We all have one life to live and we must make it a point to see that it goes off happy. I mean, what’s the point of leading a life of discontentment and unhappiness? Yet, happiness seems to elude many people, even successful ones. A prime reason for this is that we equate happiness with the acquisition of material things like a new house, a new car or a promotion at work. Look, I am not knocking down wealth and the resultant comforts that it allows us. I know from experience that people with money lead a happy life and there is no point in being an ascetic. The point I am making is that one can find happiness even if one is living modestly. And the secret is to find happiness in the small things. Enjoy the little blessings and comfort that you have at the moment even if it is just watching your children play or solving a crossword in your local newspaper.
There are a lot of small (but not insignificant) things that all of us can do to make our lives that much more enjoyable. Here are some for you to digest:
This one is an absolute no-brainer. It was Thomas Carlyle who had said, “He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.” Before looking at other sources of happiness, we must ensure that we are healthy. I mean, which man is really going to be happy if he is obese and has diabetes? It is now pretty well established that good health is strongly correlated with overall happiness. So eat well and exercise regularly. Regular exercise releases endorphins in the body and lowers your stress levels, contributing to your overall well-being. And when you look good, you also attract the opposite sex!
Only beauty will do
Try and get rid of things in your home that are not serving any useful purpose. You will be astonished to find that, over the years, you may have acquired things that only clutter your universe. If there are things in your life or home that you think are worthless or which do not contribute to your happiness quotient, discard them without a second thought. In this way, you will be able to make room for better and more beautiful things that could bring you contentment on a regular basis.
Sharing is caring
When we decide to share what we have with others, we bring happiness to others while increasing our happiness at the same time. Happiness is largely about being thankful for all the small things that people do for you and that you are able to do for other people. Therefore, share a meal or some old clothes with someone in need. There are small charities that you could get involved with which will give you a sense of accomplishment that goes beyond anything that you may have achieved at work. If you have a friend who is lonely or has been going through a particularly trying time, call him or her over to spend some time with you.
Think of what you have
Take the time to make a list of all the comforts that you enjoy regularly. These comforts can be small but significant. Maybe you live in a town that has good roads or access to different modes of transportation. Unlike some people in the world, you could have running water and electricity. Therefore, when you make a list of these comforts, you will find that you are not doing too badly after all.
Slow down and find happiness
Sometimes, in order to be truly happy, we need to slow down and take a minute to look around us in order to appreciate what we have. This could mean playing with your child for half an hour in the morning or pampering your pet dog before heading out to work. When we slow down, we suddenly are able to take stock of things that we may have been taking for granted. Find the time to play simple board games with the family on the weekends or organize a picnic once a month to stay truly content. Even at work, take time to bond with colleagues on a regular basis to truly understand what happiness is all about.
Don’t neglect the small things
If you are only concerned with the goals you have set for yourself in life, you will only be moving onward and upward. This sort of a lifestyle will probably help you accomplish much in the world but it may not make you truly happy. However, if you neglect the small things in life, you will not find emotional fulfilment that most people are in search of. In many ways, our happiness depends on how we shape our attitudes towards the little things that matter. Therefore, appreciate a warm hug, a nice blanket or an appliance that makes life easier. These little things will bring you as much or more happiness than accomplishing big goals.
Find happiness even when you are alone
When people find themselves alone, they often complain that they are unhappy as a result of the situation. However, we can find happiness in our solitude because it gives us the liberty and time to do things that we have always wanted to do without the constraint of people. Take the time to do some travelling to a place that you always wanted to visit or involve yourself in chores or activities that give you satisfaction. Pursue you favourite hobby and even find a way to follow it full time. Read a good book. Or, just go to the nearest park and meditate in the stillness.
There are enough studies that show that the act of smiling will help increase your happiness levels. Yes, smiling at someone random and getting a positive response can be quite exhilarating. You could do this in the following ways:
* If a stranger passes by, smile at him or her. It sounds easy but it is not! It requires guts and practice!
* If you are entering an elevator, smile at the people already inside. Smile at people who are entering. Say a good morning.
* Smile at the shopkeeper behind the shop counter. Don’t scowl while paying up.
* Do something small but significant for a total stranger who you may have just come to know.
We may not realize it but when we forgive those who may have harmed us in the past, we can find happiness. When we find it in our hearts to forgive people who we may have had problems with, we feel a burden lift off our hearts even if the persons did not deserve it. There is light-hearted feeling that comes over us and it can be quite nice!
Reading a quote in the morning or an interesting article that has the power to uplift you. We might even forget about it during the course of the day but for a fleeting moment when we first read it, we can feel happy, especially if it relates to a particular situation that we may be going through. Making a note of these quotes and pasting them on a board will help us view them and keep them as a gentle reminder.
Sometimes, enjoying a small cheesecake or a muffin in the morning is what you need to stay happy even if you are in a bad mood. Treat yourself to a dessert or two during the course of the week. It could lead to a happier you. A cupcake a day could be the lift you need to really make you happy.
Work towards finding happiness in the small things; you may not believe me but these could make a significant difference to your life. We are all so caught up in the rat race in this increasingly competitive world that we just don’t seem to realise that true happiness is not elusive – it is well within our grasp.
Visual Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/psmithy/