I read a material on how to induce happiness, and bam, the idea of writing an adapted version sprung up. It is a fact that we all want to be happy, that’s the essence of our existence; even sadists find happiness in their own warped manner. ‘Happiness’ according to Merriam-Webster, is a state of well-being or contentment. And that, my fellows, summarizes how we all want to live or exist.
Reality is that most often than not, we just plough through life neither happy nor sad, just a human production line moving in the convey-belt of Society. Let’s take a side-step and look at the obvious but often neglected happiness map.
Commitment to goals
Haha. In two months plus, it’s gonna be a new year, and of course, we all are familiar with the various or varied-but-same lines of ‘new year resolutions’. Most of us write this or envision it, it will not be fallacious to say, a large percent of those resolutions are not achieved. That’s not the line I wanna pursue though, the line I wanna pursue is the fact that those ‘resolutions’ or goals were actually thought of or written. Why do we think that happens? It’s quite simple, we all feel the achievement of those goals will either make us happy or add some value to our life which again equates fulfillment or happiness. Goals and happiness have a way of reinforcing each other. And even though, without focus we might lose the initial zest and energy, happy people have lots of energy which is channeled into their [latest] quest. The problem is, we all know having goals is expedient, a majority find it difficult having one or sticking to it. Without goals, there’s the tendency to just ‘drag’ through life with no real happiness. Goals can be short-term or long-term, it doesn’t matter, start from somewhere; one thing I’ve personally experienced is that satisfying glow when I achieve a goal, and while there is the fear of long-term goals, it is always worth it having them! And while setting goals, let them challenge your limits, but set achievable goals, not based on what people think is achievable, but on what you feel your capabilities are, so a search for happiness does not end in heartbreak or depression. The goal could be finding your purpose in life, which can be both short- and long- term, helping the needy or incarcerated – both human and animal, having a higher grade or degree, developing better interpersonal skills, learning a new skill – personal or business, keeping fit – swimming, walks, gym…just commit to a goal, see it through, and establish a pattern for gaining happiness. Also beware of having too many ‘conflicting’ goals at a time, that is, while some goals might enhance the achievement of other clumped goals, some might just sap the energy needed to achieve other lumped together goals and at the end of the day it’s a case of two birds in the bush. Personally, I have two goals I’ve been neglecting (lemme just say keeping for a rainy day, lol) for a long time, hey I’m happy oh! But they are, learning to ride a bicycle and how to swim.
Recognizing meaning in one’s work
For a large percentage of workers, this seems like bollocks. I was in Lagos of recent, and oh my, although I might end up in that city that never sleeps, the plight of workers there is simply appalling, the amount of people I noticed sleeping heavily in buses and vehicles on the Third Mainland Bridge was like a comedy movie to me, a young chap from the country-side [Ile-Ife]. Now, my first thought was, someone get ups very early in the morning and gets back home late at night, with little rest and much traffic stress, and the cycle continues every day, every month, every year…how do you expect people like that to maximize productivity. Personally, I’d say it’s just impossible. So what meaning would such people find in their work asides the financial reward? That was an aside. To quote an oft-used paper by Amy Wrzesniewski and colleagues, there are three ways of thinking about work: (i) A job – with the focus on financial rewards and seen as a necessity rather than something fulfilling; (ii) A career – with the focus on advancement and nothing else; (iii) A calling – with the focus on having a fulfilling and socially functional work. Of course, in this part of the world, it wouldn’t be an assumption to say that only few see their work as a calling, most people tend to relate work and calling only to clerics, lol. The finding of these researchers is that people who found meaning [that is, saw their work as calling] in their work were happiest. So to be happy, find a work you can be happy doing, that’s easier said I understand, Nigerians, with some exception, are simply too money-conscious to try to get what we profess we really want – happiness. Right now, I’d go for money too by the way – fulfillment? I’ll pursue that later…lol…hopefully, I’m blessed to get both.
Spending time with people you care about
Of course, this seems as sensible as it reads. When we spend time with people we care about and who care about us, it creates a happy ambience. And we can all relate to this, when we are with friends at the football field, viewing centres, bar, hostel, clubhouse, church or engaged in church activities, chats, calls, strolls, and the numerous so on. I was telling someone of recent, that “she’s a good tonic for me”, it seemed silly to me after I told her [I didn’t elaborate for her], but it simply means, she makes me happy and I feel good even when I don’t wanna feel good, and she keeps me ‘checked’ *chuckles*, spending time with her [even if it’s just virtual] makes me happy…and oh, she ain’t my girlfriend…just saying. Bottom-line is, even when busy and all, you should find time to spend ‘quality time’ with people you care about or [profess to] love – these can be parents, grandparents, friends, lovers, etc – it’ll relieve your stress and make you happier; and for people in relationships, this does not necessarily entail sex…and it’s not a time to be doing that annoying in of incessant smartphone use, unless you saying that’s what makes you happy anyway…for some people, take away their phones and their happiness flies away with it. By the way, it seems that title of this behavioral trait is biased, as a lover of some animals, especially dogs, I’ve found that spending time with Murphy, Fluffy, Winnie, Spotty, and other past and present dogs, when I’m down or angry or the like, relieves me of those negative mood; I run around with them, rub their hair all over, allow them jump on me, etc…my point is, animals are included, some people [myself included] would actually fight for their humanity [ambiguous yeah, hope you understand].
…seems this is getting too long, so the remaining behaviours will be addressed in the next blog. Thanks! Share with a friend!! And stay happy!!!