“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm
If you have read the book ‘Animal Farm’ you’ll relate to the quote above. To give a background to the story, animals revolt against the tyranny of man and capture a farm which is then ruled by animals. Initially it is the pinnacle of happiness for all the animals on the farm, as they are the creators of their own destiny. But slowly corruption, greed and murder creeps into their system and the animals lower in hierarchy are treated worse or similar during the rule of humans.
The point that is trying to be established is – happiness resides in our mind. Anything we do voluntarily is happiness. Anything we are forced to do or bear is suffering. Hence if we look at it, the secret formula is very simple – do everything willingly, without any expectation. Good or bad, pleasure or pain, loss or gain, accept everything unanimously. Flow like a river, which doesn’t change its attitude with plains or rocks, twists or turns, through sand or forest. Similarly pass through life, accepting everything that comes along and maintain the same demeanour in all situations, this will keep you peaceful and joyous through ups and downs of life.
If a positive situation makes you overly excited with pleasure, you become addicted to it, you want more of it. And this initiates the cause for suffering. Expectations, desires and greed bound you to the material world and their absence causes pain. When one accepts progress or failure with the same stride, every moment becomes joyous.
Nothing lasts forever – when you start believing this, your perception towards the world will change in a positive way. Go back in time and think about your worst and the best days, when you thought this is the end of the world or a situation when you thought nothing can be better. Are you still enjoying that pain or pleasure? In most cases, you would have been through worst or better situations compared to the previous. Situations are inconsequential, your reactions shape your future.
Life goes on as it has to, no one can predict how it’ll shape conclusively. You should be like an observer watching a movie, the most realistic and personal movie, don’t be biased, emotional or don’t take it too personally, it is just one of the movies you are a part of.
Though we can’t control the flow of life, we can definitely make the experience more enriching. Here are 5 hacks to uplift your mood:
- Sing – anybody can sing, don’t worry about few shattered glasses, you are worth it. A research shows that Coristol (stress hormone) levels reduce during or after someone is sings. It is a good exercise for your throat, good vent for your emotions and it’ll definitely put a smile on someone’s face while making you happy.
- Dance – when you are showing of your moves on the dance floor, it can be any style, you are doing something very positive for your body. Dance requires a complex mental coordination which improves intelligence, cognitive memory and decreases the risk of dementia. In a 2008 article in Scientific American magazine, a Columbia University neuroscientist posited that synchronizing music and movement—dance, essentially—constitutes a “pleasure double play.” Music stimulates the brain’s reward centres, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits. So put a smile on your face and shake a leg.
- Eat a treat – it is a temporary fix, and can work in dire situations. Research has found that eating chocolate releases endorphins, feel-good chemical in brain. After eating a bar of chocolate you may experience a more positive outlook and even a sense of euphoria. But don’t get addicted to it, as the negative impacts of sugar outweigh the positives.
- Walk in nature – Research in a growing scientific field called ecotherapy has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.
In a 2015 study, researchers compared the brain activity of healthy people after they walked for 90 minutes in either a natural setting or an urban one. They found that those who did a nature walk had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is active during rumination — defined as repetitive thoughts that focus on negative emotions.
Interacting with natural spaces offers many therapeutic benefits, go out for 20-30 minutes daily and see the happiness it generates within you.
- Burn some calories – University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. More cell growth in the hippocampus region of your brain also acts like an antidepressant also called as “runner’s high”.
Regular exercising drops stress hormones, makes you more confident, positive and happy in general. It has manifold benefits from looking great to talking smarter.
Include exercising in your routine and find happiness in its simplest form.
Life will always surprise you with pleasure and pain, take everything in your stride and move forward with a smile. One who learns to control oneself, rules the world. Happiness is when you think, say and do things in harmony.