The art of happiness

Happiness is the goal of every human being. It is a universal aspiration. Everybody craves for happiness. No one of us wishes to suffer, but only some people get to taste it throughout their lives. Happiness is greatest of all wealth and riches. No matter how much worldly possession, fame and success we have accumulated but it can’t guarantee happiness and  life satisfaction.The need for happiness is  even most deeply felt in present era of stress and strain where life has become too hectic and busy; everyone is in a mad race. From riches to rags everyone is longing for happiness which can be defined as having meaning and satisfaction in life. It’s about having peace of mind and contentment. Without happiness, life of a person is tasteless and he is prone to psycho somatic issues. Happy people are healthy, productive, optimist, creative, resilient and successful people. They have good social relationships and are less likely to engage in health risking behaviours like alcohol and smoking .They enjoy better psychophysical functioning. Happiness is a choice; a cultivable goal which can be achieved with positive mindset and keeping in view the utmost role of happiness in our lives; its imperative to know the ways and means of happiness.

Key Strategies for Happiness

There are some key strategies that would fill our life with happiness in every circumstance. Some of them are:

1. Never compare yourself:  In order to be happy we  should never compare ourselves with those who are superior to to us in looks, wealth and fame. Looking on superior gives us the feeling of awe and  we get to feel that our life has nothing good to offer and we begin to feel disheartened and disappointed. Instead if we will   Look on destitutes ,orphans , disabled , we would realise that if we don’t have branded shoes to wear others don’t have feet to walk ;if we don’t have soft beds to sleep others don’t have bread to eat. This positive mindset would breed happiness and life satisfaction which are the key elements of well being. People with high well being are successful people in real sense. Success is not measured by wealth and fame but by the amount of happiness and peace which we feel in life.

2. Shun the unrealistic expectations. We should shun the unrealistic goals which we have set for ourselves and others, for instanceI should be loved by all, I should be successful in everything I do, my wishes should be taken as laws, I should get everything I want. These are the chief causes of our suffering because these are unrealistic expectations and these  can only be achieved in dreams not in real life. Life is a matter of compromise. When we begin to accept and embrace this reality our sufferings lessen.

3. Perfectly love the imperfect you: We should always love ourselves unconditionally because when we love ourselves unconditionally we free ourselves from fear of criticism and extreme need for approval by others. It means we should not set conditions of worth on ourselves. For example a person who feels that he is worthless just because he hasn’t been able to crack IAS exams is lowering his morale. People who love themselves unconditionally have high self esteem , confidence and optimism which are very much important to thrive in life. They provide a shield to a person against stress and are immune to various psychopathologies like anxiety and depression.

4. Be optimistic: We should always have an optimistic outlook and should search for opportunities in adversities. We should be hopeful of better thingsand should feed self with positive statements like good things are on way to come ; sufferings, failures are momentary and in it is a lesson to be learned. It can be summed up in a statement -My efforts will pay off;  a heart is like a child it believes everything we tell .

5. Get your bond with the creator strengthened: We should spent some time in prayers, meditation, yoga or other religious activities. When we get connected to God  we transcend above stress and strain to the world of inner bliss which soothes the broken heart and tensed mind; for which every human being is craving in the world ruined by materialism. It has a cathartic effect.  . When we develop faith in god we automatically begin to feel relaxed and less stressed ; we start seeing the life through a new prism; we start believing that whatever god bestows us is best be it suffering or joy .

6. Be kind and compassionate: We should always help others emotionally or materially. Research has shown that when we help others we automatically feel happy. We feel good that we did something nice. When we help others what previously appeared to be daunting and unbearable, which is what often makes our problems so overwhelming, tends to lose its intensity.

7. Never let the past baggage ruin your present: We should not keep dwelling over past failures and disappointments. Past is a lesson not a punishment for whole life. Instead  we should cherish the present moment and prepare for future. Dwelling on past and excessive worry about future only robs us from joy of present moment.

8. Do not have lust for more and more: We should always be contended with what we have have. Lust for more destroys inner peace& ruins a man .This was beautifully highlighted by leo tolstoy in his story How much land does a man need  where a character named Pahom in his lust for more and more land lost life &was finally buried in just a 6 inch grave. Nature has enough to satiate our need but not enough to satiate our greed.

9. Do not catastrophise negativities in life: We should never forget what god bestowed us ;especially in adversities. We should always remember rather accept that joy and pain are part and parcel of life. Problems are inescapable. They come in life of everyone. We should not make trouble out of bubble rather we should try to learn from problems and minimising rather than catastrophising their effects.

Being happy is everything and needs nothing but a positive and thankful outlook on life.

Author is a research scholar in the Dept. Of Psychology, University of Kashmir,Srinagar.