It was 5 AM in the morning when the same group of “crazies” gathered in the garden near my house. Unafraid, they’d always participate in their “cult” in the wee hours of the day. “Not today”, I thought. I was up early to investigate what the hell they were up to. Most of them seemed above age 50, but there were younger ones as well.
The leader of the crazies waited until everyone was in, and then began the ceremony. He erupted into a sudden laughter, “Ha ha ha, hoo hoo hoo”… and slowly, his gang joined him.
In a few minutes, each of the crazies was laughing their heads off. The cult was now at its culmination, with some members rolling on the grass, laughing.
I watched in all seriousness, trying not to join them from my bedroom window. Something about their laughter; it was contagious. I shook my head to concentrate. What were they up to?
After 35 mins, they stopped, said goodbyes, and quickly dispersed. Only to come back the next morning.
No body could have said it better than Thich Nhat Hanh — happiness is not a destination. It’s your journey, and you can experience it right now. That, if you wanted to.
Before you expect reading with a one-size-fit-all solution for happiness from me, let me tell you that I don’t think it exists. You’re bound to have low moments. But you’re after a quick fix! Now!
Before you’re ready to curse me under your breath and shut your browser window, listen. Just as there cannot be light without the dark, happiness loses it’s meaning without challenges. By happiness, I mean that dose of excitement and high that you get every once in a while.
At its core, happiness is nothing but the release of serotonin in your body. We’re all seeking the serotonin like a drug. It’s become the latest fad.
And why not? Life’s supposed to be enjoyed, flaws and all. The odds may not be always in your favor, but you want to be so.
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s dig some ways of how to be happy today, and everyday.
1. It all Starts with a Thought
You choose how happy you are with the thoughts you think. Always wondering whether your next promotion is around the corner? Constantly worrying about how to beat your colleague’s next luxury car buy? You’re triggering more anxiety than happiness.
Thoughts lead to feelings, and most people act based on their feelings. Thoughts indirectly lead to your behavior. Your behavior, or actions, determine pretty much the rest of your life.
To intervene this chain, focus on your thoughts first.
Consider there is a field of potential all around you. Some New Age authors will call it the Universe. So, let’s say this Universe is a massive field that works with the currency of thoughts.
Thoughts in, results out. Happy thoughts, happy results. Sad thoughts, sad results.
It’s simple: Positive thoughts will make you happier, and negative thoughts will move you away from being happy.
“I can never make 6 figures!” is a negative thought you’re exchanging for a negative result from the Universe.
“I am so glad my partner understands me!” is a positive thought that leads to a spike in your happiness.
You can always replace a negative thought:
“I can never make 6 figures, but if I keep doing what I am doing and keep trying, I will get there someday.”
This thought ends with a positive note. A simple reframe using “but” leads you one step closer to happiness.
2. The Happiness Delivery Guy Isn’t Coming
We all come to this world alone, and leave alone. En route, we meet some incredibly loving people who put up with our crap (God bless them). No matter how much your mum loves you, and tries to “make” you happy, she cannot.
People who love us are on their own journey. They have their own trials and tribulations. What’s the point in relying on someone else to make you happy?
Think about the last time you had the classic case of “If only he changed, I’d be so happy”.
Well, let me be the one to break the bad news — you won’t. Not if he changes, not if two planets got together upside down like in that movie Upside Down, not if you were delivered year-long supply of Cheetos for free.
If you believe your happiness is dependent on some event in future and there’s this happiness delivery guy to bring you a bag-full of it, wake up. There is no happiness delivery guy!
You have potential to feel happy right now. Because to feel happy, you don’t have to be happy.
3. Smile, and the World Smiles with You
Tricking your brain into happiness is easy. Want to feel happy right now? Stand up, look in the mirror and smile. Just do it; you’ll release the happy drug serotonin in a jiffy. There, it’s proved then that you control your inner state at any given time.
Try making faces in the mirror, or jumping up and down with your kids, and you’ll automatically push your happy buttons.
The question is, do you want to? The problem is we don’t want to feel happy in the moment. We want all our problems to be taken away. We want to life the easy life. That’s like eating a bag of cookies every day and expecting to sport a lean look.
Why else would you not stand up and make faces in the mirror every time you’re low?
To take control over your happiness and think more positive thoughts does not mean you wear rose-tinted glasses. It means you take the responsibility for your own happiness. Because honestly, right now no one else is volunteering to do so for you.
The reason you bring yourself out of the low state is to be more empowered to act instead of just pinning your hopes on the future that you can’t control.
By the way, if you’re wondering, no, you don’t have to earn happiness. You’re entitled to it just because you are alive.
And if nothing helps, try the cult above? 😉