Syed Nabil Ahsan
People often ask me ‘How can you be so happy all the time? Even during this pandemic, far away from your children; stuck at home for the last eight months?
The answer is simple’ It’s a matter of choice to be happy or to worry about everything that goes wrong in life.
If I go on being sad and worried, will it change anything?
No, it won’t.
To be honest, I also worry sometimes and feel sad; that is what makes me human. But I choose rather to be happy and it works wonders.
Happiness may seem a fleeting emotion but you will be surprised that happiness is within our reach. You just need to have a determined mindset; nurture a few simple changes in your thought process and life style, to make your life brim with happiness.
So let’s delve in to the secrets of being happy.
•Smile. A genuine smile causes the brain to release dopamine which makes us happier. Whenever you feel unhappy, smile. A part of my daily habit is looking at the mirror just after waking up every morning, smile and say, ‘yes, I am happy’. Believe me it works.
•Practice Gratitude. A recent study has found that practicing gratitude can have a significant impact on feelings of hope and happiness.
Start your day by being grateful for anything that comes to your mind: being alive, able to sleep on a comfortable bed, having family and friends, imagining the smile of your loved ones, or even the tasty omelet you will be having for breakfast.
Express your gratitude to those who help and love you.
•Find and spread positivity around you. The beautiful weather, be it sunny, rainy or stormy savor it with your heart and mind. Greet the caretaker, smile at strangers and bathe in the sunshine of their happy look.
Positivity can be nurtured with a little practice. Replace negative thoughts with positive or neutral thoughts.
Let's say you are thinking, ‘Why do these things happen to me?’ Change it to, ‘Worse could have happened, I am blessed. ’I've personally found it to make a huge difference in my life.
Surround yourself with positive thoughts and people.
•Give sincere compliments whenever you can. When I go out shopping I compliment those who help me like the sales person, I just say, ‘I can’t help noticing how efficient you are’ or ‘Thank you for being so helpful.’ Giving a sincere compliment is an easy way to brighten someone’s day. You might be surprised how good it makes you feel too. Being kind to others leads the path towards happiness.
Compliment yourself too, at least once a day. Celebrate your accomplishments.
Be kind to yourself as well.
•Be generous in sharing your blessings. Several studies have found that generous people are happier compared to people who are selfish.
Self-interest seems natural for us. It’s alright to think about ourselves but if we focus our concerns to other’s well beings; it gives a sense of purpose in life, thereby, taking us more towards self-fulfillment and everlasting happiness.
•Meditation for a few minutes every day is an important habit for improving focus and helps calm your soul. Even deep breathing exercises can serve as a form of meditation. Studies show that right after meditation; we experience feelings of contentment, and empathy. It’s often been proven to be the single most effective way to live a permanently happier life.
•Live according to your personal values and core beliefs. List things that are important to you; identify times when you felt truly happy and what you really want in life. Then, align your lifestyle with your values and beliefs for an abundance of happiness.
•Reevaluate your goals. People change. Let go of any goals that no longer serve you, even if they sound great.
•Humans are social beings. Regularly connect with good friends. Share and celebrate the good things of your lives with an open mind. It will open doors of mutual good relationships and happiness.
•Be proactive in your relationships. Healthy relationships hold the key to happiness.
It also helps delaying mental and physical degeneration leading to healthier and happier life. This applies to all relationships, specially with your spouse or lover.
•Enjoy some free time. Get involved in activities that make you happy, and give you a sense of freedom and independence. Take a long hot bath or just watch a movie. Go out to your favorite restaurant, look around, smile and return rejuvenated.
•Spend time in nature and natural light. It is invigorating and helps heighten mood of happiness.
•Adequate sleep of about 7 to 8 hours for adults is also essential for good health, brain function, and emotional well-being.
A lot of happiness happens in the bedroom. It’s the place where we sleep and rest; Make it comfortable and tidy it up in the morning; so that you return to a neat welcoming and warm cozy retreat. .
•A balanced diet and healthy life style leads to a healthy mind and body generating a sense of contentment.
•Regular exercise can help reduce stress, depression and feelings of anxiety, while boosting self-esteem and happiness. Even a small amount of physical activity can make a difference. Swaying with music can also do the trick.
•Write at least three good things every day in a diary. In one study researchers found that the simple act of listing increases happiness.
•Each life is different so stop comparing what you have accomplished with that of others. Instead, be thankful for what you have and see what better changes you need to try to help you grow further.
•Studies show that happiness doesn’t come from material possessions or money. We sacrifice time, money and energy running after more and more and in the process neglect ourselves and our most beloved ones. It can only bring heartaches but not happiness.
‘The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.’ Douglas Clegg
•In our lives, at one point or other, we all face setbacks or uncertainties that make us unhappy. Sometimes we may lose someone we really love, lose a job or suffer from some illness. It’s part of life. Experience the unhappy moments. Let the moment pass, then, shift your focus towards something pleasant. Remember, no one’s happy all the time.
Freud once said, “Unexpressed emotions never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
Rather than burying your negative emotions or pretending they don’t exist, you’ll get much better results if you openly acknowledge your feelings. Develop the resilience to cope with difficulties in a positive way.
• Avoid gossip and negative talk - these block happiness. Let go of resentment, envy and grudges; emotions that hurt you more than they hurt people who may have wronged you. Sometimes, offering forgiveness or dropping a grudge is more about having your inner peace of mind than compassion for others.
These simple yet important strategies can help you identify and build on your personal happiness boosting inner strengths.
True Happiness comes by making others happy. Give and share your love every day.’
Immerse yourself in positivity, banish toxic negative thoughts and bask in the fountain of happiness. You owe it to yourself.
-The writer is the Director of Continuing Education Centre, one of the leading training organizations of Bangladesh. She is also a poet, columnist, trainer and a Management Consultant.