All of us would like to be happy. We would like to find joy, exhilaration and satisfaction in everything we do and in the lives we lead everyday. In the crazy, sophisticated world of today, many of us seem to have forgotten how amazingly easy it is to make the constant choice of being happy. Just to remind this amazing, busy and sometimes happiness-yearning 21st century world, here are ten forgotten truths about happiness.
1. Gratefulness for how lucky we are despite the challenges we face is the key to reaching true happiness.
Last year, I conducted leadership campaigns for several children of an orphanage in my hometown in India. I was surprised to see how happy the children were though they had never known their parents and though more than 40 of them shared a single room for living space. Their optimism and immense will to keep hoping and dreaming taught me that the obstacles in our life, however daunting they seem, are irrelevant if we have the courage to be grateful for everything we already have. The fact that we are living to breathe this moment and that we have senses to read this article is a proof of how tremendously privileged we are and all the things we should be thankful for. Thankfulness inevitably brings happiness.
2. Long lasting happiness is usually got from our experiences and memories, not material things.
Clothes, booze, mansions, cars and all the material luxuries that money can buy us often only serve as a palliative to numb the desire for true happiness. To be really happy, we should invest in experiences and build memories doing the things that exhilarate us and with the people with whom we share the greatest love.
3. Happiness can be found in slowing down, listening to others and reconnecting with nature (and perhaps with God, if you are a believer).
In the totally crazy and absolutely busy world of today we often overlook the simple pleasures our surroundings can offer us. It could be the fragrance of flowers on the street side, a laughing baby in the neighborhood, deep meditation, travelling or perhaps, prayer. Some people, like me, find real happiness connecting with nature and some others, like my mom, find happiness by connecting with God through prayer. We all have different ways of tuning into our inner selves and giving ourselves a break. Finding what our ‘way’ is and doing it is key to finding our unique happiness.
In the words of a song in Barbie the island princess “love knows, love grows bigger than before…in your heart there’s always more”. When we choose to care more deeply and for more people, our capacity to love expands, because we always have more to give. Often loving others is the key to being loved and this cycle often has a cyclic effect of giving us joy. Peace, got from pursuing what we love, and love, gained by sharing and caring for people, add up to give guaranteed happiness.
5. On our deathbeds, many of us are going to wish that we had let ourselves be happier.
According to an article published in The Mind Unleashed, one of the top five regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they hadn’t chosen to be happier, more often. So let yourself be happier. Choose to do what gets you there.
6. Tuning into upbeat media when things seem dismal is a better shot at rediscovering joy.
Self-pity is not going to help heal our melancholy. Looking up to sources of hope and optimism-upbeat songs, optimistic books, rom-com movies etc.- in depressing times can help us much better in rediscovering the way of joy than drowning ourselves deeper in the well of tragedies.
7. Following the Cinderella motto, having courage and being kind is a sure-shot way to make us feel happy.
Have courage under to face all circumstances, and be kind to others and even more importantly, to yourself. You’re not perfect and life is not perfect. Serving others and exercising regularly are universal keys to feeling happy and good about ourselves.
8. Don’t let regret swallow the precious times in which you could feel happy instead.
Don’t blame or give yourself negative pep-talks-remember you’re only human and it’s okay to make mistakes- just learn to forgive yourself, to learn from your mistakes and move on.
Forcing a “genuine” smile and holding it for two minutes can actually make you feel happier by boosting the levels of your ‘happy hormones’ like serotonin, according to a research published in psychology today.
10. Happiness doesn’t occur by chance, it’s a constant choice we have to make, every second of every day.
Every time we feel happy, it is firstly because we choose to and not because of the events that are happening around us. If we have the will to be happy every moment, we will find a way to get there regardless of our circumstances.
Featured photo credit: Jonathan Kos-Read via flickr.com