In this period of making and breaking resolutions, we wish everyone Happy New Year and yet strangely happiness doesn’t seem to feature on anyone’s “new year resolution list”. We resolve to be fitter, exercise more, eat less, drink even lesser, spend more time with family and friends and even take that much needed break. But how many of us actually resolve to be happier? Isn’t that strange?
Perhaps we think that happiness is a given. If we increase pleasure and minimize pain, surely we will be happy? We seem to believe that happiness is directly related to what we do or buy, where we go, what we acquire as possessions, qualifications and designations. Therefore the more money you have/accumulate, the happier you must be. Is that right? Why then is unhappiness not a respecter of position or wealth?
Happiness doesn’t follow a simple cause and effect formula, yet it isn’t as elusive as some make it out to be. We don’t really need to go and meditate in the forest far from the madding crowd. Perhaps we have a wrong formula for it. Happiness is not synonymous with ”having” “owning” or “becoming”. It is more likely to be found in “contentment”, “awareness”,” enjoyment” and at a deeper level, just “being”.
Think about it, are you happy when you buy a book or when you read it and share what you read with a friend? Are you ecstatic when you travel to exotic places? Sometimes you are so exhausted arranging, packing, rushing that you forget to enjoy yourself. Expedia used to advertise: “What you need after a holiday is another holiday”. So true! Sometimes a simple sunset watched from a window makes you so happy and it costs so little. Wordsworth was so enthralled by a field of daffodils and a rainbow that he immortalized them in his poems.
We as a generation are losing the ability to experience the simple pleasures of life. Even little children want cellphones and expensive gadgets to keep amused. We spend more, chase unrealistic expectations (sometimes not even our own) and stay active but are we happy? You may ask, so are we doomed to a life of unhappiness? Well, the good news is that happiness is beckoning us from every nook and corner. In a hug, in a random act of kindness, in a song on our lip, in the chirping of a bird, in a chat with our friend, it’s everywhere. Even better news! It’s free and it spreads easily. So what are you waiting for? Go and be happy, today.
Gitanjali specializes in creating harmony and equilibrium. She is a life-coach par excellence and has extensive experience in coaching and corporate training. An alumnus of St Xaviers, College and IIM Calcutta, she continues to be a student of life!