By Shiva Shanmuganandam @SadaaShiv
Happiness is everybody’s right. As Socrates said, “He who is not contented with what he has would not be contented with what he would like to have.” At the onset, differentiate between your wants and needs. As you keep re-visiting this process, you will re-align them automatically with the happiness of those around you as well. Laughter is synonymous with happiness and is a form of health-enhancer.
“You can be happier at work if you smile more, even if you have to fake it,” according to an article in the Harvard University Gazette. Putting on a happy face has positive benefits both for you and the people around you. That is true with regard to both personal and work relationships. And before you know, you won’t have to fake it. Smiling makes everyone feel good; smile and notice how it makes you more relaxed and cheerful. Women smile more than men, according to a Yale University study published in Psychological Bulletin.
7. Walk every day.
Walking is a great way to look and feel better. It is good for people of all ages. For every mile that you walk, you burn 95-100 calories. Start with strolling on a nice gentle pace and slowly build it to an energetic and brisk walk. Cultivate this lifetime habit outside of your 30 minutes of exercise every day.
8. Find an exercise buddy.
Commit to exercising with someone you like, may be a walking partner or spouse. Or let your dog be your exercise buddy. Schedule time to exercise and stick to it. Spread the happiness and help rub off some of it on others too. Social happiness is also needed for a successful person: to be one with yourself and also the others who make up your environment.
9. Exercise your brain.
Challenge your brain by doing old routines in new ways. Try brushing your teeth with the other hand, crossword puzzles or other brain teasers like sudoku. Try learning a new language, a new computer program or a musical instrument (you can start appreciating it by listening to it first). Take a new route to work.
10. Hone your instincts.
Instinct is the inner voice that affects how you think, feel and act. As part of the “emotional intelligence” given by nature, trusting your instincts often leads to positive outcomes. Trusting your instincts comes before you are able to hone them, especially when it comes to safety. Let your instincts guide you as a parent would. If something doesn’t seem right, review it until you have the information you need to make a good decision. Be mindful that your decision might have far reaching consequences than the people who seem to be directly affected by it.
11. Rid yourself of one bad habit at a time.
Take it one day at a time. You may not make progress, and that’s OK. Learning new habits takes time. So does unlearning bad ones. Choose one bad habit and work on changing it on a realistic time-frame. We all have a bad habit or two, whether it’s smoking, gambling, overeating, overspending, being a couch potato, or not being supportive enough to a partner, spouse, co-worker or friend. To talk yourself out of a bad habit, you have to think about now and later. It will taste bitter before it can taste sweet.
12. Do strength training exercises.
Strength training builds not only muscles and boosts your metabolism, but also improves balance and posture and helps prevent bone loss. Experts agree that two evenly distributed sessions a week of strength training are enough to start to build and strengthen muscles and joints. Be careful not to strain your muscles, and check with your doctor or your health care professional in case of any strain or pain. Remember, it’s all in the mind, even your breathing. Many yoga instructors and wellness experts say that happiness is also in how well we breathe.
13. Accept responsibility for your health and happiness.
If you take responsibility for your own happiness and health, not only will you increase your chances of living to a ripe old age, but also add to the longevity of those around you. Stay active physically and mentally. Not only charity, but even happiness begins at home, from the self. Keep treating yourself to some quality me-time.
14. Make someone else feel good.
Every once in a while, try to do something simple and meaningful for someone who cannot re-pay you. You will feel very light and liberated. Start realising that in the happiness of others lie precious moments of inner peace and happiness. This is very good for your overall physical health. Let someone else take the good parking space or go ahead of you in line, and let them do it with a sincere smile. Get involved with a volunteer organization. Help a friend, relative, or neighbour with errands, transportation, shopping, babysitting, or other tasks. Teach a child how good it feels to give to others by volunteering together at a local soup kitchen or helping out an elderly neighbour.
15. Go away: Take a vacation from yourself.
Take a vacation from your usual self, away from regular routines and running around. Treat yourself with the time to recharge and rejuvenate yourself. A weekend away is a great way to reduce stress, improve your mood, and feel light as rain. It is a way to focus on one thing only: relaxation. Don’t take your work with you. Turn off your cell phone (except for emergencies). You will return feeling renewed. As the Dalai Lama said, “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”