Let’s get started with the serious business of finding the elusive happiness and keeping it within us forever. It’s easier said than done, but it’s not impossible.
1. Jumpstart your Day!
Your attitude when you wake up sets the tone for the day. So start your day with a smile and a happy heart. Mornings are best if you want to do some exercising. 30 to 40 minutes are enough to elevate your mood and make you feel better. This should be an absolute must-do on our daily schedule. After all the excessive indulgence of food and drinks and fast-paced lifestyle, exercising will lead you to be more conscious about your body. Exercising need not be restricted to the high-end gyms with the expensive personal trainers. It need not be a HIIT circuit or running a marathon. It could be anything that you enjoy which would make you sweat it out. A yoga session, a game of badminton or tennis, a few laps in the swimming pool, a run around the playground. Anything but something meaningful, something focused, with honesty. The only person reaping the benefits is yourself. Our lifestyles don’t allow the luxury of time to indulge in “me-time”. Let’s not use that as an excuse. If we can make time to sit and relax before the TV, watching senseless, mind numbing programs being repeated in different formats in different channels, I’m sure we can manage a few minutes to do something more useful for our own self. The changes will not be restricted to just the physical but will also extend to our mental health. We will begin to feel nice about ourselves. Our posture improves as we walk tall, indirectly impressing everyone with our growing confidence. The calmness of the mind reflects on the face. All this happens because we decided to love ourselves and spend some quality time on nurturing our weary body, heart and mind.
2. Food for Thought
While some people live to eat and others eat to live. Neither of the options is a healthy one. Enjoying eating and trying out new things is a passion incomparable. But that doesn’t mean we have to gorge on unhealthy food right from the time we wake up. It’s important to understand food and make the necessary changes towards a healthy balance. Skipping breakfast is an absolute NO. On the contrary; breakfast is and should become the most important meal of the day. Various studies have time and again proved that breakfast should not be avoided. It’s the first meal of the day, after a long gap during the night. A balanced breakfast provides the body with the much-needed energy to start off the day. A well-fed stomach will prevent distraction because of hunger pangs when you should instead be concentrating on work. The type of food we eat also affects our mood; like rich heavy food makes us sluggish and dull. Instead on gorging on oily burgers or chole-bature during the delayed lunch break, develop a habit of having small meals at regular intervals. This way your stomach is always full, and you don’t have to stuff yourself because you are starving. Include healthier options like salads and yogurts. Avoid bakery products which are full of white flour and sugar. Small changes can slowly but surely bring about big differences in our lives.
3. Don’t be shy. Be heard
It’s nice to express your opinion or thoughts, and not keep them to yourself at all times. There’s a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Being assertive needs you to be confident of what you are thinking, of knowing what is correct and what is suitable for the situation, of being in tune with the requirements and feelings of the others around. The person who is aggressive would be operating with only himself or herself in mind. This kind of attitude certainly doesn’t help in building a strong team or fostering team spirit. In a team, everyone matters. So speak up. Your thought counts. People who tend to keep to themselves, seldom speaking out, get ignored and gradually fade into oblivion. This leads to isolation, both social and emotional. These people are more susceptible to suffering from depression or low self-esteem. So, first step to feeling better is to talk; talk to your family, your peers, friends and colleagues. Whenever possible, step up and contribute to the discussion, express your ideas doesn’t matter how weird or funny or irrelevant you think they are. Let people notice you. Being heard makes one feel more important and increases our self-worth.
4. Enrich your Life by investing in Experiences
There’s no escaping the realities of life – the mad rat-race, to come out on the top. But is it all you want to do with your life? I mean when you encapsulate your life, it should not be restricted to just going to work and back. Travel, see new places, explore the lesser known. There’s so much to see and explore that even a lifetime dedicated to it is not enough. Studies have shown that travelling is one of most favoured forms of destressing and always ensures a sense of satisfaction. Choose your style. Or pick up a hobby you have been wanting to learn for some time. Join some classes – baking, painting, dramatics, languages. Don’t restrict yourself to the same old rut. Invest time in yourself. It’s the best form of investment, with assured high returns in the form of happiness and contentment. Every time you look back, it’s bound to bring a smile to face. Material acquisitions bring temporary happiness and have a shelf life, which lasts as long as their requirement exists. So, don’t be miser when investing in experiences. Surround yourself with happy memories like photographs and memorabilia from various trips or celebrations, or of your family and friends. It will never fail to bring a smile to your face. Happiness depends on small things, if only we knew where to look.
5. Let the Challenges test you and make you Stronger
One who said life was a walk in the park, has either never lived or hasn’t been born. Life is all about challenges – big, small, beautiful, horrible, enriching, depressing, learning, unlearning. In short it is full of experiences. And it is these experiences that make us who we are. Challenges are seldom easy and often test you. The only choice you have is to face them. Running away does not make them disappear; they just become more daunting and overwhelming, waiting to devour you. So the simplest thing to do is to first accept it and then work towards resolving it. Procrastinating or ignoring it magnifies the challenges at hand. This leads to unnecessary building up of anxiety and stress. Work on the problems. What needs to be done, how to go about it, when to start work on it, etc. – all these questions require your attention. Making a list always helps organise your work and also makes it look doable. Prioritise the jobs for better results. Find out what calms you – many agree that listening to music is therapeutic. Try it. Maybe listening to your favourite tunes will make the work more enjoyable, and assist you in completing a task that was otherwise a dreary challenge. Look at it as a path to rediscovering yourself, learning more about who you are and what you are capable of.
6. Be Grateful.
Feeling grateful is the first step towards becoming a better person. We need to understand that we do not work in isolation. There are many seen/unseen people assisting us as we go through our day. So often we tend to take things for granted and notice them only in their absence. Being grateful makes us more humble and empathetic. One is better able to appreciate others and look beyond ourselves. Our daily lives are structured and moulded to make us the centre, self-involved and selfish people, with little time for anyone or anything else. And time is off premium value. In these circumstances learning to be grateful is important. It is not only the acknowledgement of the contribution of others in our lives but also creating an awareness about our surroundings. Start off with simple changes like smiling more often, being nice to people you meet, greeting them with a positive vibe, using those magic words we all learnt at school, saying thank you and please generously, and most importantly being grateful. There’s enough anger and negativity without you trying to add to it. So try sincerely. You will notice the wonderful results soon enough, encouraging not just you but others, those who have benefitted from your benevolence, bringing forth more such changes.