Happiness is a common pursuit of the entire humanity. But still, have we found it yet.
Most probably not!
It is something that motivates us all directly or indirectly. It motivates us in all our actions. But very few of us understand what maximizes happiness and what facilitates it in our life.
Many a time our happiness tends to be dependent on something external. This takes it out of our control and makes it conditional to these external conditions.
We think:If he/she talks to me nicely, then I will be happy. If I have enough money to buy my favourite car then I will be happy. And many more of such conditions separate us from our inner core of Happiness.
Is Happiness Conditional?
Do you believe that materialistic possessions in life give us the happiness that we long for. Maybe, Yes!
But then why are so many people with fewer resources still leading a happy and fulfilling life.
A memory that I still carry is from a friend’s house where I saw their very old domestic help. In her eighties, poor and old. But so much full of happiness and contentment. Just a glimpse of her made me feel happier that day.
What is the source of happiness
Now, when we say it is not coming from any of these materialistic possessions, what is it that it comes from. The answer lies within.
So what is the answer:
Sometimes when we sit in silence on a seashore or in a forest, we tend to feel happier from within.
In this moment we delink our happiness from external factors.We have focussed ourselves in the present moment. ( a key mindfulness practice)
To enhance the inner source of happiness, all it takes to have an unconditionally happy Life.
These 10 points will take you deeper towards this inner core:
1. Being Self Compassionate
Self Compassion is something we all need but we never think to be important.
In tough times, talk to yourself in a consoling tone. In the same way, you would do for a best friend or a close family member.
How does a good friend talk to you in such a situation? He/she consoles us and helps us come out of the situation. By focussing on what is good and what is positive, he/she pacifies us.
But what do we do to ourselves in such moments. Become self-critical. We push ourselves down the negative spirals of guilt and despair. Constantly criticizing ourselves for whatever happened. It is important to realize the mistake and never repeat it. It is equally important to do this in a consoling friendly tone. Appreciate your good qualities. List down what changes you want to make now that will help you come out of the situation. Be your best friend and you will be able to sustain your happiness without needing any external help.
2. Choose Happiness
Every day when I wake up, I have 2 choices:
Be Happy or not be Happy.
I choose the first one. Simple isn’t it.
One may argue, that this is a very vague way of looking at it.
Maybe it is: But it does allow me to be happy no matter what. Looking at the bright side of things always is a habit. We need to develop and this exercise this.
Finding good in every situation makes it all the more simple. You may choose to do this small exercise for the next 4 weeks. Keep a journal and at the end of the day write 3 good things and 3 not so good things that happened today. For things that did not go as per the expectations, think for a possible bright side to it. What could have been the possible positive implications of that thing in your life? Answering this will help to change from self-critical mindset to Self-appreciative mindset.
3. Be Grateful
This is something that can fit in on almost every list. Gratitude is the key to Happiness. Being Grateful for every small thing around. Appreciating the small acts of Kindness of others. This really makes us happy. Following are the reasons why Gratitude leads to more happiness:
- Being Grateful strengthens our emotions
- Being Grateful makes us more optimistic
- Gratitude reduces materialism
- Being grateful makes our memories happier
- …and so much more ( we may take this topic for another post )
4. Be with happy people
Your emotional state is the average of the emotional health of 5 closest people in your life. ( a fact that psychological studies conclude ) . So choose your company wisely.
5. Help someone unconditionally
The impact of our small act of kindness goes far beyond the person receiving it. It creates a vibe of positivity and kindness in the atmosphere. As they say, what you send out is what you receive. The impact of helping someone without any reasons takes the kindness a long long way. And more important, it helps us feel happier.
6. Explore Creative ways of doing things
Many psychological studies have proved that creativity lowers stress levels. It gives a sense of purpose to life. This is form a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology . 658 volunteers had to maintain a journal for 13 days and write how creative they felt during those days. Creativity was defined as coming up with new ideas. Spending time in artistic pursuits and expressing oneself in an original way. They were also asked to rate their happiness levels. Each day the participants reported an increase in their creativity. And happiness showing an upward spiral in their state of well being. Engaging in some sort of creative pursuit really helps be happy.
7. Have a good night sleep
As simple it may seem, sleep is one of the most important factors in our state of overall well being. A sound sleep with 4-5 cycles of deep sleep is something which should be termed as good enough sleep. The sleep and wake times also play an important role here. One deep sleep cycle comprises of 1.5 hours. So the ideal sleep duration should be with 6 hours or 7.5 hours. Plus 15-20 minutes buffer time before we fall asleep.
For example, if you are going to bed at 9:45 pm, ideal wake time could be: 4 am(4 sleep cycles), 5:30 am (5 sleep cycles) or even 7:00 am(6 sleep cycles).
Waking up at the end of the sleep cycle is very important. If you wake up in the mid of cycle during deep sleep, you are most likely to feel sleepy throughout the day. And not feel fresh in spite of long hours of sleep and hence not allowing a state of well being or happiness. You may refer to Sleepyti.me for setting up the same.
8. Practice Mindfulness
The easiest step towards a more happy life is starting a meditation practice. Meditation here refers to the present moment awareness. A meditation in which we are more likely to be calm, composed and in control of the situation.
9. Find your true calling- Experience Flow
Didn’t realize how much time passed? You most likely experience a state of flow. It is a state in which we are engrossed in some tasks that we even forget the passage of time. As per research published in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology:
Flow is a state of complete absorption in the present moment.
10. Shift away from distractions
Often, when faced with challenges and situations in life: the mind wants us to take a break to go for a movie, a holiday or a long vacation.
But these are distractions from the core problem and by no chance a solution.
Most likely, once we are back from the break/vacation, the situation still exists and we still need to face it. There is no running away from the situation that can ever help subside it.
Only when we face and attempt to resolve the situation/conflict that we will be able to deal with it.
It is not that taking a break/vacation is wrong. It is perfectly okay! And we must take it often. But not because we want to run away from some situation/problem in life.