Do you believe Happiness is a choice? You see many people like you and me, we struggle and grind in our life, trying to live up-to what other’s label as happiness or what we consider as happiness. Not aware of what actual happiness is. I know everyone in this world from the rich to the poorest person alive seeks happiness.
Face the fact, nobody in this world can always be happy all the time, that’s true, but there are some few principles of life that one must understand in order to sprinkle some real peace and happiness in life. And today I’ll share those principles with you.
Well, if I say forgive someone right away whom you’ve hated for decades and eventually you shall be blessed with happiness, would you believe?
If I say let go of your job which is draining your spiritual energy, sucking the life out of you and eventually you’ll receive happiness, would you leave the job?
Now you might be thinking “Saying is easy because you haven’t gone through the circumstances that I have faced in life”. Yes, that’s true to some extent but this is the thought which is clouding the path that leads to happiness.
Remember this if you’re facing problem with letting go bad memories:
“Harboring your resentment is allowing someone whom you don’t like to live inside your head without paying rent.”
- Anger – when someone provokes you
- Rage – how you reacted to it
- Holding on – Resentment
We have the power to control all these three processes of Anger, which only brings instability in once life.
We’re all like a painter with a white sheet of paper “life” in our hand and we’re blessed with wonderful colors just like the rainbow, and we’re tasked to color the paper throughout life. It’s up to us how we color it and what we dream of painting.
So, let’s begin.
7 steps that’ll bestow happiness in your life if you execute them:
Be thankful and count the blessings.
Learn to carry intentional gratitude on your lives each day, gratitude is a sense of appreciation that comes whilst we apprehend that something is precious to you, that’s nothing to do with a momentary worth.
Words from a friend, a kind gesture, an opportunity, a lesson, a brand-new pillow, a loved one’s return to health, the reminiscence of a blissful moment, a package of flowers.
Start each day with gratitude, whilst you do that, you’ll see opportunities coming your way, not obstacles. You’ll be attracted to creativity, not complaint. It’s like coloring your day with your favorite color everyday which only brings joy.
I know it’s hard to believe that thankfulness could actually have measurable benefits. Gratitude is linked to better mental health, self-awareness, better relationships and a sense of fulfillment.
This will help you overcome bitterness, the toxic emotions after a breakup or failure and any pain.
Tip: Keep a Gratitude Journal.
Every night or in the morning, spend 10-15 minutes writing down the things you’re grateful for.
Giving service is a way of caring for the body and soul.
Selflessness is the healthiest route to inner peace, happiness and meaningful self. Think of yourself as nature, nature always giving, the sun provides heat and light, trees give oxygen and shade, water satisfies our thirst.
When we see our purpose of life as self-gratification, making ourselves feel good it eventually leads to pain and dissatisfaction.
The Bhagavad Gita says, giving simply because it is right to give, without thought of return, at a proper time, in proper circumstances, and to a worthy person, is sattvic giving – giving in the mode of goodness.
When we start doing good for others, we eventually attract good things in life without even seeking it. Service connects us with the world, it amplifies gratitude, increases compassion and builds self-esteem.
Tip: Extend your Radius of Care
Think of 4 to 6 people you’d drop everything to assist. How often do you think about these people? Do you ever actually show them you care? Now, think of fifteen to twenty people you would help if they asked.
Now take them closer to the circle of care.
Write down the names in a paper or journal and see every day, observe how this changes your motivation to help them.
Smile, it’s therapy.
Smiling tricks our brain, how? Happiness is what makes us smile. This is what we think and we’ve to learn to reverse it. Well, as I said, smiling tricks your brain and makes us believe that we’re actually happy and eventually the small action brings up the actual feeling of happiness. It does sound crazy but a fake smile does a really good job!
Fake it today and observe the little changes. Science believes in it, why? When we fake a smile, it sends signals to the brain and automatically spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including Dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is a hormone associated with the feelings of happiness and serotonin reduces stress.
This practice will lift your mood, reduce stress, boost the immune system, boost mental health and probably blessed you with a longer life. Do this practice to trick your brain, not the people around you, ok!
Tip: Fake smile!
Use your mouth, cheeks and also crinkle the corners of your eyes, use all the muscle around the edges, hold for 5-10 seconds. Keep doing it daily whenever convenient, you’ll see changes in your attitude!
Exercises – stoic exercises.
Stoicism is not a philosophy, it is a set of tools that helps us direct thoughts and actions in an unpredictable way. We cannot control the external events but instead control our minds and choose the right behavior.
When we consider exercise the primary thing that comes to mind is hitting the gym , building muscle, strengthening your body, and building an hourglass ideal body. Well, physical exercise also helps us build a steadier mind as both mind and body are linked but today, I’ll talk about stoic exercises.
This exercise helps us pursue an honest life, helps us stay calm during tough times and overall prepares us for facing this changing world.
- First, when you face a difficult situation and don’t know what to do, ask yourself, what would your ideal person do at times like this? Like what would my father do or mother or an ideal friend do?
- Second, Negative visualization – stay calm and think about possible misfortune that might occur in the near future.
Like what if you’re going to die? Or fail an exam? Or something unpredictable happens? This visualization is done in-order to prepare ourselves for the worst.
- Third, Voluntary discomfort – train yourself for uncomfortable situations so you won’t back away when they come.
DO: intentionally get yourself in an uncomfortable situation, like burp in public, lay down on the floor in public or anything that disturbs your comfort zone.
- Fourth, pain and sickness – this exercise works like this, next time if you feel some sort of pain, train your virtue and remember the pain is to the body not the mind.
This exercise will strengthen your mind which will eventually prevent you from complaining. As self-indulgent thoughts only make things worse.
There are many exercises like this but to cover all of that I’ll need to write another set of articles on them. If you want to explore some more stoic exercises, please let me know in the comment section below.
Meditate, adopt mindfulness practice.
The fastest and the easiest way to find happiness and tranquility in this crowded world. According to science, meditation has the capacity to increase the level of feel-good chemicals like endorphins and serotonin in your body.
When you hear this term meditation what comes to mind? Probably closing eyes and concentrating/ focusing on one thing, right? Well, if I say meditation is way beyond this.
Certainly, meditation can also be called as visualization, during the practice we revisit the past, another place or time, we’re bestowed with the opportunity to heal the past and prepare for the future, how? Think of everything that is human-made? They existed in someone’s mind before it came into reality.
Likewise, if we envision our fear, dreams, hopes for the future, we can process the feeling before they happen and strengthen ourselves to take on new challenges. (Just like the stoic exercise)
If you’re new then I’ll encourage you to take help from an online meditation app, or visit a meditation center. There are plenty of options if you really want to do it.
For beginners, begin the practice with the following steps:
- Find comfortable position
- Close your eyes
- Lower your gaze
- Make yourself comfortable in the position
- Bring your awareness to calm, balance, ease, peace and stillness.
- Whenever your brain wanders, gently bring it back to calm, balance, ease, peace and stillness.
If you want to dig deeper into meditation, and seek to learn how to remove toxic energy and find peace even in a crowded and noisy room, please let me know in the comment section below.
Lord Buddha said “forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace”. We all harbor anger in some form: anger from the past, or anger at the people and when we’re deeply hurt anger is the only response.
But remember anger is misfortune, anger is like the untreated cancer that kills us slowly, anger is a great never-ending circle of negative emotions.
Ksama, a Sanskrit term for forgiveness. When we’re hurt, we can’t even imagine how we might forgive the person who hurt us but primarily forgiveness is an action which can be taken within ourselves.
I’ll tell you how? When you’re angry, you want an eye for an eye, you seek revenge but guess what? You only feel more pain.
However, when we rise above revenge, we can begin the process of forgiveness. Forgiveness actually conserves energy, it eases stress and other associated health problems like headache, body-pain, fatigue etc.
Practice humility in order to gain peace of mind.
- Always remember the bad we’ve done to others and good others have done to us. Focusing on the bad we’ve done will force us to remember our imperfections, it’ll keep our ego grounded.
When we remember what good things others did for us, we feel humbled and it becomes easier for us to show gratitude.
- Always forget the good things we’ve done for others and the bad others have done to us. If we keep recalling the good things, our ego grows.
Remember ego is a mask that makes lies for us which later harms us. And others have treated you bad, let that go too. It’s hard but it detaches you from your ego.
Acceptance, make your own family.
No one’s born perfect but as we grow, we’ve to learn to be open to new connections. Accept yourself as we’re and accept others as they are. Our life is too short to spend it in stress, depression, and ignorance.
Practice acceptance and trust, don’t seek it from others but build it inside. We’re in a world where everyone is trying to live up-to what others have labeled as happiness or wealth. Remember we’ve the right to choose what we believe in.
Furthermore, regardless of what’s happening around us, by accepting the circumstances that we can’t change we choose mental peace in the process.
Things we can’t control and should just let it go;
- What others think of us
- What others do and speak
- What happens around us
- The outcome of our efforts
- Other people’s behavior and feelings
Thus, to survive we must keep changing and accepting ourselves as the seasons do.
Things we can control and should practice every day;
- What I think about myself and speak to myself
- My words, reactions and actions
- My feelings and boundaries I set
- The amount of effort I put
- How I treat others
These were the simple principles a person must always remember, and even though you remember them one must execute them in order to get the result.
Above all, eat healthy, don’t overthink and burden yourself, experience new things, travel, socialize and get out of your comfort zone, make a goal and work on it.
Happiness is a choice. And remember, happiness doesn’t shower upon us like rain, we feel it when we are in a good emotional state like the feeling of satisfaction, contentment and fulfillment.