By Vidya Shastri
Meditate for 20 minutes a day, express gratitude for what you have, help someone every single day…if these happiness mantras sound preachy to you and you find them difficult to follow, try our happiness cheat sheet. Simple and easy to imbibe, all you need to do is consciously follow all, or some of these.
1) Stay close and connected with friends
Remember the time you and your friend could throw your heads back and laugh away at the silliest of things. This one’s like a magical pill – having a good friend around who you connect emotionally with, will add to your feeling of joy and satisfaction. Whether you stay geographically close by or not, remember to meet up frequently, talk often and share everyday light banter.
2) Pick up a new skill or practice your hobby
If you loved playing the guitar in college, it’s time to dust it off and strum the strings, to perfect that long lost tune. If you have two left feet, sign up for a salsa class and feel the joy wash over you when you get the first step right. Practice making the perfect Spanish omelette and enjoy the happiness from devouring it. Indulging in a new activity or doing something you love doing, will add to your daily dose of happiness.
3) Go easy on chasing happiness
Stop chasing happiness with a vengeance. Brooding everyday that your life didn’t turn out to be what you fantasized is not going to make you happier. Don’t have unreal expectations or hope that your wild fantasies are going to come true, without you getting off the arm chair. Focus on all that is working for you and don’t fixate singularly on finding happiness.
4) Practice saying No
Being overworked, pushed around or burdened by other people’s expectations is a perfect recipe for unhappiness. Learn to say no to people who have unrealistic expectations from you. Walk away from situations that are making you unhappy but you are letting them continue out of politeness or fear. When you are liberated from your baggage, you automatically feel happy.
5) A little song and dance
Happiness multiplies when you do things that make you feel good. Breaking into a jig now and then or humming your favourite song while working, will double up the feel-good factor. Try to put on cheerful music at least once a day and it will go a long way to keep your daily spirits high.
6) Increase physical contact
Touch induces a strong sensory reaction and physical contact with those that you love can help build up positive feelings. Hugging your mate, holding hands, playing with children, patting your pet’s coat, feeling the petals of a just-bloomed flower, are things you must consciously do every day for a feeling of well-being to seep in.
7) Stay gadget free
Being constantly wired is not a sign of efficiency. If anything, it leads to stress, reduces productivity and also adds to feelings of despair, envy and insecurity, if you are constantly checking out other people on social media. Stay gadget free for a few hours every day and see the difference in your happiness-meter.
8) Exercise and keep a good posture
Exercising releases endorphins (certain chemicals) that make you feel good. Whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga or a gym run, try to exercise at least four-five times a week to stay positively charged up. Also, our body and emotions are linked, and consciously keeping an upright, confident posture will trick your mind into feeling less miserable and more joyful.