8 years old Pihu, studying in an elite school in the metro city is having a conversation with her mother.
Pihu: Mom! What’s happiness?
Mom: It’s an emotion, a feeling when you receive, achieve or give something. (While Mom replied, she went into the depth of deciphering the real sense and signs of happiness). While all may not make sense, this might help in decoding it further.
Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, gratification and contentment and the words associated with it are safety, success and bliss. It flows in dimensions of mind and body in particular. While there are several angles to it as each one of us perceives, what matters at the end is, are you making this as a choice? Aristotle coined it eudaimonia in Greek, which is sometimes translated as “human flourishing”.He said; “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”.
The happiness of mind traverses from Pleasure to Purpose. The pleasure with its shortest span is definitely important to us as human beings, but its related benefits are relatively short term. A sumptuous meal in your favourite restaurant, a night out with friends or listening to our favourite music all produce endorphins and offer us happy moments that can be the highlights of our day. However, these tiny moments don’t necessarily exemplify to long-term satisfaction. Moving a notch higher to this is Passion. Being passionate about something whether a hobby, a group activity, and actively being involved with it can be a great source of happiness. Even though we push ourselves out of our comfort zones; sometimes, these activities deliver contentment and provide a sense of achievement and variety in life.
When you are able to find your ‘why’, i.e., the purpose of your being; feeling like you are part of something bigger than yourself and that your actions really matter can lead to a deep sense of fulfilment and long-term happiness. This is where the penultimate sense of joy lies. It’s in mind and ever-growing!
When the mind is not happy, can the body be? Have you ever pondered upon this overlap of emotions of well-being? It may vary from the psychologists, economists and spiritual leaders point of views. Nevertheless, the happy hormones do contribute to altering of emotions and vice versa, and I have coined it as a ‘DOSE’, a spoonful of it every day will work wonders to your emotive being, and the results will be visible soon. Here is the decoding of the term:
Dopamine, a neurotransmitter often referred to as the “Chemical of Reward” is produced when we accomplish little goals. The small everyday tasks of making a bed, sorting of clothes or cleaning a book rack, all can contribute significantly to get your dopamine in action.
Oxytocin has been called “the cuddle hormone” or “the love hormone” due to its association with pair bonding. The hug formula works well here and has proven to have physical & psychological effects, including influence on social behaviour and emotion. Nonetheless, one can keep it flowing by simple activities like touch, caress and parent-kid bonding over different day-to-day tasks.
Serotonin is the vital hormone that stabilises our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. This hormone impacts our entire body. It enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other. Kindness and being helpful to others is one of the simplest ways to balance this hormone naturally as it contributes to fine tuning motor skills and cognitive functions. Donate a smile if you have nothing else to give!
Endorphin, a feel-good chemical that helps in coping with pain and stress, is a natural happiness booster. All we need is to exercise every day and let all parts of body gyrate to produce this hormone. Other activities are yoga, meditation and volunteering for group activities. Having spicy food, dark chocolate and a good laugh also induce production of this chemical.
So, it is simple, start with your DOSE today and take it daily to be happy and joyful!