How to know…. WHAT MAKES ONE HAPPY?
Friends, before Covid, I used to teach my students sitting right in front of me. I used to feel so happy, their inquisitive faces, rapt attention, sometimes naughty questions, and all kind of pranks to get a free period; this would give me such happiness, I just can’t express in words.
Now, even after a year of no face-to-face interactions, I am unable to identify any other activity that gives me so much pleasure, gratification, and meaning to my life.
I chanced upon the book “HAPPIER” by Tal Ben- Shahar, creator of the most popular course on HAPPINESS in Harvard’s history. These nuggets I am sharing with you have been taken from his lectures on the topic. He equates happiness to the currency of life, how appropriate!
He recommends FOUR STEPS to identify the activities that give happiness: –
1stSTEP: Make a note of all your everyday activities for a period of two weeks.
Acting on the advice, I jotted down all that I do during the day.
My list looks like this…
*Walk & Yoga…….. About one hour each day.
*Gardening. ………. 30 to 40 minutes.
*Household chores…..Two hours approx.
*Chatting with family & friends….An hour
*Playing with my pet dog ……20 to 30 min.
*Siesta …….. An hour
*Working on Blog &Tarot …. About Three hours.
*Watching TV …… two hours.
*Listening to music ….30 to 40 min.
*Reading …… an hour or so.
Dearies, go ahead, make your own list.
2nd STEP: Create a method to quantify how much pleasure and satisfaction each activity provides.
I measured them on the scale of 1 to 5, it was not easy.
Five means more happiness, One, the least.
Now, in front of each listed activity I placed a number, starting with Walk and Yoga.
· Do I look forward to Walk & Yoga? Yes? +1. If the answer is no, -1.
· Do I want to spend more time for Walk & Yoga? Yes? +1. If no -1
· Am I happy doing it? Yes? +1. No -1
· Does it give meaning to my life? Yes? +1, no -1
· Would I like to do some other activity instead?
Yes? -1, no +1
Working like this, I placed a number in front of each activity.
3rd STEP: Friends, with numbers 1 to 5 against each activity, it becomes quite clear, which daily activity gives maximum happiness in minimum time?
Now I am adding a few things I love to do occasionally, like: –
Going for movies/ theatre ….. once a week
Window shopping/ shopping ….. once a month
Dining out ….. once a fortnight
Meeting friends over a cup of coffee…. Once a week
Playing cards …. Hmmm may be once a month
Though Covid has put a stop on quite a few things I enjoy, happy days are around the corner!
4thSTEP: Material wealth and possessions are no substitute for happiness and purpose.
Small thoughtful activities give more happiness, meaning and direction as compared to larger goals. This past year, when all of us were under complete lockdown, many of us gave rations/ financial help to our domestic staff and needy, a small act that gave us lots of satisfaction and happiness.
Friends, do take out some time,
Know what makes you happy?
What gives meaning to your life?
How to make happiness an integral part of you?
I will be looking out for your comments,