Happiness is a state of mind. One can be deeply unhappy despite seemingly having everything. And then there are others who really are able to stay happy in very challenging circumstances. Is happiness about how we react to things or is it an all-enveloping result of circumstances?

This question has always fascinated me. The other day I was reading about people who are considered too sensitive or who feel very deeply. I think I have always been someone who perceives deeply and feels with a lot of emotion. A lot of times this could directly trigger unhappiness.

A happy brown woman

My father once told me that it is natural to feel bad about another when they are having a bad time. Surely hold them in your heart and thoughts for a few hours, even days, but then let it go. You can’t change things, and where possible try to help in some way, volunteering or charity. 

Because there is so much misery around us. If we start investing deeply in each news item that we read, it will drain us of all emotional energy. It would make us miserable because most times we can’t do anything to better them. In these times of social media, gloom and doom constantly bombards us.

I have been trying to follow this philosophy. This helps in protecting myself from overwhelm. I do try to contribute to causes because that’s the only thing that I can control. The real challenge comes is when I come across insensitive people who interact with me regularly. Often, we can’t ignore them or avoid them. 

Then it gets challenging to stay detached. I try to ignore and move on but sometimes it does not work. I try to directly confront them sometimes, but that doesn’t work always. At the start of the pandemic, I made a promise to myself. No matter what, I will not allow someone else the reins of my happiness no matter how close they are to me.

Like water off my back, I try to ignore barbs or rude comments. I know that it is action that spurs me. So I try to take action, no matter how small, to address this concern. This has directly impacted my happiness on a day-to-day basis. I find myself moping and moving onto things that make me happier faster. It’s a work in progress, but it is happening.

It is also important to recognise negative triggers and failed relationships. Negative triggers make us fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. It helps to be aware of them. Failed relationships, friends and loved ones can really sap us. It is so much better to let them go. Instead of focussing on what could have been, it is best to remember the best parts of the relationship now soured and move on.

This is very helpful, as emotionally we can move on to better people. I remember back in college, I counselled a few college mates regularly. I guess I offered them an ear and non-judgmental words. It wasn’t even advice but just a kind ear that helped. There was one particular friend who was always jumping from one problem to the next.

She would cry easily, and I felt truly sorry for her. But a few interactions with her, I realised starting taking a toll on my mental health. I would be concerned for her wellbeing. Eventually, I asked her to seek professional help because I just could not handle her all-consuming unhappiness. Maybe, she was depressed. We did have a decent College Counsellor back then. 

An outline of a happy woman

Since then I have been a bit wary of people who are always venting/unhappy/looking for validation. It is very draining to be around such people. The best way to help them is to direct them to professionals. 

Moving on to positive stimuli, I turn to them to keep me in good mental health. Music, workout, speaking to my closest friends and family are up there. 

I also hired a cook to help me with daily cooking especially lunch. As someone who has been cooking for the family since forever, this was a big step.

I was delegating my responsibility towards the health of the family to someone else. It’s been more than a year now and such a lifesaver. It cuts down on daily monotony and frees up so much of my time for productive work during the day.

I still cook a lot over weekends, recipe development and my food blog. But the daily help really counts.

So yes, happiness to me is focusing on what is good in the present moment. Taking care of my mental health I have realised has a big role to play there. I would love to know how you safeguard your happiness on a daily basis?

10 Thoughts on “The Importance of Happiness

  1. I cant agree more with you. I try new dishes, read my son’s school books, use a Hindi dictionary, I do research for my sons school activities . However my cluttered home drains me of my energy.

  2. So nice to hear from you again, Rachna <3

    You know, I've leant to focus on being content than happy. It helps to a large extent. I've stepped away from toxic people, especially those who only want to vent. As much as I want to help, I think about my mental health as well.

    I've got a maid at home now to help. A cook will be a huge step for me, but it sure is on the cards. I'm way too exhausted by the end of the day.

    You be you, Rachna! Nothing else matters.

    • Thanks Soumya. A househelp is a good beginning. I guess we’ve to see what we have the bandwidth for and then outsource what can be. Being content works too. Staying away from those always venting or seeking validation has been so freeing for me personally. Glad to connect again!

  3. There are times when the past haunts me and makes me miserable. But since some time now, I have been trying to shut the door to the past that makes me sad, angry or bitter. So I imagine shutting a door to all that misery from the past, as well as things and people that make me miserable and then i focus on the present, on all things that have worked out and that give me joy. My work, for instance, and my babies, books, and the couple of close friends I can trust.

  4. I am super happy for you, Shilpa. You are a gentle person, and you have clawed your way out of adversity. Kudos! What matters is what works for us as an individual and to embrace it and make it then work for you.

  5. Awesome of you to realize how important you are and how valuable your time is. A maid to help with the cooking is a step in the right direction as it does free you up to focus on more important things and have time to yourself too. Looking forward to seeing more of you on the blog this year Rachna.

  6. Taking care of the self is the most important thing one can do for their loved ones. I am learning to focus on what makes me happy than doing what is expected of me. It is liberating. I have people in my life who has only complains and sad stories to share. It’s extremely difficult to deal with those moments. But I am slowly learning to detach myself from their problems while trying to maintain the relationship. It’s not easy though.
    Happy to see you focusing on your mental wellbeing, Rachna. 🙂

  7. Rajlakshmi on January 21, 2023 at 4:38 pm said:

    Instead of investing the energy in all causes, sometimes one needs to pick a cause close to their heart and work on it. There are so many burning issues in the world, if we let it impact us we would never find mental stability or peace. I try to keep my feed positive. I use ignore and hide options if I see anything that I don’t like. It is not just about world problems, but also things like cheating, negative attitude, misogynist view etc. In this age, cleansing the feed is just as important as cleansing the mind.

    Also sometimes people do need therapy more than a friend, for their own well being.

Do not leave without commenting. I love a good conversation :).

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