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.
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.
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?