The concept of ‘happiness’ finds its roots back into the times of Gautam Buddha. According to him, the state of being happy could be achieved if one found the root causes of their suffering. He told his followers, that if one could put an end to their sufferings, which in turn were born out of man’s cravings for things, they would be able to attain true happiness. Buddha also laid the foundation of the Eight-Fold Path that emphasised upon having synchronised thoughts, words, and actions, being mindful, as well as putting in the right kind of effort and concentration towards creating the right kind of livelihood for oneself.
Scientists say that we can control our happiness quotient till up to 40%. Yes, you read that right! A lot of our happiness levels are the result of our genes, behaviours, as well as life experiences. That said, 40% of it being in our control means that we are largely responsible for the way we allow ourselves to feel. Despite having the power to control our state of mind, one often tends to feel low, and longs to be happy. During such moments, there are two things that primarily strike our mind simultaneously - why am I feeling this way, and what can I do to change it.
You May Often Feel
An unexplained sadness
Envy, (or at times even jealousy) when you come across content people
Your life lacks meaning and depth
The desire to attain happiness but no clue how to go about it
If you feel that you could identify with the above, then we must move on to identifying what causes this state of mind in an individual?
Fear of Change or Failure
It is a universal truth that change is the only constant. It is inevitable, which is why a person who is fearful of change will find it increasingly difficult to find peace and happiness around themselves. The ones who take risks are also the ones who have faith in themselves, hence the inability to change owing to fear may instills a lack of self-confidence in a person.
Dwelling in the Past or Anxious Over the Future
The time that is in your control the most is the present. How to perceive and respond to things in real time will not only make up your past, but also add shape and structure to your future. By either dwelling too much in the past, or worrying too much about the future, one often tends to lose their present moment. In the process of it all, you may end up missing out on everything that matters.
Lack of Socialising
Studies suggest that people who spend a quarter of their day i.e., around 6-7 hours of their time socialising with family and/or friends are 12 times more likely to feel more cheerful and happy, and not report experiencing sadness or anxiety. Need I say more?
Goals and Perfectionism
At times, it is the goals we set for ourselves that become our driving force. Of course, keeping in mind our abilities and limitations, we must set realistic and achievable goals, but having no goals, or setting unrealistically high and unachievable goals may both cause us to undergo stress, which in turn will make us long for happiness.
Unhealthy Comparison and Focusing on the Negatives
We add direction to our lives by striving to get better over time. However, many-a-times we tend to set our bars depending upon the accomplishments of those around us. It is good to draw positive comparisons and attempt to change for the better, but too much comparison will never make one feel content with themselves.
Many a times, we fail to acknowledge that physical wellbeing and drawbacks could also contribute towards one feeling low and unable to understand the cause behind it. Remember, your body is your greatest tool, and is the only thing that will continue to remain yours till the end of time. When all else seems okay, the way we feel because of our body type might be the cause of our unexplained sadness.
What Can Be Done
As humans, we all have our highs and lows, but what makes a situation of an unexplained sadness worse is that one is unaware of the causes behind it. We can, however, undertake certain self-discovery and self-understanding measures to overcome things and come out stronger than ever.
One of the most important things is to understand who you truly are. From your likes and dislikes, interests and preferences, to your goals and ambitions. One could pen things down in a journal for their better understanding and analysis. Until we don’t discover ourselves, certain parts of us will remain unawakened.
Invest in People
Apart from giving yourself the much required time, investing the same in those who love and care about you is equally important. At times, what we may be unable to tell ourselves might come from those around us. We may not necessarily be our own driving forces; others can also have their role-play in it. Trying to see yourself through the eyes of another can also enhance your perspective towards yourself.
Tame Your Thoughts
It is wise to accept that change is a constant. If looked at positively, it means that you will not continue to feel the way you are feeling. Tell yourself: ‘This Too Shall Pass’, and dismiss any negative thoughts that tell you otherwise. By making conscious efforts to tell ourselves that we are capable of bringing about that positive change, we will have started our journey to making it happen already.
Physical Engagement and Sleep
It is a well proven fact that good sleep, as well as exercise and physical workout not only enhances our physical appearance for the better, but also makes us feel more confident as well as happier with ourselves. At times, the underlying reason behind our sadness could also be weight related concerns, apprehensions regarding the way we look, or simple lack of sleep. By exercising, engaging in any kind of sports activities, and also maintaining a healthy sleep pattern, one can grow fonder of oneself over time.
The kind of music one listens to can significantly impact their thinking patterns, and how they feel about themselves. People who listen to positive and more upbeat music are reportedly said to be more optimistic, confident, and content. By compiling and listening to a list of peppy music, you too might end up turning the day around for yourself for good!
Choose Happiness and Practise Mindfulness
A mindful person is one whose thoughts, words, and actions are in sync with one another. The first step is to make the valuable choice to become happy. Research studies carried out under the field of Psychology states that Happiness is something we are born with - precisely why babies and infants flash random smiles and are happy on the whole. As mentioned, 40% of our happiness is controllable, which means that intention is nothing but the active desire and commitment to be happy. On a concluding note, I would say that it is all about choice. If we decide to be happy and think, speak and do positive things, we are sure to find ourselves and discover contentment.