MIDWAY : Learning to be happy

Sapana Bhandari

As per my motto “Be happy and make others happy if you can” I’ve always tried to be happy, but the earthly vices like anger, jealousy, hatred, greed, high expectations, shattered dreams continue to act as big hurdles to happiness. But the search continues. Researchers have found that there is a set point for happiness. No matter how happy or sad any particular event, you tend to return to a fixed level of happiness.

You may be thinking if my happiness level is set, how did it get there? David Kykken of the University of Minnesota has found that 50 per cent of happiness is genetic, other 50 per cent learned through thoughts, feelings and beliefs formed in response to our life experiences. This is why it’s possible to raise our happiness set point.

Your jolly little thoughts will help you be happy.

If you think positive your brain secretes chemicals that increase your natural abilities and happiness. When I was on a four-month-long vacation after completing my rather stressful exams, I was left with nothing to do except read novels, watch television, roam around and sleep.

But after nearly a month of this boring schedule, one day a beautiful thought occurred to me. I’m getting a chance to serve my family, I thought. I began to realise that I had never got to do something for my family and I might never again have the time.

I was slowly beginning to enjoy my work: cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. As Confucius said: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day

in your life”. I became indefatigable and my level of happiness was growing by the day.

Eastern sages and sadhus also believe that ‘Sachidananda’ (eternal happiness) lies within us. We spend our entire lives searching for happiness, chasing wealth, beauty, riches and comforts, which we think will make us happy but the truth is that happiness lies within us.

To be happy, just reflect if you have tried to be a good human being, to be positive and truthful? Have you ever prayed for the good of your friend, for instance? I’m just beginning to learn to be happy and deriving immense pleasure in doing so. So when are you trying?