Don’t worry! Be happy! Sang Bobby McFerrin and the world sang with him. But how happy are we? Is happiness a mirage that seems to exist just a wee bit beyond our fingertips? So, we asked Happiness Evangelist Rachana Gupta to share with us the secrets of happiness and she did. Happily. Over to Rachana Gupta, then…
“Are you happy?” If I asked this question right now, a few may say “Absolutely,” a lot would probably reply “Sometimes” and a large number would say “No, not really.” Some people enjoy their lives no matter what happens, while others can’t find happiness no matter how hard they try. Most of us fall somewhere in between. And the reason for this is, we are constantly in pursuit of happiness, whereas in reality happiness already exists within us. We simply need to know how to find it.
Interestingly, research indicates that approximately fifty percent of our happiness is genetic and the rest fifty percent is learned.
So, half the reason you walk around cheerful or gloomy is because you were born that way. The other half is due to your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions formed in response to your life experiences.
Further, research done by positive psychology scientists informs us that of the learned 50%, only 10 percent of our happiness is determined by life circumstances while the other 40 percent is determined by our habitual thoughts, feelings, words and actions.
This means, the things that we thought would make us happy have only a 10 percent contribution – the lowest one – to make us happier. The money we earn, the big promotion we got, the fancy house we live in, the wealth we have accumulated, the beauty treatments we go for etc. has only a limited impact on our happiness levels.
The secret sauce is the ‘Chaalis takka’ – the 40% – that decides how happy we are going to be!
Our sense of happiness comes mainly from these 3 actions of ours:
1) What we choose to pursue by way of intentional activity
It’s how we think and the work we do that really determines how happy we are going to be. If we observe genuinely happy people, we find they do not just sit around being content. They make things happen. They pursue new understanding, seek new achievements and control their thoughts and feelings. Each one of us holds the promise of intentional activity; we just need to be able to identify it and act upon it. The fountain of happiness can be found in how we behave, what we think and what goals we set every day of our life.
2) Being authentic
We are said to be authentic when we are able to fulfil these three conditions that make us the unique person we are:
First Condition: Listen to your inner voice
Can you hear that internal stream of communication that guides you in moments of confusion, challenges, exploration and enquiry? This is your inner voice. It can be a hunch, or a fleeting feeling, image or impression. Inner voice is not a voice; it is an energy phenomenon. This inner voice is very strong in children, but as we grow older it becomes weaker. The voices of parents, teachers, and society become louder. To hear your inner voice, you must pass through a crowd of noises before you attain a certain quality of serenity (as in meditation).
Second Condition: Never mask your feelings
If you want to laugh, laugh. If you are angry, be angry. But don’t smile, because that is not being true to you. If you keep smiling even when you don’t feel like it, soon you won’t be able to smile even when you want to. Your whole mechanism will become topsy-turvy because when you wanted to be angry you weren’t, and when you wanted to hate you didn’t. When you are true to your feelings, your whole system will function smoothly, like a car that hums because its mechanism is functioning well. Such people walk, but their step has a dance. They talk, but their words carry subtle poetry. Whatever you are feeling needs to be expressed the way it is.
Third Condition: Live in the present
Yes, the past is important to learn from our mistakes and move forward, but living in the past is dangerous for our happiness and personal growth. At the same time, we should avoid worrying about the future because it is a futile activity. All that matters is how mindfully we are living in the present and how much we are able to contribute to make it enjoyable and enriching. People who live in the present are realistic, resilient and have high levels of adaptability. They know the present moment is precious and they safeguard it and enjoy it.
3) Celebrate life right here, right now
The third way in which you can enjoy happiness is to be grateful about and acknowledge the good that exists in our life. We often tend to overlook it. This is a habit that needs to be changed. Just look at the way you shall feel when you ignite that streak of optimism within you. It instantly lights you up and also gives you the hope & strength to carry on and move ahead with zeal & enthusiasm. Grab every opportunity you have to celebrate life. The fun part is NOW, not later!
About Rachana Gupta
Rachana Gupta is Founder & CEO of www.gynoveda.com, the first digital platform that brings Ayurveda & Technology together to solve period problems. Rachana is a health & happiness evangelist and also a published author of Happiness Ki Khoj. She has worked with marquee clients in India’s leading BPOs for over 17 years, managing diverse roles in Customer Service & Operations. Today, she is pursuing her dream of enabling women to take charge of their health and is committed towards building a non-judgmental, non-intrusive space for women to discuss periods & their reproductive health.