CH 14 Happiness and Sorrow

In the chapter 12, I had asked you to count your blessings, to reduce anxiety and frustration. Here I want to stress on facing your worst fear upfront, to reduce the Stress.

When you face something unexpected or unwanted and it starts to give you stress, try doing a simple exercise of 5 steps. I have tried several times and works for me.

1. Pause for a moment, imagine the worst outcome of the situation.

2. Remain in that space for a few minutes to feel the release of sadness of this outcome.

3. Extend your thought to the next step you would take to stabilize yourself.

4. Tell yourself you will live out of it anyway, and it’s ok to lose some.

5. Come back to the current situation. Now you are not afraid of the worst outcome.

Face the situation to get the best mitigation you can with your available resources. If you avoid the worst, be happy. If you couldn’t, take the step you imagined in step 3 and be at peace. At least for the duration, you will find yourself out of the sorrow of the loss and able to make your response with a stable mind.

And then of course Bounce Back …. !!!

“Because happiness is not about avoiding sorrow, it’s about facing it successfully. “


© sarikatripathi


Thanks for reading…!!

Face sorrow, stay happy.. !!

CH 13

CH 15

CH 13 (UN)HAPPINESS AND VICTIMHOOD

Some of us appear to be always unhappy. Even when they achieve something significant, they are still unhappy about something else. It is more habitual unhappiness then real. They use the tool of victimhood to keep themselves always unhappy and at the centre of everyone’s pity. They believe and act as if the whole world is against them, fate is against them, God is against them and that everyone else is much more fortunate then they are. While at the start, such behaviour tends to attract sympathy from the near ones and even strangers. However, over time it can cause people to wear out and start avoiding the whining person, who constantly fail to sympathise with anyone else.

I do not believe that such behaviour is on purpose and that someone wants to remain constantly unhappy. This is more to do with a lack of self-confidence and self-appreciation. Their natural instinct is to demean their own achievements mostly by comparing to someone doing better, without any intention to doing better themselves.

“It is important to assess our own behaviour if we find people distancing from us.

There is another breed of people who tend to use victimhood as a means to manipulate people and extract gains that they never deserve. They extract sympathy out of their fabricated misfortune and dupe unwilling good souls in providing undue favours. These people are borderline criminals against happiness in any healthy society. Much like a rotten vegetable in a bag of healthy vegetables, which if not isolated in time make all others rot along. Again such behaviour doesn’t last long but leaves a trail of unhappy people who come to realise that they were cheated, and probably decided to never help another soul.

“What hurts more than any misfortune, is when someone cheated you and you couldn’t realise it on time.”

In my life, I have come across both these breeds, and I found two things that are common in both. One they are unhappy and second that they extract your happiness and leave you unpleasant. While one does it, unknowingly and second do it purposely.

If after reading this you find yourself as one of this category, please re-evaluate your thoughts and decide better for your happiness and of those around you. If you find yourself in the company of the first kind, try to rationalize with them, and if you must, help in measures you won’t have to regret. If you find yourself in the company of the second kind, well just leave immediately.

©sarikatripathi

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Thanks for reading.

Stay happy, stay conscious.. !!

Ch 12

Ch 14

CH 12 HAPPINESS AMONG LONELINESS

Before getting into counting the pain and problems I will start with a tip, “Count your Blessings“. It is a rather simple thing you can do to cheer yourself up within seconds. If you have a roof over your head, food on the table, electricity and water running, a place to sleep, you are much better then many lakhs of people on the earth. Further, if your health is reasonably fine and you also have family and friends to talk to, you have the luxury of life. Then if you have a job to trade your time and skills for some money you are even more privileged. Finally, if you have all this at the same place, you should not even complain. But like me, if you don’t have everything I listed above but just a few of them, be hopeful and thankful for what you have.

“When you feel sad, bad or angry just Count your Blessings, to calm down and rationalise your response, not necessarily to forget the cause”

Being alone and being lonely is never the same thing. Many people like to be alone most of the time and enjoy it, many others live alone and yet remain connected to their friends, family and colleagues over virtual means. While many people enjoy an elaborate social life, many others remain lonely even in most dense social setups. It all depends on the balance of what you want and what you get, that decides how you feel about your situation.

“It all depends on the balance of what you want and what you get, that decides how you feel”

The recent times have indiscriminately isolated huge fractions of world population from each other. However, each one of us experiences this isolation very differently. Some of us feel the divide between countries for our travel plans are ruined or someone from the family is abroad. Some of us feel the lack of domestic travel affecting us for similar reasons. But most of us are unaffected by the travel restrictions and miss going out to our offices, markets or gyms & parks. All of us liked our homes but the anxiety that results from restrictions and uncertainty is affecting everyone, maybe on different levels.

Loneliness and depression are creeping in while the world is bracing for the pandemic to pass. The economic meltdown is predicted soon after the economies will try to function after the lockdowns. Job insecurity is adding to the stress of the already frustrated working from the home workforce. All the factors that are mostly out of our hand as an individual.

All this brings us to the importance of maintaining our happiness and sanity more than ever. Every loss brings the possibility of a new beginning, but only those who remain capable of harnessing the opportunity will gain. The idea is to stay positive with focusing is on whatever is going good or at least not gone bad while it could have. Learning something new or something that we have kept on hold for later, can be the most rewarding outcome from the current situation.

Maintaining health is another challenge while restricted with lack of space, equipment and motivation. Well, same old Yoga is at our rescue as it doesn’t need much space or equipment and pandemic itself is the motivation to improve immunity.

We need to believe that no one is alone in this. Whatever will happen, it will happen to all and that everybody will come out together form it. With all the learnings from nature’s punishment hopefully, we will build a better world.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> until then >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

stay in, stay safe and stay sane ….!!!

©sarikatripathi

Ch 11

Ch 13

INDIA FIGHTS CORONA

Though the fight is still on, its good that the light is also on…!!!

The government, all private and public sector companies are coming together and trying their best to make the whole event of lockdown as bearable as possible for everyone. The efforts from all sections working under the lockdown to keep the country operational are both unprecedented and appreciable. I get surprised every day how the seemingly inefficient infrastructure of India has improvised itself to manage the situation well beyond anyone’s expectations. Everything may not be perfect, but then, was anything anyway?

While the whole world and unfortunately including many Indians are waiting for India to fail, the responsible citizens and organisations are fighting with patience and determination to not let that happen. We wish we could do more then sitting at home and contributing to PM fund, but if this is required at the moment, then we stay at it.

Though the fight is still on, its good that the light is also on…!!!

CH 9: Happiness Without Self ?

We all want to be happy. But what if, the factor of Self is missing. If someone does not value himself or herself. Is happiness even possible? I guess there is always a way, one should have the will to find it.

There can be one possibility, ‘being selfless‘. A person who has found salvation and devoted oneself to the greater good and spiritual explorations. There is no ‘self’ but there are happiness and peace. Although not impossible, this is a less probable option that most of us can relate with.

Other then the above, there is no happiness, unless we are happy with ourselves, to at least a minimum level of satisfaction. Lack of self-esteem is one of the major factors when we begin to doubt ourself, the satisfaction levels drop drastically. There is a lot of literature and self-help content available online and offline to help people realise their worth and revive their self-esteem. My personal favourite are listed below…..

Let Past be Past, easy and straight. Whatever have already happened can not be changed so crying over it, is counter productive. Best is to take the lesson and move on.

Out of control is Out of concern. Whatever is beyond your control and not infulenced by your actions is better left to happen. There is no use bothering about it.

Work on what you can change. Start with yourself, your looks, the way you talk, what you eat or anything that will make the situation better. Then Help others. Helping Others will raise self-esteem very quickly.

Be content. While there are genuine cases of depression and dispare, there are also lot of unnecessary grieving over non essential accomplishments. To keep world a happy place, people need to learn to diffrentiate between sorrow for necesscity and luxury.

Change the Reference Point. When you find yourself completely helpless, so much so that happiness seems impossible. Change the point of reference from where you are measuring your accomplishments. Best not to compare with others and try to better yourself from yesterday and not from 10 years before.

Its not your fault, and even if it is, forgive yourself. All that goes wrong is not always your doing. There is the whole universe responsible for what all happens. If someone has been in an accident and lost a leg or someone is suffering from an incurable disease, the will to enjoy life is hard to find. The First step is to believe in a better life and forgive all the causes of the pain, including yourself.

In short alter the prespective that suit to your situation to see the bright side. Just when you find the will to work on the Self Factor, improve everyday and make a happy life out of whatever situation you are in. Lastly seek help when you can not do it yourself, just like we take a cab when we can’t walk home.

Life is Beautiful believe it and Live it.

Stay Focused and Stay Healthy.. !!

CH 8

CH 10

CH 8 The Formula to the Balance of Happiness

The sense of happiness depends on how we are feeling. All positive emotions add to the happy state and all negative emotions reduce the chances to feel happy. Being content is not in human nature. However that is the source of all the glory that humanity has achieved, it also causes all the misery that exists in the world.

Life is not perfect. In fact, it’s not even smooth or easy. It’s funny that all of us are in constant stress over this consistent fact. To put it simply, life is never the way we want it to be, and this is because we always want something better then what we already have. A better location, a better job, a better house, a better set of clothes, a better environment, a better family (if that was even possible). The list is never-ending, so are the desires.

I discussed on the factors that influence our happiness in Ch 3 to Ch7 (links added below) of this blog. Now I would like to go back to the equation I introduced in Ch1 Fact-ors that influence our Happiness. Where assuming all factors are equally important and are contributing 25% each positively to our happiness, i.e.

Self(25%) + Home(25%) + Social(25%) + Family(25%) = Happiness(100%)

We may attain a state of 100% happiness, well that would be close to Nirvana. This is the ideal, hypothetical and in-fact impractical situation. But let us keep a benchmark of 60% to be reasonably happy, anything more than that is towards Bliss and less than that is the scope of improvement that we should focus on for our reasonable happiness.

So let us get real with the equation. One can have the varying status of contribution and satisfaction on each factor. Not all factors may contribute equally, Self maybe 30%, Social 30%, Home 25% and family maybe 15% for some people as a factor of importance and a very different balance for someone else. Similarly, satisfaction levels will be varied from person to person and from time to time.

Let’s say, for me, all factors are 25% important and I am 10% happy with my health and well being, 10% happy with my job and social status, 20% happy with my family and 15% happy with my home, husband and marriage. Adding all I have 55% happiness and 45% scope of improvement in my happiness.

Self(10%) + Home(15%) + Social(10%) + Family(20%) = Happiness(55%)

But had it been in my hand, I would have already improved my situation. Well that’s not entirely true, of the 45%, probably 30% is beyond my control, yet I can work on the rest 15%. If I could make improvement of only 5% in any one of the factors, I will be reasonably happy, which in turn might help improve another couple of percent on the health factor.

Just to mention here, the grading and % check is as per self-assessment and there is no certified tool to measure exact happiness levels. After all, it is a feeling and can’t be measured by anyone other than the person experiencing it. The key is to identify and work on the improvements that can be done to increase the percentage.

Most of the time we are lacking one or more of the factors contributing towards our happiness. Some of us have non-supporting families, others have toxic relationships, someone has a non-rewarding job, and someone is too sick to enjoy life. Even the one who has all the riches lacks something somewhere. So to maintain a balance in happiness, we will have to keep our desires listed and focus flexible on improvement.

In the next few Chapters in the sequence of this post, I shall try to discuss the variations of the equations with respect to some of ‘what if’ situations. Of which a few that I have personally faced and some other which I have known about from other people’s experiences. I am expecting a lot more of ‘what if’ situations in comments from the readers.

Thanks For reading. Previous Chapters links added below.

Stay tuned, Stay Happy …!!

Ch 0 The thought of being happy

Ch 1 Fact-ors that influence our Happiness

Ch 2 Why focus on Happiness at all ?

Ch 3 Taking care of ‘SELF’ is not Selfish

Ch 4 THE ‘SOCIAL’ (un)HAPPINESS PART 1 : JOB

Ch 5 THE ‘SOCIAL’ (un)HAPPINESS PART 2 : EXPECTATIONS

Ch 6 THE HAPPY HOME !

Ch 7 Family: The Ultimate Support Group

Ch 9 Happiness Without Self ?

CH 7 Family: The Ultimate Support Group

Family accepts you no matter what is your situation. We might be soaring high on our career and life, or be beaten down by recession or physical injury. Family is always there to cheer or support. Whoever can’t do that for us, are actually just relatives or acquaintances, not family.

Family in most cases includes parents, siblings, spouse, children if there are any, close friends and pets. However it depends person to person who all come under this ultimate support group.

It is said that you will know your true friends in your worst times, well same is true for the family. Not always we find the support or happiness that we are looking for in the immediate biological relations. There are other emotions like fear of added liability, where children abandon their parents, risk to social reputation where parents hurt their children or simple jealousy where siblings don’t get along. We can’t change other people perspective, what we can do is to understand it, and set our expectations accordingly.

There are people we lovingly term as ‘family beyond blood’, friends that compliment or sometimes even substitute for family. They may be school friends, neighbourhood friends, College friends, office friends or acquaintances turned friends. There are generally common interests or common problems that create and strengthen the bonding, based on understanding and support. Our lives grow parallel, which gives a lot to relate with each other.

Last but not least are pets if you have any. They are the unconditional source of love and affection. No matter what you are going through in life and who have left you, pets will love you all the same. They do add a liability of as much of child, being dependent for food and comfort. But they return 10 times towards our general happiness and wellbeing.

Lastly, I want to add is like any other relation, the family also needs to be valued and nurtured. Although the family will forgive easily and will never hurt you. Yet it’s not wise to hurt or hate them if they fall short of expectations. It’s also our responsibility to love them unconditionally as we expect to be loved by them.

While Home is the base of happiness tower, Family is the iron and cement that holds it together. Will discuss managing the factors of happiness to help maintain a degree of happiness in upcoming posts.

Thanks for reading. Please share your views in comments.

Stay happy, stay tuned !!

CH 6

CH 8

CH 6: THE HAPPY HOME !

The people we live with, together with the dwelling place makes the home. The definition evolves over the course of life. For me, it’s my small rented apartment, my husband and our fishes. It was my hostel rooms and roommates from my graduation until I got married. And it was my parent’s place, my parents and big brother before graduation.

A happy home is the ultimate bliss, that not all of us value enough when we have it. It is the base of the tower of happiness we are trying to build and hold. The good part is easily taken for granted. We would hardly thank our parents for being loving, caring and taking all the efforts to make our lives easy. A good roommate is valued in hostel life only after we get an irritating fellow to live with. An understanding partner is expected to understand even more. It is very important that we value and respect the people in our home and make efforts to contribute similarly to their happiness.

For those whose home is a happy place, they don’t need to visit a temple to find peace from the chaos of the world. Homes which lack in peace and where the people fight with each other, the happiness of each inhabitant is compromised even when they are directly not part or cause of the distress. Under such condition this base of happiness tower becomes weak, and we struggle to find balance in life.

The importance of dwelling place is no less. A clean and tidy place, with good ventilation, bright lighting and open space can add a lot to the peace and happiness of its inhabitants. Compared to a clumsy, unkempt or dark and damp place with an unpleasant aroma. While best of electronics appliances or cosiest of bed and sofa or expensive decorations can add to the look and comfort of the house. Its the efforts taken to maintain neatness, supplies, a healthy and positive environment by everyone that live at the place makes it the home. An easy tip to add positive energy is to have as many house plants as practically possible. They do increase a to-do item in daily routine, but at the same time also add more oxygen and natural beauty to the home. Slightly difficult one is to add pets to the family, they are unconditional source of love and perfect stress-busters.

It takes hard work to maintain a pleasant home, but it’s worth every effort.

Thanks for reading. Please share your views.

Make happy and stay happy !!!

CH 5

CH 7

Ch 05 THE ‘SOCIAL’ (un)HAPPINESS PART 2 : EXPECTATIONS

“Expectations Hurts”! .

We live with a web of expectations, and they come in various varieties. There are expectations, we have with the rest of the world, be it our spouse, family, friends, employer, government, UNO, and off-course with GOD. Then there are expectations that the world has with us, be it our job title, work performances, lifestyle, the kid’s life or even the pet’s life. The world, starting from our family to the stranger on social media, need us to be in a certain way, which in most cases is different than what we have managed.

We get irritated, sometimes even angry when our expectation with others is not fulfilled in the way we wanted them to be. It can be a paid service that does not come out as it should have, or some of our trusted friend or family did not stand for us when we needed them. The cause of pain here is not what other’s have done, its the expectation that we had with them to do. So essentially we our-self are the cause of our pain.

Similarly, at times the world expects us to do something we don’t like or relate with. Such situations result in a series of disappointments both for us and for the person imposing the desire. This can happen both at work and at home. Even our loved ones can have misplaced expectations from us. Honesty is the only way out, it may cause temporary discomfort, but will save a lot of pain in the long run.

The next type and most impacting expectations are those that we have with ourselves. We want to become like someone, top the class, reach a certain job status, buy a house, improve our health, learn to play the guitar, tour the world, love someone with all our heart, make our parents happy or perhaps do it all. The list is long and ever evolving. These wishes keep us moving and there is nothing that can please us better than achieving them. It is not always easy to attain all you want, at the time you want it. The key to happiness is to have the expectations balanced with our abilities, pace and requirements. It’s perfectly alright to be content if our needs are fulfilled, our talents are utilised, and a certain something is not achieved yet. After all, we need to have something to look forward to.

Stay happy, keep Dreaming!!

CH4

CH6