Finding Happiness in New, Unusual Places

Many say that happiness comes from within and we cannot find happiness in outside factors. While I agree with this statement, I think there is something more to it, I personally think happiness comes from different places for different people and we cannot change this fact. Every person has a different source of happiness. Some want money and some want love. So happiness of one person might mean nothing to another.

So if I can only find happiness in the form of love and affection from others, how can I be happy when this source of happiness runs dry for me? There is a very simple answer, I should find more sources. Most of us do not know ourselves to the full extent. There are so many things and actions invisible to our thoughts which can be a great source of happiness for us but we just don’t know it. I have found out some sources for myself after listening to Shawn Achor and I think you can too.

I read an article recently in which the world renowned Psychologist on positive attitude, Shawn Achor shared 5 tips to be happy internally without relying on external factors like success, money etc. You can watch one of his famous TED Talks below to see the magic in his words for yourself.

He has provided 5 very interesting ways to find eternal happiness in our thoughts and I have been fiddling with those techniques to make the best use out of them. I am giving out 2 ways which have worked for me and I think they can work for anyone. Just read through them and you can easily imagine how positively they will impact your life.

Kindness for Our Invisible Well Wishers: I think none us can deny the fact that we are more kind kind to people whom we have just met, while the people integrated in our lives who care about us all the time (parents, children, siblings etc) are always taken for granted. We rarely appreciate the love and support that we receive from our close friends and family members. So I decided to do tiny acts of love and kindness for these people around me and believe me, it brought be internal joy and happiness. It can be as little as thanking your mother for her love or making a cup of tea for your brother. I was very down in my emotions but this act cheered me up, it brought me long lasting happiness. I have learned that when we do something for others, it might seem like we are doing it to make others happy, but in fact we ourselves become happy as the ultimate result. When we see that a person is happy because of us, we ourselves become internally peaceful and happy about that fact.

“If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.’
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.” A Chinese Proverb

Feeling Gratitude: We humans can never be satisfied and we always have to strive for improvement. When we meet a goal, instead of stopping there, we take a small pause and then set a higher goal to achieve something even bigger. So in essence, if we place our happiness on the achievement of a certain goal, we can never be happy this way since we will keep on setting higher and higher goals for ourselves. And this technique is flawed as noted by Shawn Achor. To overcome this, we can show gratitude for the things we already have and this way our happiness will not rely on something which we do not own yet.

Shawn Achor says we should write 3 new things that we are grateful for each day. I have expanded this approach and besides writing the 3 things, I close my eyes for a few minutes and try to imagine how life would be without them and how important these things are to me. This way, I am truly grateful for those blessings in my life which mean a lot to me. E.g. on the first day, I wrote down My Parents, My Siblings and My House. I think most of us would come around similar findings in the first go. And the best part about this activity is that it is not a one time act, we have to write 3 new things each day, and this way we will have something to make us happy on a daily basis.

I know even after trying all this, some people would still not find that ultimate inner peace. Some people have some things extremely dear and beloved in their lives and if their connection with those things gets disrupted, it can become increasingly difficult to even fake a smile. Nothing can fill the gap in our hearts which is left by a specific person or an action. But by doing these acts, we can try to soothe our hearts. It will not repair our issues but it will provide some relief for sure.

E.g. if someone has lost someone very dear to him/her, I think nothing in the world can cheer that person up in the same way that person would do. But we can at least try.

These suggestions by Shawn Achor are not revolutionary ways to make our eyes wet with tears of joy, rather they are tips to find happiness in places we already do not know about.

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
Dale Carnegie