BY RENU MEHTA, TORONTO:
Mahatma Gandhi has said: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Over the years, I have often wondered about the meaning of Happiness. Is it a state of feeling intense joy all the time, about getting everything we want? Or is it about achieving success, or power or being rich? We often confuse excitement with happiness – are they one and the same. But excitement is momentary. Excitement, and the highs it brings, can often cloud judgements and make one equate itself with happiness. That is why money does not make a person happy. For example, one wins a lottery, or gets a promotion, or finds a lost item that they treasured—the adrenalin rush that moment brings, gives our ego a great feeling. The rush is tremendous—but from personal experience, I can truly say that the boost will not stay for long, and will inevitably be followed by a low, the exact opposite reaction of high, that cannot be avoided.
While I have not really figured out and keep debating what makes one happy, I do abide by a few words of wisdom from Dale Carnegie who said: “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
So here goes – the Five ways of being Happy, by me!
Show Appreciation and Gratitude
Happiness is about appreciating what we have. Count your blessings when you wake up in the morning and be happy that you are breathing and alive and so are all those who bring meaning to your life. Show gratitude for all the good things in your life when you first wake up. Send out positive vibes and energy to the Universe so that these are transmitted to whoever is in need. And just before you go to sleep, express thankfulness for all the good things that have emanated for you during the day.
Each one Help one
“It is neither wealth nor splendor but tranquility and occupation which give you Happiness,” said Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States of America. If each one of us helps just one person in need, this will not only provide support to the person we are helping, but deliver us with a huge sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Pick up the phone to speak to someone in need, someone who perhaps lives alone, requires a pick me up conversation or just needs to know there is someone out there for them.
A Small Act of Kindness
We have heard often that giving creates a sense of well-being and happiness. A small act of kindness goes a long way and brings a sense of fulfillment. One can give in different ways. If you know how to sew, use your skills to stitch masks. Cook a meal for a senior, or someone who is sick or a family in need. Extend a hand to buy groceries for someone who is unable to go to a store. This helping hand will empower your being with a remarkable upbeat effect, and deliver an increased functioning in your emotional and psychological health.
Spread your wealth! According to medicalnewstoday.com, “researchers have found a connection between happiness and the performance of selfless acts. Giving to others, they say, activates an area of the brain linked with contentment and the reward cycle.” So donate money to a good cause that can go towards much needed food for those in need, or masks, ventilators or other requirements for hospitals as well as frontline heroes and essential workers.
Stay Strong, Stay Home
Stay at home to help others. Despite the isolation and loneliness of being stuck at home, stay strong so that you can help others. This period too shall pass and before you know it, you will be once again begin to interact with friends, family and others. Above all, count your blessings, meditate, explore your inward being, develop a positive attitude and keep smiling!