Letter from New Delhi
Try this: Smile at everyone who comes within ten feet of you, make eye contact and say ‘Hello’ to everyone within five feet. This may seem silly but it works to make you, and others, happy.
What are your ten happiest moments in life? Make a list. When you compile this list, you will realise that most of your happiest moments are experiences as opposed to material products. Now try to re-create those situations and stop hankering after products, luxurious or basic.
Start your day by thanking existence. Really! What for? Plenty. Right at the top of this list is the gift of life that your have. Then, health, followed by the love of your family and friend, your comfortable home, and your list gets longer and longer as you count your blessings.
Even if you not have a job or enough money, you have your life, the most precious gift from existence. And your life can end any second. So be grateful for it. Thus, you say loudly all the blessings you really appreciate and not take them for granted. When you start your day by counting your blessings, you lay the foundation of a happy day ahead.
The same goes for an entire week. Mondays are not depressing and Fridays are not uplifting. Destroy this myth by telling yourself that Mondays give you a fresh start for the week and Fridays start a relaxing and joyous weekend. You have 4,000 weeks in an average life span, so demolish this myth and be happy the entire week.
Change your mindset. It’s not about ‘getting through the week’ or ‘surviving until my next Friday. Instead, set your aim to ‘enjoy the week’ or ‘to inspire people’.
Be at your best self for the first four minutes of arriving at work or returning home. This uplifts the entire period at work or at home. And, it is infectious in spreading happiness.
Don’t be afraid to hug the people you know well to show you appreciate them. The average hug lasts 2.1 seconds, but for the endorphins to transfer, it needs to last seven seconds or longer. And your relationship improves. But be very cautious with the opposite sex.
Consider the positive side of everything. Your car did not start this morning. Take it easy, you can get it fixed later. But be thankful that you own a car. You are paying too much tax. Thank existence that you are earning so well. Only 10% of your happiness depends on things that happen to you, while 90% depends on how you react to these events. Always make a conscious choice to be positive.
What’s the worst possible scenario when you have a setback? On a scale of one to ten – ten being death – where is this setback? If it is death, you are allowed to feel down, but anything else, get over it. And move on. Keep smiling. Your brain will immediately think that you are happy, and you’ll feel a whole lot better.
Remember that happiness has a ripple effect and infects people three degrees removed from you.
A Sufi mystic who always remained happy and was never seen to feel sad was asked, “What is the secret of your happiness?” He said, “There is no secret. Every morning when I wake up, I meditate for five minutes and I say to myself, ‘Listen, now there are two possibilities: you can be miserable, or you can be blissful. Choose.’ And I always choose to be blissful.”
Osho says, “All alternatives are open. Choose to be blissful. And then there are people who can be blissful even when they are imprisoned, and there are people who remain miserable even when they are living in marble palaces. It all depends on you.”
Kul Bhushan worked as a newspaper Editor in Nairobi for over three decades and now lives in New Delhi
* Published in print edition on 18 May 2018