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This article was written by Tania Bhattacharya on behalf of Sherley Altidor.
I have often casually asked people what they wanted from life. In most cases, I got the reply: happiness. Come to think about it, isn’t it sad that so many people want to be happy because you want something that is essentially missing from life. Maybe I am overthinking, maybe they were not thinking about their answer from that point, but the fact remains—all of us could do better with more happiness.
Why is happiness such a rare substance? Why is it that not each one of us can say to ourselves that yes, I am happy? I think the ‘problem’ lies with the concept of happiness and with the fact that we attach being happy with a lot of external factors. Or we wait for others to make us happy. And none of that is going to help.
The first step we need to take in order to be happy is take charge. Like every other thing in our life, let us take responsibility for our emotional wellbeing. Knowing that we are the only ones that can make ourselves happy will also make us more ‘aware’ of how we respond to situations and hence in a way help us have a grip on how we choose to feel.
Here are some other things that we should practice to be happy.
Appreciate the smaller things of life
Remember that famous line — money can’t buy happiness? While many a times we consciously or unconsciously associate happiness with a price tag, being happy has really nothing to do with how pricey we can get. Let’s take an example. You come home from work after a long, hard day and your dog comes running to you and greets you as soon as you open the door. Aren’t you happy? Or, your 5 year old gifts you a beautiful hand-painted card. Aren’t you happy? You will be if you choose to be. You could either ignore that card, thinking of it as yet another DIY art project that anyway lies throughout the house OR see the effort your kid has taken to make you happy and understand that you were in your little one’s thought when she was creating it. That card your kid gives you is not expensive but priceless. Happiness is looking beyond price and looking at value.
Do things that make you happy. Painting, dancing, cooking, reading… it could be anything. But it’s important that you are in touch with your inner self. I know it is easier said than done. But we have to do it, no matter what. Because you cannot keep others happy for long if you go on depriving yourself of things that make you happy. Where’s the time? There will never be any unless you snatch it out of your routine. If you love reading, reserve 30 minutes every night after dinner to do just that. You don’t need hours on end to pursue your object of happiness, although that would have been wonderful. But let’ get real here. Reserve those 30 minutes for yourself. When the others around you see that you are serious about this half-an-hour, they too will give it to you. Try it.
Most of us know about endorphins, right? Those feel-happy hormones that are released when we exercise? Yes, that’s there, and there is also the BDNF or Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. As we start exercising, our brains read it as a distress signal and release BDNF that protects and repairs the memory and eventually makes us happy. It really pays to go for a run round the block you see!
How else do you think we can take control of our happiness? Let me know in the comment section below. Take care. Be happy.
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