This following article is sourced from speaking tree, times of india magazine paper on sundays. Simple yet to the point. I made small edits to make it more general so that it can be applied at all times.
Life coach BINDIYA MURGAI tells you how to get sprinting on the path of happiness
For ages, spirituality and science have been trying to understand what really makes the heart sing. While this is difficult to answer, there’s some truth in the old cliché: ‘Money can’t buy you happiness.’ For, once your basic needs are met, the desire for ‘frills’ starts raising its head and mars your sense of satisfaction. So how does one stay happy in a world filled with temptations? Research shows that older people are usually more satisfied and less prone to dark moods, while people with higher IQ usually have higher levels of angst and disappointment. What about marital status? Does that also affect your happiness? Researchers feel that though some married people may be happier than singles, that’s probably because they were happier to begin with!
So, how can we ensure that future is happier for us? It’s entirely in our own hands. Here are 10 sure shot strategies to get you on the path of happiness year after year.
1 Enjoy small pleasures: Indulge in small pleasures, savour them. Like a yummy meal, a healthy body, a comfy bed. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down at least one thing every day that you are grateful for. From drinking a perfect cuppa to meeting a good friend. Be creative and avoid repetition.
2 Give generously: Giving makes you feel good about yourself, resulting in a “helper’s high.” It increases self-worth and creates a greater sense of connection with others. It distracts you from your own existence. So go ahead and give with an open heart. Feed the neighbourhood stray, or join a volunteer programme because in the words of Buddha, “Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
3 Say ‘sorry’, ‘thank you’, ‘I love you’: If you’ve wronged someone, no matter how long ago — apologise! It’s amazing how good you feel once you let go of the guilt. Next, thank someone who did something for you that you never took the time to appreciate. Express your appreciation in person, if possible. And finally, express your love to the ones who count. Don’t just expect them to know it. Say it in words!
4 Learn to forgive: Living happily-ever-after starts with forgiveness. Everyone experiences hurt, betrayal and disappointments, but you can’t keep carrying it around and hope to be happy. Practising forgiveness releases you from the past and changes your future. So, if someone has really hurt you, write a detailed letter of forgiveness to him. Read it. Then burn it. After that — let go.
5 Invest time in family and friends: Strong personal relationships are one of the biggest factors that determine happiness. So make sure you don’t take your close ones for granted. Invest time in them and add to your own bliss.
6 Take care of your body: Eight hours of sleep every night combined with regular exercise make you healthier, helps fix depression and mood swings. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, increases stamina and creates a sense of accomplishment.
7 Keep the faith: There is no escaping the hard times, but there is a way to survive them — by keeping the faith. Belief in a higher power gives you strength, as do sayings like “This too shall pass.” But you need to believe in them. Know that no matter how bad the situation, it will change.
8 Avoid comparisons: According to the Bhagwad Gita, “There is nothing noble about being superior to another person. True nobility is in being superior to your previous self.” Accept that you are unique. Stop comparing yourself to others as this can be damaging to your happiness and self-esteem. Instead, focus on your own personal growth and achievements.
9 Be present: In English, the word ‘present’ has three different meanings: ‘here’, ‘now’ and ‘a gift.’ Realise that your most precious gift is the present moment. Break the pattern of spending time either hanging on to the past or worrying about the future. Start by enjoying the now with full-blooded passion and enthusiasm.
10 Make a fresh commitment: Okay, so the sceptic in you may wonder if people can just become happier through deliberate acts of kindness. Or by keeping a gratitude journal. Can a hardened pessimist learn to see the glass as half full? Can you actually learn to become consciously happier? Yes, you can, by renewing your commitment, everyday!
Courtesy: Speaking Tree