Action may not always be happiness, but there is no happiness without action. (Benjamin Disrael)Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can be felt only if you don’t set any conditions. (Arthur Rubinstein)
Everyone wants to be happy. My mother’s favorite chant is this, ‘Don’t worry be happy’. Any books centered on happiness sales like hot cake (Malaysian term equivalent to ‘sales like durian’) and quickly jump to the top of the New York Times Best-Seller list. One day I even received a call from someone in the middle of the night desperately requested, “Richard, make me happy!” With all the news happening around us today, no wonder we all craving for happiness.
Before we go further, Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCCESS magazine lists out 3 major traps that we may fall into, unknowingly making ourselves unhappy.
1. Postponing happiness – he called it the ‘When I (fill the blank), I will be happy’ syndrome. Now is the only time you have to be happy. If you can’t be happy now, you most certainly will not be happy later.
2. Spending your life trying to make other people happy – many times we are living a life we didn’t choose.
3. Comparing yourself to other people – ‘This is a dangerous business’, he said ‘because there will always be reference points that will cause you to be unhappy.’
So the question is, how to be happy? Well, after much readings and listening, I conclude that there’s no ‘happiness-pill’ that you can swallow to be happy all the time. But there are some simple everyday actions that can help you to get closer to happiness now.
1. Sing in the morning – It is said that music activates parts of the brain that produce happiness. (And sing during shower too. My housemates said that they don’t need to turn on their mp3 when I sing.)
2. Laugh out loud – E.g. watch funny videos or movies. Recently I watched Jim Carrey’s movie Liar Liar and I laugh out loud in my room.
3. Commit conscious acts of kindness – Do it!
4. Exercise – Most well known tranquilizers for relieving anxiety and stress.
5. Go to sleep – It work much better than any number of aroma therapy baths or massages.
6. Do one thing at a time – Instead of checking your e-mail as you work on projects, turn off your e-mail function until you finish the report you’re writing.
7. Practice mindfulness – Be in the moment, focus on here and now.
8. Just say no – Learn to say ‘No’ sometime, by eliminates activities that aren’t necessary.
9. Tune out the news – Take time away without reading the newspaper, watching news, or scanning the headlines online. Instead take time for a walk, meditating on the Word of God or write in your journal.
10. Visit a quiet place – Find a quiet place in your office or house where you can ‘get away’ from today’s frantic world. Visit it often.
11. Spend time alone – Take yourself out for lunch or to a movie, or simply spend an afternoon reading. Awesome!
12. Count your blessings every day.
13. Keep working – Gallup survey indicates people age 60 to 69 who work full or part time are healthier and happier than those who are not in the workforce.
14. Network with happy people – Research shows that people with happy friends are 15% more likely to be happy themselves.
15. Making small positive actions every day – The smallest things made the biggest difference. Remember my philosophy? Think Big, Start Small, Go Deep.
16. Laugh at yourself - “Happy is the person who can laugh at himself. He will never cease to be amused". (Habib Bourguiba)
17. Believe in the things we do.
18. Focus on positive experiences.
19. Be what you are – You cannot be happy being someone else.
20. Live in gratitude.
21. Practice simplicity.
22. … and many more.
To be true, I don’t know what is the meaning of happiness actually means. But I know this for sure; happiness is a choice. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Waiting something to happen doesn’t create happiness. It is not derived from the outside; it is only derived from within. In my final analysis, only God alone can provide us long-term happiness. All the above are temporary ways to create temporary happiness.
The Bible doesn’t say about happiness particularly. Instead, God offers us much better things to pursuit – joy. Joy is like a strong current that runs beneath the stormy surface of your feelings.* It offers peace of mind. It gives confidence. It’s not hormone and does not shake by emotions because it’s a gift from God. I love what Keith Harrell writes, ‘The root of your happiness is your joy. Don’t let anybody steal your joy.’ Real joy is more than happiness.
THINK BIG.START SMALL.GO DEEP.
1. 1 to 4 is from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. (Added comment mine)
2. 5 to 12 is from //www.rd.com/health/ , Reader’s Digest website. (Some added comment mine)
3. SUCCESS magazine; What achievers read. January 2011
4. *Divine Moments: Everyday Inspiration from God’s Word.