Secrets to live a happy life

Happiness may seem a fleeting emotion but it’s within your reach

Tasneem HossainTasneem Hossain
Published : 23 March 2024, 10:12 PM
Updated : 23 March 2024, 10:12 PM

In human beings, the pursuit of happiness is inbuilt. Happiness is a prerequisite for our overall well-being.

People often ask me ‘How can you be so happy all the time?

The answer is simple, ‘It’s a matter of choice to be happy or to worry about everything that goes wrong in life.’

Worrying cannot change anything rather it worsens the situation. I admit that it’s difficult to stop worrying but we can always try.

Worrying is normal and that’s what makes us human.

But I choose to be happy and try.

Though happiness can have many different definitions, it may be described as an emotional state involving positive emotions characterised by feelings of contentment.

Happiness may seem a fleeting emotion but it’s within your reach. You have to choose consciously to be happy every single day. Determination and a few simple changes in your thought process and lifestyle can make life overflow with happiness.

To be happy is a choice you make every day, every hour and refining and renewing that state is a constant pursuit
Julia Roberts

A few simple strategies can help you to lead a happy life.

A genuine smile causes the brain to release dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. These lower anxieties increase feelings of happiness and well-being.

One of my daily habits is looking at the mirror just after waking up every morning, smiling and saying, ‘Yes, I am happy’. Believe me, it works.’ Try it and you will see the difference.

Greet and smile at people, even strangers. Their happy faces will result in feelings of happiness flowing through you.

Practising gratitude has a great impact on feelings of hope and happiness. Start your day by being grateful for anything that comes to your mind: Be thankful for being alive and express your gratitude to everyone who loves you and has done anything for you. Thank your Creator for having given you so much- the home, the food, the luxuries and above all this life.

Immerse yourself with positive energy. Look for all the beautiful things around you.

There are ups and downs in life - stop worrying. Constantly worrying creates anxiety about things that you can’t normally control. Supposing something bad happens to you. Think, ‘Something worse could have happened,’ or ‘Maybe some better things are coming my way.’ Believe me, the universe listens to positive thoughts.

Train your brain to banish toxic negative thoughts and nurture positivity Spend some time looking at the positives in your life every day. Your brain will start doing it automatically.

Be happy about your accomplishments. Take a moment to celebrate yourself every day. Doing so is a reminder that life is not only about suffering and hardships. This will increase your optimism and boost greater happiness.

Be kind to yourself. Many of us strive for perfection. No one is perfect, nor is life. Notice the beauty and grace in those imperfections. Rather than thinking of the failures and mistakes, focus on the positive things life has bestowed upon you.

Give sincere compliments to people, whenever you can. It’s an easy way to brighten someone’s day. It has a ripple effect-you will be surprised how happy you feel.

Several studies have found that generous people are happier compared to selfish people. Self-interest is natural. Focus on other people’s well-being too. Share your blessings. Be generous with your time and money. Give to those in need.

Meditate every day to improve focus. Through Mindful meditation, you will find peace and affirmation. Deep breathing exercises are also a form of meditation. Studies show that we experience feelings of contentment, and empathy right after meditation. It’s often been proven to be the single most effective way to live a permanently happier life.

Listen to music. It uplifts the spirit by causing the brain to release dopamine, generating high levels of happiness.

Live according to your personal values, core beliefs and goals. Then, align your lifestyle with those for an abundance of happiness.

People change. Reevaluate your goals. Let go of those goals that no longer attract you. Focus on building a career accordingly. It will keep you motivated and happy.

One of the best things to boost your happiness is to be yourself. Don’t depend on the approval of others; accept yourself for who you are.

Humans are social beings. Research shows that social relationships have a positive benefit on your mental health. One secret to happiness is surrounding yourself with happy and positive-minded people. Regularly connect with good friends. Share and celebrate the good things in your lives with an open mind. Even something as simple as texting, emailing or calling a friend can open doors of mutual good relationships and happiness.

Studies suggest that the happiest people are the ones who have a balance in relationships with a romantic partner, friends, family and colleagues. Healthy relationships hold the key to happiness and delay mental and physical degeneration

Interact with people you see regularly. Talk to people you see- the liftman, the caretaker, the tea boy, the delivery man; people who take the same transport with you every day. Maintain good relationships with your neighbours. These interactions are crucial for boosting your happiness.

A simple way to lead a happy life is to be honest. Lying and hiding things can generate a sense of guilt leading to stress.

It's important to have some free time. Get involved in activities that make you happy like going to the movies, restaurants or going travelling. Just having a conversation with friends will also make you feel rejuvenated.

Keep learning new things that you like; engage in creative activities. Personal growth and creative actions foster a sense of fulfilment and long-term happiness.

Spend time in nature. If possible walk barefoot- touch the grass and trees. Sit and feel the air, the fragrance of earth and listen to the sounds of birds. Studies have proven that spending just 120 minutes in nature a week could benefit your mental health and well-being.

Sleep at least 7 to 8 hours for good health, brain function, and emotional well-being. Make your bedroom comfortable and tidy it up in the morning; so that when you return you have a warm cosy haven to laze around.

Have a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle for a healthy mind and body.

Regular exercises help reduce stress, depression and feelings of anxiety and boost happiness. Even a small amount of physical activity can make a difference. Walking or swaying with music for 10-20 minutes can do the trick.

Journaling also helps. Write at least three good things every day in a diary. Studies show that the simple act of listing increases happiness.

The age of social media has made it difficult not to compare yourself to others. Stop comparing! Each life is different. Be thankful for what you have and try to develop new skills to help grow further.

Studies show that happiness doesn’t come from material possessions or money. We sacrifice time, money and energy for material gain. In the process, we neglect ourselves and our loved ones which leads to heartaches, not happiness. Nurture relationships.

Sometimes in our lives, we may lose some loved ones; lose a job or suffer from illness. Remember it's part of life. Acknowledge the unhappy feelings. Later, shift your focus towards positive thoughts and develop the resilience to cope.

Gossip and negative talk bar happiness. Let go of these and any hard feelings and jealousy towards anyone for inner peace.

These simple yet important strategies can help you build inner resilience and boost happiness.

The UN General Assembly declared 20 March as the International Day of Happiness. It was first celebrated on March 20, 2013. It’s observed every year to make people aware of the importance of happiness and well-being in the lives of human beings across the world.

The theme of 2024 is, ‘Reconnecting for Happiness: Building Resilient Communities.’ It aims to inspire everyone to spread positivity and encourage nations to prioritise the happiness of their citizens. The happiness of individuals and communities is directly linked to the prosperity of the world. It stands as a bridge for promoting sustainable development goals. Happiness nurtured worldwide will make, our world a better and happier place.

True Happiness can only be achieved by making others happy.

Give and share your love every day.

Smile and be happy!

[Tasneem Hossain is a multilingual poet, columnist, op-ed and fiction writer, translator, educator and training consultant. She is the Director of Continuing Education Centre, Bangladesh.]