Easy steps to stay happy

Santosh Joshi

Once there was a young girl full of energy and joy, with a smile for everyone. She worked as a secretary to the director of a company. Her short-tempered boss always found a reason to yell at her. However, the young girl was never affected by his words and the smile never left her face. One day, a colleague asked her how she managed to look so happy every day even though her boss yells at her. The smiley secretary replied, "You see, the HR department has given me a list of duties, and the first and most important one is that I should look presentable and happy at all times. So, I make it a point to focus on doing my job well, and not at the angry words of my boss."

Many may question, how is it possible to ignore someone who is angry or yells at us? It's simple. It is like refusing someone when they gift us a bag of sorrow. We can either accept the gift or refuse it. The choice is ours. The key is to make it a habit to say NO to such gifts that come free all the time. We must not allow external factors to gain control over our state of mind. Only we should be in charge of our mind and no one else. We can either choose to be happy or not.


Ever noticed how children always radiate happiness? That's because they are totally free from the clutches of desires and ego. They are not biased or judgmental. They live in the moment and enjoy it fully, till the time they are subjected to the conditioning that forms their belief systems. As they grow older, they gradually become conditioned to be happy only if their desires and needs are met.

Let's look at a scenario where a child did not fare well in an exam, how would a parent normally react? If we were to do a study of 100 such cases, how many parents would reassure the child and say 'it's alright to fail', 'just cheer up and be happy', 'you can study and do well next time'? Hardly, right?

It is very easy to be happy when you achieve what you want, though this happiness is momentary. But to be happy in a situation, when life plays hard on you is not only very challenging but also a definite doorway to eternal happiness. I am often questioned by many, how anyone can be happy when life has treated them so unfairly.

To my surprise I found the answer to this question in my own household. Our maid hails from a nearby slum. She lives in a rented house with her husband and in-laws. Her husband is an alcoholic and spends most of his earnings on alcohol. She works hard to support her family and her extended family, bears their tantrums, deals with the challenges thrown by the alcoholic husband and juggles three different jobs. When she delivered her first baby, it was stillborn. She went through immense emotional trauma in addition to a huge financial loss in the medical treatment. As if this was not enough, she went through another pregnancy after two years and the baby had to be delivered prematurely and this baby was also stillborn.

Are these reasons not sufficient to go insane? Most of us would. But this girl who has been with for us for five years has never shown any signs of unhappiness. On the contrary we have always seen a big smile on her face, humming happy songs while working. When we tried to sympathize, her reply was, "It was God's wish. Everything will be all right one day." This is a clear example of how our choices make our own happiness. My maid, amidst great misfortune, chose to be happy, in spite of her pain and disappointments. It is very easy to give up, sink and hide behind the miseries life throws at us, but it takes a brave heart to remain happy and smile through these storms.

Life always will test you in every possible way. The situations we face are not in our control but our reaction to them is. Just take a moment to alter the state of your mind and, be happy. Here are a few simple techniques to elevate you to an altered state of mind.

Live in the moment – Most of the time, the cause for unhappiness erupts from the guilt or hurt from the past or from worry about the future. Living in the now and enjoying that very moment will make you happy.

Spend time with children – You will find that children are always in a state of happiness and since happiness is contagious, you will be infected with happiness from them.

Do small things for others – The gesture may be small, but the joy you derive from it will be immense. For example, help an elderly person cross the road, feeding a stray dog, visit a sick, old relative or appreciate your subordinate for his good work.

Be grateful – My mother would always tell me that I should count my blessings. When I actually started implementing it by being grateful for what I have, I realised how fortunate I am and a sense of calm and happiness took over me from within.

Visualising – Many times to trick your mind you just need to fake it. Even if you are not happy, pretend to be happy. It works. Imagine something that you always wanted and believe or visualise that you have received it; you will feel the difference immediately.

Look at the larger picture – If you get dejected by certain setbacks, question how significant it is in the perspective of your whole life. This will make the issue less significant and reduce the feeling of unhappiness.

Recalling a happy memory – This is a quick fix solution for changing your state of mind. If you find yourself in an unhappy situation, recall a happy memory, one in which you felt on top of the world. Your mood will change instantly. It works like magic.

Laugh it out – Many times when you are faced with an unhappy situation that is completely draining your energy, make it appear hilarious as if it's a big joke and laugh with a friend, aloud if possible. Make as much fun of it as you can. Laughter frees you of negative emotions. You will feel much lighter.

Spending time in nature – Nature brings you closer to the source of pure happiness. This is very effective in altering your state of mind because nature is filled with positive energy. So when you feel down, go to a park, beach, or tend to the plants in your garden.

Music and dance – Sing in the shower, lock yourself in a room, and put on some music and dance like you never have before, if your music player isn't around, you can sing aloud or hum your favourite tune. If you don't know how to sing or dance, that's even better.

Watch a comedy movie – Watching a movie that makes you laugh, diverts your attention from the disturbing situation. Also laughing releases enzymes that make you feel in-control and happy. Reading a comic strip also helps.

Research shows that even an artificially induced smile boosts your mood. So act happy, and you will be. Don't waste another second waiting for circumstances to change in order to be happy. Take charge of your life right now, and be happy. The universe presents us with every opportunity to be happy. All we have to do is alter our state of mind and 'Just Be'. When we live each moment of life Being Happy, external factors will stop bothering us.