Happiness— a very relative term. While some finds happiness in wealth and riches, for someone sipping a cup of tea amidst cool breeze in the garden can be the definition of happiness. For some, happiness can be bringing a smile on hungry street children’s faces, while some can find happiness in nursing an injured stray dog.
While reasons may differ from person to person, we all find our route to happiness in some way or the other. No matter what is the reason, it is important to be happy and even more important to make others happy. Because that is how we can make the world a happier place to live in.
On the International Day of Happiness 2023, The CSR Journal takes a look into why it is important to stay happy and what are the ways to happiness.
International Day of Happiness 2023 theme
The theme for International Day of Happiness 2023 is ‘Be Mindful. Be Grateful. Be Kind.’ Yes, it is important to be grateful, and extremely important to be kind. This is because, a little word of gratitude, a ‘thank you’ can make someone smile, even a small act of kindness can make someone’s day!
Why is it important to be happy?
The benefits of happiness are innumerable. Happiness benefits us mentally, physically. And not just us, it also benefits those around us. Do you want to know how? Read the following.
Happiness spreads positivity
Happiness generates positive energy. A happy person spreads positivity and optimism among others as opposed to someone who is unhappy or pessimistic. For a happy and positive person, the glass is always half full. At the same time, being happy helps us to get rid of the negativity and frustration in our mind. If you think negative, you will invite and manifest only the negative. So happiness will only invite more happiness and positivity.
Happiness enhances concentration, efficiency and productivity
A happy mind automatically tends to focus and concentrate more as compared to a disturbed or unhappy mind. A student who is nervous ahead of exams finds it difficult to focus on the text book as compared to a student who is relaxed. A happy day at work is anytime more productive than a stressful day. A comprehensive study of 700 people by the University of Warwick, Department of Economics in England has reportedly revealed that being happy at work increased productivity by 12%.
Happiness boosts creativity
Don’t you feel happy when the auditorium reverberates with claps after your performance or a person stares at your artwork or maybe someone licks their finger after eating a new recipe you tried? Doing something creative makes us happy and at the same time happiness boosts creativity. While we tend to feel happy and satisfied after doing something creative, often a happy frame of mind encourages us to channel our inner creativity!
Happiness is the key to healthy relationship
Happiness is the key to a lot of things including relationships. A happy person knows how to keep their near and dear ones happy, does not unnecessarily vent their frustration or anger on someone close and is capable to maintain a healthy balance in personal, professional and other spheres of life. Happiness makes you love others and also get love in return. When a person is happy, it automatically reflects in his/her behaviour with parents, spouse, siblings, cousins, children, friends, colleagues or any other relationship. Thus, happiness is beneficial for a healthy relationship.
Happy people attract others
Also, happy people attract others. It is human tendency to get attracted to smiling faces as opposed to a grumpy face. We find it easier to approach a person who seems to be happy and tend to avoid those who give a negative vibe. Just like children, adults also feel happy when encouraged and praised for their good work. We naturally feel happy around those people who recognise our efforts and encourage us to do something better.
Happiness is the key to health
A happy mind has a positive effect on our health as well. It is said ‘Health is Wealth’ and a happy person is more often a healthy person! And when we say health, we refer to both mental and physical health. The utmost important thing is your mental health, when you r happy you will have mental peace. Also, staying happy and positive is believed to keep diseases at bay and increase life expectancy.
Studies have often shown a correlation between optimism and a decrease in health issues like heart attack and stroke. It has been observed that optimists often recover faster after undergoing intensive surgery. People, who tend to be pessimistic, often have higher levels of cortisol, which is a stress-related hormone.
Which hormones make us happy?
Serotonin – Serotonin plays a major role influencing learning, memory, happiness as well as regulating body temperature, sleep, sexual behaviour and hunger. Lack of enough serotonin may lead to depression, anxiety, mania and other health conditions.
Dopamine – Dopamine is also called the ‘feel-good’ hormone. It gives us a sense of pleasure and motivation. A primary driver of the brain’s reward system, dopamine results in a feeling of well-being. It increases when we experience pleasure. Having low levels of dopamine can lead to lack of motivation and excitement. It can also contribute to depression, schizophrenia and psychosis.
Endorphins – Our body releases Endorphins when we feel any kind of pain or stress. Endorphins are produced to help us relieve from pain, reduce our stress and improve our mood.
Oxytocin – Also called ‘love hormone’ increases with any sort of intimate touch and when we fall in love! Mothers are said to experience this during and after childbirth.
How to stay happy- Look for ways to make yourself happy
As mentioned earlier, happiness is relative and is differs from person to person. Remember, only you can be the reason behind your happiness. No amount of money, wealth or riches can make you happy unless you feel happiness from within. So, whatever be your reason, just try to look for it. It is important to be happy and happiness as we all know is contagious. If you are happy, you will spread that happiness to those around you!
Try to get rid of stress
We all feel stressed due to personal or professional reasons at some point of time or the other. However, there are simple ways how we can get rid of stress and enhance our inner happiness. For example, yoga, meditation, listening to music, watching a comedy movie, chatting with siblings, cousins or friends are some very basic ways to get relieved of stress.
Eat your comfort food
Food makes us happy and our comfort food makes us happier! Feeling sad? Just try sipping your favourite kind of coffee or eat a little bit of your comfort food and see how your mood changes! We bet, you will start feeling better even before your plate is finished!
Give yourself a deadline
Whenever you are feeling angry or annoyed, a magical way to get over it is to give yourself a deadline. Just say, ‘I will get rid of my anger or irritation in the next 30 minutes and I am going to smile’. Try doing this and see how it works like magic!
Be around a happy person
As mentioned earlier, happiness is contagious, so we naturally tend to come out of unhappiness and feel better when around happy souls.
Be amidst nature
Nothing is more soothing, nothing is more calming, nothing is more refreshing than Mother Nature. Feeling unhappy? Just take a walk on a patch of green grass, just go to a park or garden and breathe some fresh air and see how your mood boosts up!
Spend time with pets
Pets are a natural cure for unhappiness because animals know a magic, which we humans don’t. Playing with your pet dog or cuddling your pet cat will automatically make you forget all your worries and bring a smile on your face! Try it today!
Spending time with children
Just as with pets, it is the same with children, who are God’s angels on earth. Talk to a child, get down to that age group and just listen to them or play with them, see how you will feel happy and young!
Take out at least 30 minutes every day to workout. Run, swim, dance, do yoga, hit the gym, do anything your heart desires. If not anything else, just go for a long walk. This is because, physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that make us feel happier, relaxed and reduces our anxiety. It is also believed that working out regularly boosts our confidence and self-esteem.
Travel makes us happy because even if temporarily, travel takes us away from our regular mundane day to day life and allows us to breathe some fresh air and explore activities away from our daily routine. When we go to a new place, we get to roam around in the unknown, explore new kind of food, meet new people, buy local items all of which is a novel experience, which fills our mind with happiness and joy.
Watch or read
Any content which is comical, makes us laugh. So if you are feeling unhappy, disturbed, bored or stressed try reading a motivational book, a happy love story, an inspiring biography or fiction or watch comedy on TV or internet. It can be a stand up comedian’s performance or a comedy movie or a cartoon show. It will automatically lift your mood.
Get a facial, spa or massage
A spa or massage releases happy hormones like Serotonin or Dopamine in our body which in turn make us feel relaxed and happy. Feeling unhappy? Just book yourself a spa!
Try something creative
Doodle something with pen on paper, paint, stich or knit in your free time, try cooking a new recipe or bake a cake, try humming a new song (in any language) or just put peppy music on your speaker and dance as if nobody is watching. Anything creative makes us happy as we gain satisfaction from the joy of creation.
Recall happy memories
It is said that memories are always happy. Well, as we grow older we realise that this is not entirely true. However, it is upto us which memories we want to cling on to. There is no point in remembering the bad experiences in life as it only makes you sad. Happy memories take us to the time gone by temporarily and make us relive the experience. Recall happy memories of your childhood and see how your face lights up with a smile instantly!
Feeling angry, upset or depressed? Just sleep it off! There is no better relaxation than sleep. After a sound sleep, just pamper yourself with a steaming cup of tea or coffee and see how your mood will boost up! And yes, remember to put your mobile phone on silent mode if you really want to enjoy a sound sleep.
Start your day with a smile and you will see the day is going well and everything falling in place! With happiness you stay healthy which is the most important thing in the present day. So be happy and always smile, confront your challenges with a smile and you will feel confident to fight everything. So keep smiling and tell yourself, “I am Happy”.
Ahana Bhattacharya can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org