Happy: A Film by Roko Belic
On Saturday night, I watched a documentary called, “Happy”. Have you seen it?
In the documentary, they traveled all over the globe to show us some of the universal elements of happiness. According to research, our deepest happiness comes from the simpler things in life – like time spent in loving companionship, nature, and contributing to a greater good.
Interestingly, once our basic needs have been reasonably met, more money does not seem to increase happiness.
Experts say being happy is a skill we can improve with practice! So here is a brief list of suggestions, based on some ideas from the film, on how to nourish our happiness.
How to Be Happier
1) An attitude of gratitude. Focus on what you have, and make it a regular habit to remember what you are grateful for in your life. Even if you are facing troubles, even if you are feeling down, take a few minutes to think of the things, even the small ones, for which you are thankful.
2) Exercise! There is a direct correlation between exercising and feeling happy. You don’t need to become the next Iron-Man champion (unless you want to, of course!). Just find something you enjoy. For me, walking is always an excellent way to boost my frame of mind.
3) Connect with loved ones. Make time to enjoy the relationships that matter to you! If you are feeling lonely, be open to fostering new friendships: volunteer, or take classes. Keep in mind that inter-generational connections are valuable to our well-being, too. And never underestimate the joy found in the companionship of a loving pet.
4) Cultivate caring, and compassion. Research shows that helping others or working toward a good cause makes us feel happier. We become part of something bigger than ourselves, and that changes our perspective. We feel useful knowing that we have something significant to contribute. It’s a way of creating connections, and bringing more meaning to life.
5) Rest! Sleep, and relaxation are so important to happiness. In Japan, they now have a word for working yourself to death: Karoshi. In the documentary, a widow talks about this phenomenon. It’s a disturbing trend: corporate culure needs to change, and so do our attitudes.
6) Enter a state of Flow. Are you familiar with this concept? Think about a time when you were so engaged in an activity that you completely lost track of time, and you sort of forgot about yourself in the process. That is called a state of flow. People who enter this state regularly are happier than those who don’t. Meaningful work and hobbies are just two of the things that can take us into flow.
Being happy doesn’t mean that one is never sad, angry or frustrated. It is healthy to have natural reactions to situations, but the key is not to get stuck in a negative frame of mind. We integrate and feel our experiences honestly, finding our way back to a fundamental contentedness.
A Few Quotes:
“Let’s be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ” – Marcel Proust
“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.” – Stephen Chbosky
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles M. Shulz