In the words of Hirav Shah, Noted Thought Leader, Business Strategist, Adviser, Coach and Astrologer – “Happiness is not an accident, or something that some people are blessed with while others miss out. Happiness is a choice. If you want to be happy, you need to work at it. Practice positive affirmations, learn to manage your thoughts and take control of your happiness and your life. Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket ”
What Causes Happiness?
Biologically,certain hormones are known to help promote positive feelings, including happiness and pleasure.
These “happy hormones” include:
Also known as the “feel-good” hormone, dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that’s an important part of your brain’s reward system. Dopamine is associated with pleasurable sensations, along with learning, memory, motor system function, and more.
This hormone (and neurotransmitter) helps regulate your mood as well as your sleep, appetite, digestion, learning ability, and memory.
Oxytocin. Often called the “love hormone,” oxytocin is essential for childbirth, breastfeeding, and strong parent-child bonding. This hormone can also help promote trust, empathy, and bonding in relationships, and oxytocin levels generally increase with physical affection like kissing and cuddling.
Endorphins are your body’s natural pain reliever, which your body produces in response to stress or discomfort. Endorphin levels also tend to increase when you engage in reward-producing activities, such as eating or working out.
But, there’s an unfortunate reason why happiness is often elusive — our brains simply aren’t wired that way, Says Hirav Shah.
Instead, our brains have evolved to survive, to protect ourselves, to keep us safe. Sure, we have moments of elation and periods of contentment and bliss. But many of us are plagued with persistent negative emotions — we are just plain stuck in the “blahs.”
How do we find more joy in our life? Like anything else, it takes practice to cultivate ongoing happiness. In a sense, we have to reset our baseline. It won’t happen overnight, but here are the top 10 things you can do every day to discover the secrets of being happier.
Being happy or unhappy is actually your choice. So, make a choice now by
1. Letting Go
Learning to let go is one of humanity’s greatest challenges. Us humans want to control everything! But life can’t be controlled. Learn to let go of expectations of others, worries of the past or future and fear of how things will work out and you will be much happier.
2. Living in the moment
Our thoughts and feelings often revolve around the past or the future. Reality is what you are experiencing in this very moment; what you are going through right now. Sometimes we want to escape that reality. But when we stay in the present, we are fully engaged in our lives. Endeavor to live in the moment, and you’ll begin to have a deeper appreciation for your life
3. Doing what you love
It’s pretty hard to maintain happiness if you hate your job. Don’t waste the best years of your life in a joyless job, even if it’s paying the bills. What are you interested in? What are you truly passionate about? Focus on building a career in an area that motivates you and will provide you with a high level of satisfaction, and your happiness factor will go up exponentially.
4. Focussing on the positives
To find long-term happiness, you need to retrain your brain from a negative mindset to a positive mindset. Try these things: Spend one to two minutes looking for positives in your life. Do this three times a day for 45 days, and your brain will start doing it automatically.
Choose a positive mantra for the day — something you will repeat to yourself, such as “Today is beautiful” or “I feel grateful for all I have.” And when things go south, take a moment to try and see it from a positive light. Never underestimate the importance of recognizing the silver linings in life.
5. Celebrating little victories
Life is full of ups and downs, but in between we have a lot of little victories that go unnoticed. Take a moment to celebrate these small wins.
Did you check off all the things on your to-do list that you’ve been procrastinating on? Yay! Did you finally clear out a thousand emails that have been filling up your inbox? Woohoo! Take pleasure in these little achievements. They add up!
6. Finding your work–life balance
Work takes up a lot of our day, but it shouldn’t be the only thing we do. It’s important to pursue activities and interests beyond our job. Do you have a hobby? Are you spending time with friends and loved ones? Are you getting exercise? Creating balance in your life will reduce stress and give you other outlets to express yourself and have fun.
7. Practising mindfulness
Mindfulness mediation works by bringing your awareness and attention to the present moment. It’s about being nonjudgmental and accepting how you are feeling. Practicing mindfulness means being present, aware and curious. Accepting what we are going through decreases stress and helps us see situations for what they are. Through mindfulness, we can find peace and affirmation in ourselves.
8. Being creative
You may think of artists as being moody and depressed, but studies show that engaging in creative activities on a regular basis actually makes you happier. Those who spend time using their imagination and being creative have more enthusiasm and are more likely to have feelings of long-term happiness and well-being. Such creative activities can include writing, painting, drawing and musical performance.
9. Accepting imperfection
Many of us strive for perfection — we desire to push ourselves to be our best. But in order to be truly happy, you must embrace the imperfection that is part of life. Perfection is impossible, and holding ourselves and others to these standards is futile. We will always end up feeling let down. Accept that life is imperfect and recognize that there is beauty and grace in that imperfection.
Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have received in life. Gratitude is scientifically proven to help rewire your brain. If you tend to seek out the negatives in your world over the positives, practice being thankful every day for the little blessings in your life. Do this consistently and watch your life change.
choices, chances and changes. You must make a conscious
choice to take a chance or your life will never change, Opines Hirav Shah.
Anger, misery, hatred, negativity are instinctive, however happiness and positivity are conscious choices that we make to live well. Happiness is something you can decide ahead of time. The greatest asset we all have is the power of choice to decide how we feel.
Forgive others, yourself, and what happened in the past. Create your own happiness. Surround yourself with the right people. Live in the moment. Focus on and appreciate what you have and be thankful for it.
Feel the happiness!