be happy

stress is an integral part of life. invitation to unwanted stress is a choice which most of us inadvertently make resulting in the loss of both mental peace and physical harmony.

also, happiness is a choice and it is in our power to be happy in the adverse circumstances. but developing this power is quite a chore which can only be accomplished with regular practice.

no, you need not shift your base to the Himalayas and meditate your good self off in the freezing temperatures to get a taste of happiness. this practice may or may not lead you to experience happiness but you are most likely to contract pneumonia.

humour aside, i too am a seeker of perpetual happiness and a humble practitioner of the art. I've affected a few changes in my lifestyle to dictate my behaviour. I've listed them below in a ten-pointer note for your convenience. you may customize it to suit your needs.

•  seek your spiritual side: well, this is not as difficult as it sounds. on the contrary, what you need to do is to simply understand the text of the religion you follow and try to emulate it in life. all religions guide an individual to remember her creator and seek wisdom and solace by chanting His name and singing His praises day in and day out. if you are an atheist, then spend a few minutes everyday in meditation focusing on an object of your choice. seeking your spiritual side will make you feel stronger in the mind and more at peace with yourself. you'll also learn during the course of your practice that Shakespeare's quote that the world is a stage and we are but mere actors is actually true. meaning that we are creatures of God's will and our whole life is a stage-play under His direction. the understanding of this analogy will not only allow you to easily let-go, but also help you in accepting your current state of affairs by submitting to His will.

•  don't let the external variables rule you: suppose you are working very hard for your promotion and during the appraisal you find your colleague, who has put lesser or no effort at all, ruling the roost. what do you do? give a piece of your mind to your boss or speak ill of your colleague to everyone? go ahead if you like to embrace stress and make yourself miserable. so how do you cope with this situation? first, accept the fact that your promotion is not directly proportional to your hard work. it also depends on some external variables such as the opinion of your boss about you or of your boss' boss or your client's etc. unfortunately you cannot control the external variables but what you can control is the amount of sweat you put into the task at hand. once the task is accomplished just bask in the sunshine (read glory) of achievement. trust me this will alleviate your pain of missing out on the promotion. well, if you are still sulking then change either your Boss or your job.

•  seek pleasure in little accomplishments: forget your day job; have you ever tried doing simple tasks such as removing cobweb from the walls of your home or cleaning you car or vacuuming the floor or walking thirty minutes daily or cooking for your family? well accomplishing them won't compliment your bank balance but would definitely boost your morale and induce happiness by introducing a sense of accomplishment in you. try it!

•  don't procrastinate: procrastination leads to panic when deadlines are nearer thereby inducing stress. a bit of downtime is acceptable between the end of one task and the beginning of another for rejuvenation. but when this downtime widens stress starts building up. procrastination may be avoided by identifying its reason and then eliminating it.

•  take up a hobby: most of us are not lucky enough to translate a hobby into our day job. a hobby is a diversion from day to day life. something which creates a personal sanctuary where you can shut the world out and in the process broaden your physical and mental outlook. explore hobbies such as pottery, gardening, philately, reading, writing, music etc and settle for the one that interests you the most. remember this: you'll initially 'suck' at whatever you do. don't stop, just keep practicing your craft. eventually you will develop skills to beat even a professional. also if you hate your job, a hobby will give you a reason to look forward to another day in anticipation.

•  exercise: it has been scientifically proven that exercise boosts 'happy hormones'. it is not only good for your heart but also for your overall mental well-being. i consider brisk walking for at least 30 minutes a day (depending on your health) as the most elementary and potent form of exercise. it bears results in no time and will leave you rejuvenated.

•  don't let anyone trample your ego: all said and done, don't let people hurt you without a reason. the more you avoid conflict, the more your mind keeps returning to it and making you feel guilty of inaction. just talk! talking is the best way to understand and eliminate the point of contention. if talking does not help, then seek superior intervention. losing one's temper in precarious situations only worsens the matter. in other words don't avoid conflict, just resolve it amicably. allow the nature to take its course.

•  don't be in a hurry: I see people drive past me at maniacal speeds all the time. I wonder at their ignorance of letting an opportunity to appreciate nature and spend a few moments with themselves slip by. Being in hurry is need based, not a necessity. Try making it to an appointment, say, fifteen minutes earlier. This way you'll have all the time in the world to relax, order a drink and recapitulate salient points before the commencement of the meeting. Slow and steady definitely wins the race (without any casualty).

•  watch your diet: high calorie diet may lead to acidity and obesity. need I write more on the relationship between good diet and happiness?

•  help others and nurture happiness: well, the very foundation of this note is the first and this last point. our spiritual health not only depends on pleasing God in person but also helping his creations in some way or the other. if you see a limping dog the across the street take him to a veterinarian, give an undernourished kitten a bowl of milk or plant a sapling once or twice a year.

these good deeds will go a long way in liberating your soul from the shackles of falsehood that bind us. you will experience the fullness of the mind thus experiencing perpetual happiness.

each one of us has her or his own way of dealing with stress. the idea is to minimize its impact on the body and mind. if you embrace this ten-point note and practice it regularly, you shall be reaping its benefits in no time. also remember that no one could ever run a marathon straight from the couch in a day.