn to when you have a difficult situation in your life? A friend or a family member, your teacher, your belief, or a device? Unfortunately, more and more people are spending a lot of time on social media in the hopes of coping up with stress. It provides temporary distraction but pushes us further under stressful emotions in the long run.
The other impact of social media and technology is that an entire generation is now used to instant gratification. If we want to watch a movie, we can just go online and watch, we don’t have to wait for the whole week to watch the next episode of our favorite show, we can just binge; we don’t have to practice the skills of making friends in real life, we can just send friend requests on social media. We get instant reactions/responses from social media when we post a picture.
Whereas the things in real life are different, we need to spend time to achieve things like job satisfaction, fulfillment, sense of purpose, deep and meaningful relationships and most importantly happiness. These things take time, they need patience and persistence. Good things come slow in life. Patience and persistence are the skills that are in high demand because the meaningful things in life (or at work) are tough to achieve and it involves failing a number of times before you can succeed.
“If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L. means “First Attempt In Learning” Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
Things to do-
- Technology is NOT bad. The usage of the technology needs to be managed in a way that it supports us and not distracts us.
- Slowly, reduce your dependence on technology. Start by not checking your phone in the morning for 30 mins.
- When you are with someone, keep your phone away. Focus In the moment.
- Try to find the solution to a problem by introspection, teachings from mentors, life experiences from elders before turning to social media.
When you are faced with adversities in life. Look inwards for improvement and reflection rather than outwards for blame and complain
Scientists across the world are making attempts to understand the influence of prayer or spiritual experience on the human brain. This field is called neurotheology.
The pictures above are from a research conducted by Dr. Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been scanning the brains of spiritual people and found that at the time of the prayer or meditation the frontal lobes light up (responsible for attention and concentration) and that there is a decreased activity in the parietal lobe (responsible for sense of space and time).
Dr. Newberg also studied the brain scans of people with different beliefs. No matter what kind of prayer they performed (chanting, meditation, or prayers), their brain scans showed similar responses. The human brain is more tranquil under a prayer. Prayer is your conversation with God. The style of that conversation could be different, but the positive impact on the brain is going to be similar.
Things to do-
- Make a habit of taking a moment few times a day to pause and pray
- Learn to let go of the ego’s attachments and fear. The biggest ego attachment is that of being right! We constantly get into arguments on trivial things just to prove that we were right. Let go of the desire of being right. Let go and Let God!
“When you have a choice between being right and being kind, always choose kind” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
- Our mentor has introduced us to the source of happiness, it is within us, not outside, not in any possession. The only person that can make us truly happy is ourselves. So, we need to take responsibility for our own happiness.
- Practice patience and persistence. As explained by our mentor, “sustained dedication for a long period of time bears fruit”. Break your goals into small achievable tasks and do those little things each day.
- Keep a Gratitude journal.
- Regular exercise and regulate the release of endorphins in your brain.
- Take time to pause and pray.
- Reduce the usage of technology.
- Let go and Let God.
- When you are faced with adversities in life, look inwards for improvement and reflection, rather than outside for complaining.