Happiness is a state of mind

Why happiness is a state of mind and here’s how you can achieve it

In the words of biochemist-turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, “Happiness is a deep sense of flourishing, not a mere pleasurable feeling or fleeting emotion but an optimal state of being."

What is the ultimate goal that most people hope to achieve in their lifetime? Chances are your answer is happiness. Although everyone aspires for happiness in their lives, many see it as an emotion, which can be fleeting and based on a specific event or circumstance. For instance, when someone asks you to describe a time when you were happy, you usually tend to recall a moment celebrating something like a wedding or a birthday or when you are with your friends and family. You generally limit your response to specific events or experiences, which suggests that happiness can only be created by things, people, or occasions. In reality, happiness is a state of mind that can be achieved by simply choosing to be happy.

Contrary to being just a mood, happiness relates to how we feel on the inside. In the words of biochemist-turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, “Happiness is a deep sense of flourishing, not a mere pleasurable feeling or fleeting emotion but an optimal state of being.” What’s important to understand is that happiness lies in fostering a positive state of mind. And to create positivity in your life, you need to build your thoughts around values such as joy, gratitude, and confidence.

Here is how you can reframe your outlook in life to achieve a happy and positive state of mind.

Always focus on the positive

There is no such thing as a perfect life, and you are going to encounter both opportunities and obstacles in equal measure. When you face a challenge, pay attention to the positive aspects no matter how insignificant they may seem. For example, if you get stuck in traffic, instead of seeing it as a waste of time, listen to your favourite songs. Similarly, when run out of a food item you want to cook, relish the joy of trying your hand at something new. When you choose to focus on the positive side of things, you achieve happiness.

Developing a feeling of gratitude also helps in creating a happy state of mind. Before going to bed, spend a few minutes thinking about the things you are grateful for. Write them down in your journal. Do this exercise for a month, and your brain will start focusing on the positive aspects of your life. The brain starts producing endorphins that result in feeling happy and energised. You can also choose a positive mantra for each day. Repeat positive affirmations such as, “I believe in myself” or “I am grateful for what I have.” You’ll be amazed at how good you will feel at the end of the day.

Increase creativity

Creativity can be anything that invigorates you and offers a pure moment of joy. Each individual can identify something that they enjoy doing or are interested to try. It could be photography, painting, playing the guitar, knitting, watching movies, or cooking—the list is endless. Research suggests that activities that spark creativity make us feel happy and satisfied because our brain releases dopamine or the “feel-good” hormone. However, we don’t often indulge in creativity because we devote our time and attention to more important things in our lives such as our career and family. We fail to realise that a creative outlet can give us far more joy than mundane activities and can make a significant impact on our lives. Engaging in creative ventures stimulates us to be more in tune with ourselves and ultimately makes us happier individuals.

Accept that you are not perfect

Perfection is a myth and is not the same as striving for excellence. When you create unrealistic goals and expectations, you set yourself up for failure and disappointment. On the contrary, if you let things go and accept that it is alright to be imperfect, you will transform your life for the better. According to American author Anna Quindlen, “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” Being vulnerable and separating your thoughts from your identity are some of the ways to accept your imperfections and become a happier person.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is an effective technique that builds your capacity to stay focused on the present. It is a powerful solution to the distractible nature of your mind. Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as eating slowly and mindfully by savouring each bite of your food, taking a walk and observing the life around you, and pausing between actions to clear your mind. Meditation is one of the most popular forms of mindfulness and has numerous benefits for your health, happiness, and wellbeing. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can bring stability and peace into your life, while reducing your stress and anxiety. Mindfulness can help you discover a whole new possibility towards achieving happiness as a state of mind.

Do the things you love

Do you go to work each day knowing exactly what your day will look like? Are you bored, unhappy, and waiting for something interesting to happen? If so, maybe it is time to make a change. Do not let the fear of failure or expectations stand in the way of your pursuit for contentment. Instead, grab new opportunities for growth and learning by doing what you love. By opening yourself to enriching experiences in a new environment and around new people, you are on the path to unleashing your true potential. For example, when you join a new hobby group, you meet new people and make new friends. Doing so will make your life more exciting and you will look forward to each day. And when you are excited about your day, you are more likely to enjoy every aspect of your life too.

Celebrate small victories

Big victories and achievements are great as they can boost your self-confidence and motivation in life. When you receive great feedback on a project you have been working on for months, you feel a huge sense of achievement and the occasion calls for a celebration. However, big wins don’t happen every day, and when you start defining your success by them, even a small setback can ruin your day. On the other hand, the simple act of reframing your mindset can create a huge difference in your life. Focusing on small victories and milestones can encourage better work habits, decrease stress and boost your performance. On the personal front, you can derive happiness out of simple things such as communicating effectively with your loved ones, meeting a friend after a long time, or being praised by your superiors at work. When you acknowledge and celebrate these little victories, you become happier and more content in life.


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