Throughout my late teens and early twenties, I felt like I was my saddest self. I often felt depressed, didn’t enjoy life, didn’t know how to have fun or even live in the moment. I was conflicted between the past and the future. It was as though being sad and unhappy was a better way to live. Sometimes, I would whine and complain… I felt moody, easily irritated, felt like crying often. I was neither fun, nor did I know the IDEA of fun. I felt like I didn’t have the permission to have a good time. I was anxious and not so productive, too. To add to it, my multi-aspirational and over-ambitious attitude didn’t really help. In fact, I was almost always overwhelmed, irritated and moody. Most of my reactions came from an emotional baggage of the past, however, it soon dawned upon me that if I didn’t take action now, I’d never change my situations.
A few years back, I took it upon myself to make a few conscious choices, to retrain my brain. It was years of baggage that I had to get rid of but I had to start somewhere, immediately. External factors play a huge role in shaping us. However, we can’t control the situations around us but only our own emotions.
What I can take charge of, right now, is my own situations. The smaller steps that I take today, can help me shape more positive environment. You know, they say, that charity begins at home, right, perhaps affirming oneself and creating a positive environment at home is something to begin with? Here are a few steps which can really help you take immediate action towards your happy state:
- Modify the statements you tell yourself: Hold back that complaint, think it through and see how could you reframe the argument. So often, we keep whining in our heads. I raise my hand, when I say that our inner critic is a whiner. That silly whining voice in our head need to be silenced many times. The minute you start reminding yourself about all the positive stuff happening in your life, you immediately rewire your brain to emit the happy hormones. You will consequently, stop saying the same things to others and feel better. There is a direct correlation between what you tell yourself positively and what and how you say things to the world around you. If you whine all the time, you will start hating your own self, and of course, stay unhappy. Clearly, that is not something any of us wants in life.
- “Action” things more: We all know that no one likes that person, who doesn’t action things and only talks. I am a big fan of Dalai Lama and practice much of his teachings. He says, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” When we actually start doing the work required for our own well-being, we are our best selves possible. Smaller steps, which change our environment or state of mind are like, stepping out of the house, meditating, meeting a friend or making that call, or a work workout (as in my case), we wire ourselves for happiness. Just change the mood by taking positive action. Or just set a task and complete it, it gives immense satisfaction. Take that first step towards changing your state of mind and mood by starting somewhere.
- Indulge in the personal improvement plan: There is happiness and fulfillment when we keep learning and growing personally. Practice the art of personal discipline. Devote time and energy to improve some or the others of your life. To know that you have intentionally devoted time and energy to personal improvement is one of the most satisfying feelings. It could be any area that makes you feel good about yourself and the skills you have.
- Be nice to others: I am a firm believer of what Confucius said, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” It is important to come from a genuine place and be nice to others. Everyone is struggling in some way or another. Everyone has their own battles to fight. And honestly, we’re not here to judge, measure or compare, if someone’s problems are better or worse than ours. All of us have different capacities and capabilities to deal with people and situations. When we consciously choose to give, be generous with our language, time, money or more, we are truly add value to the society. In a selfishly selfless way, it is extremely fulfilling and happy experience, sans expectations.
- Eat good food: And no! HERE, I don’t mean that you need to grab a chocolates or the big bucket of ice-cream. Nope! I mean grab those healthy meals, the good bites, the awesome nutritional food, which helps you feel good, inside out. Human beings thrive on good food, along with spiritual and emotional nourishment. Our physical well-being impacts our emotional and spiritual well-being. When we care for our bodies, through physical exercises, and healthy foods, we immediately translate that into happiness and positivity.
On a lighter note, I’d wanna leave you with this quote by Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” 😉 Truly, we wouldn’t wanna be the latter, right? What do you think?
How do you embrace happiness, what do you choose? Put it down in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you. Also, take this Happiness Quotient Questionnaire from Oxford.
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