“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see in touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy, it is that which we think, feel and do, first for the other fellow than for ourselves”, Hellen Keller.
The terms associated with happiness are momentary joy, satisfaction with life, long term enjoyment. It is a positive state; which refers to relaxed, elated or calm. It is mediated by the person’s system of values and cognitive interpretive structures. Some predictors of happiness are; social competence, social skills, and cooperativeness, satisfaction with relationship with people from whom support has been received and engagement in serious leisure activity and sense of achievement.
It is the sense of acceptance with things, people and situations, and even with ourselves which makes us happy. Acceptance makes our lives easier and helps us in coming to terms with people and situation. If we are contended with what we are, and have acceptance of our successes and failures, and of the people among whom we live, of the situations and events which we go through in our daily life we would certainly feel happiness and calmness in us. Think about the people we love in our life, do we love them the way they are. It develops acceptance in us, by loving the person the way he/she is.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”, Albert Schweitzer.
Throughout our lives we run after money and do everything possible in order to gain more of it, in the mean while sacrificing our family life. Researches done recently negate this theory. Over the life cycle as income increases and then levels off, happiness remain unchanged, contradicting the inference that income and happiness go together.
It doesn’t matter to which socioeconomic status you belong, whether you are married or single, male or female, happiness is not going to be predicted by any of these factors. The differences among the happiness level of male and female, whether they are married or not are fast decreasing. Lyubomirsky, Seccombe and Shehan concluded that, the “happiness gap” has decreased both because those who have never married have experienced increasing happiness, and those married have experienced decreasing happiness along with no significant relationship between gender and happiness. The difference in happiness between married people and people who never married has fallen in recent years, as found in research done by Dr Anjum and Parisa Khan.
Some steps can be taken in order to have more satisfying life:
(1) Positive things that happened:
Go through the events of the whole week and screen out the things whose outcomes were positive. Count your blessings, and focus on them. Be optimistic, as it keeps away the negative thoughts from entering into your mind.
(2) Pay gratitude visit:
Write a testimonial thanking your mentor, teacher, friend, your parent, grandparents or anyone whom you owe a debt of gratitude for guiding you or helping you in anyway. Don’t wait to express your appreciation.
Seligman says; “the people who show their gratitude towards someone, even just once, are remarkably happier and less depressed a month later”.
(3) Commit acts of kindness:
Be kind and generous to others, whether friends or strangers, and also show kindness toward yourself. We often are kind to complete strangers but when we reach home we turn into an angry person. Because we become relax and in the mean while forget basic kindness and gentleness. Just being kind to others fill us up with positive feeling and gives us a sense of connection with others and wins us smiles and appreciation which are happiness boosters.
(4) Reduce stress:
We feel unhappy, angry, irrational, depressed, and anxious, have low self esteem, become impatient and are easily frustrated. Take control of your life and distress yourself. Take deep breath and relax yourself, think rationally while in control of yourself.
Communication also plays a vital role in reducing stress. Talk to someone whom you are close to, be it your friend, parent or life partner. Sharing your problem, ideas, and fears or even discussing about the future or your aspirations with someone close helps in reducing stress.
(5) Recharge yourself by eating healthy:
Recharge by getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and breathing fresh air, walking, stretching, smiling and laughing. These all will enhance your mood and refresh your mind. Eat healthy food, green leafy vegetables, drink fresh juices.
(6) Set goals and identify your strengths and weaknesses:
Setting goals and aims helps us in identifying our strengths and weaknesses. “Writing about your goals gives you an opportunity to learn about who you really are”, says Lyubomirsky, “It helps you to see the big picture of your life”.
“People spend a life time searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, religions, even other people, hopping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within” Romana L. Anderson.
Courtesy: Subjective happiness of married and unmarried males and females and personality types. (Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Karachi).