Happiness Is Here And Now!

Some of us are born smiling, most of us have to work at it, which means learning new techniques and unlearning some old mental habits but the good news from the frontiers of psychology is that mood is malleable and happiness is yours for the choosing! Everyone wants happiness. We want it, strive for it, envy others who have it and in the process, make ourselves unhappy. Why? Because we believe it’s elusive, ephemeral, just round the corner. We think it is a simple matter… If only I were richer… If only I were thinner… If only I were married… If only I were single… If only I had a baby… If only I had a job… If only! If only!! If only!!!

Stop this ‘If only’ right away because it puts your happiness at a future date believing “I’ll be happy when” or “When I’m richer, thinner, married, divorced, having a baby, great job (or quitting a lousy one), finding the right man etc. etc.” The place to be happy is HERE and the time to be happy is NOW!!!

The high quality kind of happiness I am talking about is the kind that runs on wisdom and doesn’t run out when times get rocky – it’s readily available and extremely inexpensive! It’s a natural resource and it’s yours for the taking. Freud had famously declared that we can only hope for misery turning into unhappiness in life. It turns out that the guru of psychology was wrong because recent breakthroughs in psychology, neurology and chemistry, supported by practices like yoga and meditation have revealed that happiness is attainable and the brain can change! Scientists call this discovery ‘Neuroplasticity’ – a revolutionary idea. The brain does change by life’s experiences.

We have a number of tools to be happy, ranging from getting sufficient sleep and exercise, nurturing close relationships with family and friends, using your skills at work, having a hobby and above all, living with gratitude. These tools seem too simple to be true but they are extraordinarily effective. Also the practice of forgiveness is a trait strongly linked to happiness, since you are no longer handcuffed to the person who hurt you.

Today’s world can be a terrifying place. Every day we hear of terrorism, domestic violence, rapes, scams and psychotic criminals. When man lived in caves, life was simple but people still feared wild animals, famine and sickness. So you see, life was never easy. Not now, not then! We evolved learning to be unhappy. So now, we must learn to be happy. But how?

By measuring happiness in terms of moment to moment, right now, right here and not putting it off to tomorrow or the day after which may never come! Seek happiness in small things like flowers, the Sun, your first cup of tea in the morning, the fact that you got out of bed without help from anybody, a smile from a stranger, a good newspaper article, a good film or play, paintings at an art gallery, frappuccino at a coffee-shop, a new lip-stick, a new pair of shoes or anything that raises your spirits.

Learn to laugh at yourself and you will be happy. See comedy films or good TV shows or read a joke-book. Without the ability to laugh at ourselves, we could get destroyed by conflicts, whether within the family or friends or at office. We sometimes make stupid mistakes but life teaches us to forgive ourselves and one another for our inadequacies. Be simple, like children or like our pets. They always seem to be happy and contended. Dogs are good role models. They play with total abandon, have unabashed devotion and have complete lack of concern about what others do, have or think!

By transcending our needs to help others, we boost our happiness to another level. Use whatever resources you have to make others happy and you’ll be walking on clouds. Being selfish and so-called upwardly mobile has unfortunate side-effects like fragmented communities. A lifetime spent in chasing money can’t be termed successful or fruitful. A bigger house, better car, more exotic holidays, more cash, luxuries don’t add up to real happiness unless tempered by charity, concern for the less fortunate and sharing your material possessions with those around you. Remember we have created most of our unhappiness by wrong thinking.

Make a list of things that make you happy. Be positive, forgiving and learn good things from others. A family may be much poorer than you but also much happier. Try to study their good points and how they keep themselves happy and contended. Material wealth is necessary to a certain extent but is definitely not the only criteria for real happiness, which we have to derive from inside us.

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