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The Secret of Happiness

Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is
12:00 AM May 28, 2024 IST | B L RAZDAN
the secret of happiness

Once a group of 50 people was attending a seminar. Suddenly the speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity. He started giving each one a balloon. Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room. Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes.


Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other, pushing around others and there was utter chaos. At the end of 5 minutes no one could find their own balloon. Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.


The speaker began - exactly this is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is. Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness doubled many times, the beauty is that it will come in an unexpected form with an element of surprise.


This is what famously called as karma these days. And this is the purpose of human life. Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are, it solely relies on what you think about them.


Socialisation is one of the keys to happiness. People often think things like money or luxury lead to happiness, but research indicates some healthy life practices may actually be the key. Simple experiences like spending time with friends and family or practicing gratitude may promote a healthier outlook on life. Looking for ways to shift negative thinking? Want to increase positivity in your life? Ready to put that gratitude journal to good use? According to science, these five ways can boost your happiness on a daily basis.


Practice daily gratitude.


Expressing gratitude has been shown to do more than improve your mood. People who write down a few positive things about their day are healthier, more energetic, less stressed and anxious and get better sleep. The key is to make this a regular habit and do it with intention. Think about creating a small gratitude ritual. For example, every morning when you have your coffee you could think of three things that you appreciate about the day before. Or make it a habit to jot down three good things about your day before you go to bed at night. Your three good things can be really small - perhaps you saw something beautiful or just appreciate being healthy that day. In fact, science shows that it's the small everyday experiences that make us happier, as compared to big life events.


Happiness is contagious.

Dr. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, researchers at Harvard and The University of San Diego, found that each additional happy friend increases a person's probability of being happy by about nine percent. If you're feeling down, reach out to a friend or colleague who generally has a more positive attitude. Our brains have mirror neurons that will literally mimic what the other person is expressing. So when you need a bit of positive infusion, connect with those who share it.

Do Regular Acts of Kindness.

Research has shown that spending money on others makes us happier than spending money on ourselves and doing small acts of kindness increases life satisfaction. Hold the door for the person behind you, say thank you and mean it when you get your drink from the coffee shop, pick up your colleague's favourite snack and leave it on their desk for them. Even the smallest nice gesture can make someone's day.

Spend More Time with Family and Friends.

Having friends can save your life. Low social interaction can be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is twice as bad for your health as obesity. Even if you're busy, you can find ways to connect with people you care about. Use your lunch break as an opportunity to call a friend or, if possible, take a walk together. If you're busy during the week, how about inviting your friend to do some errands together on weekends?

Spend money on experiences instead of things.

Research shows people report feeling happier when they spend their money on experiences rather than objects. We remember experiences for a longer period of time and our brains can re-live them, making our positive emotions last longer. So instead of that new pair of jeans consider trying a new yoga class or inviting a friend to the movies with you.

Contentment at the personal level is one of the most potent causes contributing to happiness and lack of it, whatever the reason, leads to misery. One may have certain ambitions in life. Their non-attainment may lead him to discontent.

A less qualified man than himself may lead a better life and this may cause discontent in the latter. Utter poverty may make one utterly discontented with life. There are two ways in which this discontent may develop.

The right way, of course, will be the will and effort to set right the failure or defect in him by honest means. In this he may or may not succeed, depending upon the fruit of his past Karma. But it is his duty to try.

The second way is that discontent may turn as hate towards the other, or even the world for that matter. This hate, on its part, may shoot off into violence when frustrated, not excluding violence against one’s own self, or one may become demented.

Bhushan Lal Razdan, formerly of the Indian Revenue Service, retired as Director General of Income Tax (Investigation), Chandigarh.