“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap clap), if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap clap), if you’re happy and you know if and you really want to show it, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.”
This is a song that we were taught in kindergarten and it still brings a smile to my lips and a sweet rhythm to my soul. Happy!
If you're a human being, I am pretty much sure, you want to be happy. What is happiness for you? In the U.S., there is a minor use of the term to mean luck (“That was a happy accident.”), but generally happiness refers to an individual’s positive emotional state.
According to Wikipedia, ‘Happiness’ is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.
The movie ‘Sound of Music’ featured a famous song ‘My favorite things’. In this musical, the lyrics to this song are a reference to things Maria (the character) loves, such as "whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens". These are the things she selects to fill her mind with, when times are bad and when she is unhappy.
I like the things Maria chose, surprisingly, it wasn’t money, new clothes, a big house, a whopping bank balance and fancy cars, although, I am sure that these days, these are the things that would make us happy and would probably be on our list of favorite things.
Okay, so for one long moment, I would want you to think about the ‘what if’ questions, for e.g. what if you didn’t get the morning doze of your nourishing beverage or time to be with friends, time to heal someone with your words or actions, didn’t have your children / or young ones running around you, sharing their little stories, didn’t have the sweet aroma of your mom’s / wife’s home-cooked food, or your spouse telling you about their accomplishment at work or at home, a peaceful nap, or that much awaited weekend, family time, or just the hand over your forehead when you are desperately trying to relax or calm yourself? Can these small trivial things be replaced for the big important things? Wouldn’t these small little things make you just as happy or may be a tad bit happier, irrespective of whether or not we have the big items in our life that we struggle for all our life. Aren’t these small little things less expensive or free of charge most of the time? Off-course, it does cost us our time, however, aren’t we spending so much of our time worrying about the big items on our list?
“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” – Martha Washington, wife of 1st U.S. President George Washington
Well said! So let me come back to my question, “What is happiness for you?
No matter what things (big materialistic ones or the small trivial ones) you choose to make you happy, I am going to help you choose the right disposition, the right attitude, to create the positive emotional state that will bring a smile to your face. And for our reference and ease, let’s call it, ‘The Feel Happy’ factors. So here are a few of the ‘Feel Happy’ factors that if practiced can help us achieve our happy disposition.
- Look for two positive things in every situation – chronic complaining is not a sign of happy people. Fault finders are easy to find, let us try being people who appreciate and motivate others.
- Feel proud of who you are, no matter how little or how much you have accomplished in life – give yourself a pat on the back. Don’t be overly critical.
- Engage in a passion or a hobby, that doesn’t involve whipping out a piece of plastic, or cash. Live your life investing in your mental and physical growth, like reading, cooking, biking, a sport with kids, after all anything brings satisfaction without a debt.
- Be addicted to the wellbeing of your family – allow more time with your loved ones, if your child is passionate about an academic subject, spend time with them, trying to understand how they learn, what excites them. Remember once your kids get older and wiser, you will crave this time with them. Live this time with them now.
- The past is in the past – Do you remember your childhood? That first bad fall from the bicycle, that injured your legs or hands, the first time you failed a test in school, the first beating you got from your parents, the first heartbreak, the first appraisal that went bad, that first deceit, and the list is endless, so I am guessing, that if you are still alive and reading this, you are pretty much okay and survived everything from your past, and I also believe that you not just survived, but you are doing pretty good. So the point I’m trying to make is, ‘If you are doing pretty good, then why you still lugging on the baggage from the past? You are already a winner, because you SURVIVED!’ - According to Psychology Today, there are four ways to cope with regret, failures of the past (1) learn from mistakes but don’t dwell, (2) if nothing can be changed about the situation, to let it go, (3) make sure too much blame is not being undertaken, and(4) reframing the situation more positively.
- Look forward to your future – Most people love being worried, if not about the past then about the future, there are very few souls who say, “I can wait to grow old”, “I can’t wait for life to surprise me”. Everyone has problems, the rich, the poor, the short, the tall, the wise, the naïve, the differently abled, the healthy, just about everyone, what we don’t understand is, it’s not the problems that we should be worried about, it is the way we will handle it, that should concern us. Happiness is a choice, it’s a gift, and we have got it, free of charge. It is in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, in the smiles we share, it’s on that pat that we get on our back, it is on the faces we see, it is in the love we hold so fondly, it is in the hope of what tomorrow will bring, the gifts we give away. So enjoy the beautiful simple things in life and experience them fully – Be present – Be happy!
- Forgive easily – its simpler to hold grudges, sulk, hate, loathe, detest, abuse, be negative, be angry etc right? If the answer is yes, then it should be fair, that if someone is hurt by you, they should treat you the same way, which is to hold a grudge against you, make faces at you, hate you, loathe you, detest your very presence, abuse you, be angry with you constantly? If not, then start forgiving people, so that they can start forgiving you, don’t carry needless weights on your shoulders. Carry the bag that spreads love and happiness. It is a lighter weight to carry around.
- Count your blessings and be a blessing – Make it a point to say thank you to the universe every night for the simple fact that you are alive and you are home safe and your family is safe. Thank the universe for recycling your energy, your love, your determination, your smiles, your positive attitude, your helpful nature, your happiness, and giving you the same stamina and energy to face a new day with its new challenges. Next, teach your family to do the same thing.
- Sharing is caring – Happiness is squared when shared. Share it, not just with family, but anyone who comes your way. Try it, it’s simple!
HAPPINESS IS SIMPLE! MAKE THIS CHOICE TODAY! YOU WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE, IF YOU STAND WITH A SMILE, IN THE MIDST OF CONCERNS!
So here is my question once again, just rephrased – So if happiness is simple and its free, won’t you go out there and share your happiness with others?
Samsidh MLZS Horamavu Branch