Sunday, October 28, 2012
In Pursuit of Happiness: Easy Steps to CREATE Happiness
To go by the words of Abraham Lincoln, "most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
These words find support in what the famous psychologist Richard Lazarus explained in his Cognitive Mediational Theory(1991). In this theory, Lazarus proposed that the most important aspect of any emotional experience is how the person interprets, or appraises the stimulus that causes the emotional reaction. in simple terms, the happy man is he, who thinks he is.
Nobody's life is hunky-dory all the time. Every person has to face trials and tribulations, go through difficult times. He indeed, is wise, who chooses to put on the glasses of optimism and faith and interprets the events of his life as positively as humanely possible.
Life, if you look at it this way, is not a race. It is a hurdle race. You can't question the presence of hurdles. They will be there, for that's the nature of the sport. If you bang your head on the hurdles and try to remove them out of your path, you going against the flow, attempting the illogical and the fruitless.
Not just that,you are not putting your heart and soul to win the race, for your focus has actually slipped into some other territory. There is no way you are going to win in this manner. If you lose your strength at the sight of a hurdle, and ask "why such things happen to me all the time, WHY ME?", you yourself are delaying your victory.
Again, if you just sit there, waiting for the hurdle to disappear, you are only deceiving yourself.
Not just the best, but the only option you have is to jump over the hurdles, as and when they come, without creating any fuss.
It often helps if you are a person deeply connected to nature. Feeling low? Well then go smell the flowers, let the breeze kiss your hair, leave your slippers on the porch and let your feet feel the moist grass, savour the delightful courtship dance of the butterflies, go out in the sun and let the blameless blue of the winter sky be your confidante, let the zephyr carry your message to that distant companion. Go, fall in love with nature.
Learn to appreciate the beauty that the mundane things of everyday life have to offer. Just imagine life without the things you take the most for granted. You will know their value then.
Maintain a gratitude journal. list all those things, people and moments in it that had made you smile someday and that make your everyday life worth living. It can be your coffee mug, or a compliment your teacher paid you that fine day, anything. When you are low in spirits, just flip through its pages, and you will have a hundred and one things to be happy about.
It is often seen that people find it easy to forgive, but not to forget. What we don't understand is, forgiveness is incomplete in such a scenario. By repeating emotional episodes over and over in our mind, we inadvertently etch them in our memory. So, the key is to let go, to not think at all about anything unpleasant that we have been through.
Equally important is to first know ourselves. It is always desirable to keep the doors of improvement open, but we also need to learn to distinguish between comments that are credible and that are not. If you have put on a white dress and a friend of yours with black sunglasses comes and tell you that the black dress you have worn does not look good on you, and on top of that, you get upset on hearing that... well, to say the least, nothing can be more ridiculous.
Not to forget, nothing succeeds like success and the high one gets out of achievement is just unmatched.
Have a clearly defined goal, make sure it is challenging enough but realistic and put in every possible effort to achieve it. If you are able to achieve it, well and fine. If not, you did not lose either, in the actual sense of the term, for in the process, you actually grew as a person and learnt things you not have, had you not been in pursuit of the goal. At least you will not be amongst those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
Last, but not the least, cultivate a taste for literature, for poetry. It will be with you when nobody else is. Go, live your days of happiness!!!!
................................................... Sudha Shashwati is a psychology major in University of Delhi and considers positive psychology to be her niche. She is an out and out humanistic psychologist, a hopeless romantic and a shouting optimist. When not drowned in literature, she loves spreading sunshine around through her writings at http://thelidislifted.blogspot.in