“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”– Aristotle.
For the past few months I have been fascinated by the concept of happiness & how important this state of mind is to our being but more specifically as a factor that could be the prime mover for greater productivity & performance in my organisation. While discussing this topic with my leadership team recently, I found most people seemed to equate happiness with external factors—professional success, financial status, state of their personal lives etc. I disagreed.
A few years ago, after stepping into my 60s, I had started going into a state of contentment & positivity. The feeling of well being & leading a meaningful life seemed to be enveloping me. As age-related health issues started cropping up, instead of doctors & medicines, I decided to go through non-medical ways of treating myself. A long practitioner of yoga, I added extensive exercises to my routine to fight my aches & pains. It took 2 years to completely cure myself of frozen shoulders, sciatica & knee pain (through acupressure). Over a year ago I started going to a nutritionist for a healthier & a well-balanced diet that brought my various ailments under control. More than weight loss, it improved my internal system & increased my resistance to illnesses. My focus became my personal being. I stopped reading negative news in papers & refused to carry any conversation with anyone who drifted into negative under-tones. I underwent a natural process of change at being extremely satisfied with what I had in life. The birth of a beautiful grand-daughter was the ultimate blessing. I seemed to have slipped into a perpetual state of happiness & contentment. I felt like a proton-always positively charged.
I now realise happiness is the ultimate end-point in life. Nothing matters if it doesn’t produce a feeling of joy & satisfaction. I don’t know if it made me a better human being but it completely changed my life & most surprisingly helped me propel my business forward with a fresh burst of energy as I started looking at every aspect of life differently. I made it my aim to spread happiness & positivity amongst my staff, leading to a spurt in our business growth by 32% last year, despite an extremely tight market, We are now excitedly & more happily chasing a much bigger targeted growth of over 70% this year.
So what is happiness?
To me it is a mental state of positive emotions like contentment, pride, joy & well-being, more scientifically referred to as hedonia. It is my personal experience that every happening in our lives has an upside & a downside to it. Happiness comes when you focus on the upside. Those who tend to look at the downside experience negative emotions like fear, anger & anxiety that prevents them from feeling happy.
Happiness can be triggered through both mental thinking & physical behavior. To fight cycles of extreme stress & lows, I created my own stress busters & mood up-lifters. Shopping, movies (caramel popcorns a must), writing, giving motivational talks, frequent vacations & regular self-indulgence helped fight off the cyclic low phases, keeping me on a perpetual high in life.
Something that has really worked for me is my daily habit of beginning each day by mailing a positive quote on success, motivation or achieving goals to my team at work. In addition every morning I post a positive life-quote on Facebook followed by witty one liners to bring a smile to my friends. What it does to them I am not sure but it definitely brings a great feeling upliftment within me.
Happiness is a funny thing. Simple things like comparisons & over-thinking can take it away. On the other hand you cannot really give away happiness. The more you give, the more it returns back to you. Happiness begets happiness.
It really isn’t difficult to find happiness, the most sought after component of our lives. Like me, begin your own quest for happiness within. Once you find it, it will completely change your life.