So what’s our ultimate goal in life? If you really think about it – it is to be happy isn’t it?
So does everyone want to be happy? Seems an obvious and stupid question doesn’t it! But sometimes when we look at those around us and even at ourselves don’t we feel that lots of us sabotage our happiness from time to time.
Postponing being Happy
Lots of us like to link happiness to a particular event. For example, I will be happy when I have a car, when I have a house, when I pass my exam, when I get married, when I have kids, when the kids grow up, when they have moved out, when I get divorced, when I retire, when I …, when I …, when I …, forever and ever! Sound familiar? If being happy is the ultimate goal of everyone – why do we link happiness to an event – why do we postpone it?
The unhappiness excuse – or being happy by being unhappy
I sometimes think that there are people who take great pleasure in being unhappy. Could it be that if there is nothing to gripe or grouse about life may become boring and lose its meaning? But what a sad way to live life – when the alternative is to ‘just be happy’. Sometimes when these very same people are shown ways that they could make their lives better and solve their problems – they inevitably have a problem for every solution – and so it ends that nothing gets sorted out.
Happiness is just a state of mind
Happiness doesn’t have to be linked to anything but it is miraculously something we can have immediately – whenever we want it – as it is just a state of mind. Wonderful isn’t it. So what can we do then to be happy?
The magic word
The first is invoke the magic word – choice. It is our choice to be happy – and it is our choice to be sad. If we accept this then life becomes magical almost immediately because there indeed is a silver lining to every cloud, and a light at the end of every tunnel. So let’s just choose to be happy shall we – learning lessons from so many people out there who have much less than us but are achieving so much more and touching thousands of lives. One person whom I was inspired by in the past weeks is Nick Vujicic born without arms or legs – but now a best-selling author, husband, father and motivator of millions around the world. The fact that choice plays a big part in our happiness is underscored in his story and countless others like him.
The rich vs. the poor
We sometimes see people who want for nothing material in the world but are still unhappy, and also see lots of people, sometimes without even the basic necessities of life – but who do seem to be content and walk around with a genuine smile on their face. Choice again!
The lottery winner vs. the paralyzed
You would think that the lottery winner would be happier than the person who has become paralyzed isn’t it? But surprisingly the research tells us that after about 6 months – the happiness of both persons is about the same – because they have adjusted to their situations in life.
So what can we do to switch on happiness?
Well firstly we can – make the choice that we want to be happy rather than sad and that we are choosing to so do – right now. No excuses, no extensions, no delays. Right now! Well that’s out of the way. According to a research I stumbled on – 50% of our happiness comes from our genes – which we have supposedly no control over; 10% from our circumstances and 40% from our choices. So there you see it. We can indeed choose to be happy.
Secondly – if we make a list of things we have in our life to be grateful for – we would see that we are indeed blessed and therefore there are reasons to be happy. It is said that the very act of looking for things to be grateful for changes our mood and physiology. When we start looking for things to be grateful for – dopamine (a neurotransmitter) production increases and we feel more motivated to get out and do stuff; another neurotransmitter called serotonin is also boosted – which plays a big part in enhancing our emotion called – yes you guessed it happiness.
Thirdly – well we can look out for things to appreciate in others and stuff to thank others for. When we do this – it is another act that increases serotonin production in both us and the recipient of our compliment or appreciation – and helps to increase both our own and the recipient’s happiness. Double the benefit with a simple act.
Fourth – spending time with like-minded people that we trust and whose company we enjoy – boosts happiness speedily.
Finally – a simple act of kindness – given generously and without any expectation of reciprocity would also enhance our happiness.
In all of these – religion had it right for thousands of years. Science is now catching up. Have fun being happy people – no time like the present.