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Guidelines for Happiness

Happiness is a choice that each one should make. The first step is taken when you truly desire to be a happy person, because happiness originated from within us. You also need to work on adapting in everyday life a set of behavioural habits and guidelines some of which have been outlined below. By doing so, there is a good chance that we will succeed in our quest for happiness!

Some of the guidelines have a direct bearing on happiness, like for instance laughing. But indirect things are also important like for instance going-in for regular health check-ups because any health scare in future would have a serious impact on your happiness at that time!




A neutral attitude towards persons whom you dislike

If you do not like a person, do not hate him or her. Instead, develop a 'neutral' attitude so that you would neither like or dislike the person. Do not communicate with the person, do not talk about the person and do not look at the person if paths cross. He or she simply does not exist for you.

Accept help

Accept that you cannot always do everything on your own. Accept support and help from others when you need it.

Achieve mindfulness

When you are mindful you are fully aware and conscious of the present. You acknowledge and accept the emotions, feelings and thoughts being experienced by your mind at the given time, without being positively or negatively judgmental. Being mindful helps us to better understand our thoughts and feelings.

Adopt a pet

Pets give unconditional love. Playing with a pet is a calming experience. The enthusiasm and happiness that the pet displays is a great mood-lifter.

Aim for a minimum of 7 hour sleep

A contended night of sleep is followed by a happy and fulfilling day. Sleep also holds the key for good health and longevity. At least half-an-hour before going to bed, calm the mind by switching off brain stimulators like smartphones, TV etc.

Aim for a work-life balance

Ensure a proper work-life balance by separating 'work' and 'life'. Concentrate on work during working hours and give it all that you have. After work-hours devote time solely for lifestye, entertainment, family, friends and personal matters. By this, you will have best of both worlds: Success as well as happiness!

Always plan ahead

Most of the time, we postpone things to the last minute and then become panicky. Plan and undertake chores in advance. For instance, if you are planning a trip, pack things 2 or 3 days in advance. Clothes to be worn tomorrow can be ironed and kept ready tonight.

Attack anxiety

Attacks of anxiety, depression, distress, panic and fear may strike you at any time caused by imaginary reasons or real reasons like worrying about future. At that moment stop whatever you are doing, remove all thoughts from your mind, close eyes, breathe deeply and relax until you feel better.

Avoid being judgemental

None of us have any right to be judgemental about others. Respect the privacy of others and allow them to live life as they want to, without you feeling superior or otherwise about it.

Avoid being temperamental, even under provocation

When you get angry, your psyche gets traumatized. If possible, keep your temper in check, even under provocation and try to resolve the situation by conciliation.

Avoid processed foods and junk foods

By avoiding processed foods and junk food, in the future you are assured of freedom from many life-threatening diseases like heart disease, cancer and the like.

Be financially secure

Diligently save money and invest it judiciously during your working years, so that you have a 'nest egg' to take care of expenses after retirement. Being financially secure is akin to buying mental peace.

Be grateful and show gratitude

We think all the time about what we do not have, whereas we should be grateful to the Almighty for the love, beauty, abundance and blessings already in our life. Also, we need to show gratitude to people who have helped us.

Be open-minded

Fulfillment in life can come in many ways. Be open-minded to spot alternatives when they appear in respect of career, partner or lifestyle. By choosing an alternative, you may achieve the same extent of fulfillment.

Be optimistic

The glass which is half-filled would be viewed as half-full by an optimist and half-empty by a pessimist. Being optimistic will spur you to achieve. With optimism, half the battle is already won.

Be spiritual

Even if you are not religiously inclined, do develop a spiritual orientation. Being a spiritual person is synonymous with being a person whose highest priority is to be loving to himself or herself and others. A spiritual person cares about people, animals and the planet.

Become an expert in your domain

Gain deep expertise in your chosen career field so that you are able to make continuous progress in your career, to reach the pinnacle. With the expertise at your command you also have the option of launching a startup as an entrepreneur.

Breathe easy

To calm the mind, breathe in slowly and deeply, hold the breath for a few moments and then exhale slowly.

Change your surroundings

For a real change in surroundings, you need to shift another city. Many have done so and have made a new beginning with new friends and environment. Even in your present residence you can make small changes in the decor once in a while so that you feel that the surroundings have changed. However, nothing beats having fresh flowers every day at home!

Conserve your nervous energy

Nervous energy is the result of stress, anxiety, restlessness etc. It is a wasteful energy that makes a person feel depleted. An introvert when called to act as an extrovert expends nervous energy. Conserve your nervous energy by acting naturally and avoiding stress and anxiety.

Control your addictions

Stress and pressures cause people to seek solace in smoking, drinking and other pleasures. But those pleasures turn into addictions if habit is continued even when stress or pressures no longer exist. Control your addictions before it is too late.

Develop patience

Patience is a virtue that pays off always. Do not be in a rush or hurry to do things the moment you think of them. Matters can wait a little while giving you time to consider all angles.

Do not be beset by guilt or shame

We all make mistakes but that does not make us bad people, per se. Forgive yourself, accept yourself and remember that your actions are not what you are.

Do not be scared of moving out of your comfort zone

We feel comfortable and secure in our current situation, but this can lead to stagnation in career and lifestyle. Since this is a dynamic world, accept that you would have to move out of our comfort zone sometime.

Do not blame circumstances

Circumstances will exist at all times, there is no point in blaming them. Success and therefore happiness lies in ignoring circumstances and working towards your dreams and goals, no matter what.

Do not clutter things at home or workplace

Organise your things neatly, tidily and at the appropriate places. Organising involves doing a few simple things every day to feel happier at home or workplace.

Do not compromise your self-worth

Realise the self-worth of your personality. Know that your objective is to grow into an authentic self, to love more and to cherish each day as it comes. Your self-worth is far more valuable than your assets or money.

Do not get embroiled in negativity

Negativity will be a dominant emotion in your mental make-up if you constantly focus on your problems, struggles and worries. You need to break-out from the vicious circle. Start thinking in positive terms in order to get positive results.

Do not give advice unless asked

Unsolicited advice is never liked. If you genuinely feel that the person needs it, present the advice diplomatically, without being overt and cut-and-dry. Also note that the millennial digital generation thinks that it knows all the answers and most of the time, they actually do.

Do not go to bed too late

The old-time adage 'Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise' is valid in this age and time too. Sleep by 11 pm and wake up at 7 am to face the new day fresh and refreshed!

Do not hold back tears if you are very sad

Crying is cathartic and you will feel much better after you let tears flow. Sadness will then be bearable.

Do not hold on to hatred and resentment

By holding on to resentment or hatred towards someone else, you cause negativity to build up within you with consequent loss of peace of mind. Remember that thoughts of hatred damage you and not the offending person. This is valid even if you were the victim.

Do not postpone your dreams

We put off our dreams waiting for the perfect time but years keep passing by relentlessly in the meantime. The perfect moment may remain forever elusive. Take the plunge and build your parachute on the way down.

Do not put your happiness on hold

We think that we can put our happiness on hold until the day we have wealth or until we achieve certain goals set by us. Do note that while we await the 'pot at the end of rainbow', time moves on and by the time we achieve our goals we would have aged and wasted our prime years. Learn to be happy today with what you have and enjoy life's journey

Do not react instantly

Many a marriage has broken down because caustic words were exchanged on-the-spot. Remember that words once uttered cannot be erased ever. Wait for half-an-hour and you will realise that the response you thought up earlier, would have been a big mistake if uttered.

Do not worry about the future

Worrying about the future can only make you despondent. Instead, take a positive attitude and plan for the future so far as finances, health, career, family are concerned.

Do something silly for a change

To loosen up, do something silly with your siblings or friends such as playing like children, making a prank or practical joke or any other weird crazy thing.

Do something you are afraid or unsure of

Do something which entails a risk like making a career change or taking up a new activity. A challenge is always exciting and if success results, that will be icing on the cake.

Don't be a motormouth

Jabbering non-stop as a motormouth is not going to endear you to anyone. Be communicative but not to the extent of becoming a pain to others. Nobody wants your non-stop comments about each and everything under the sun. Remember that content matters.

Drink 3 litres of water in a day

Drink 3 litres of water a day to flush-out toxins in the body so that urinary and gastrointestinal systems stay fine. However, do not drink the entire quantity in one go but spread it over the day.

Eat balanced meals

Eat balanced and healthy diet containing whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts and seeds, while curtailing consumption of milk, sugar, oil, refined flours, fats and meat.

Eat dark chocolate

Cocoa and dark chocolate are rich in antioxidants which promote good health. Also, nibbling on chocolate leads to pleasant and happy feelings.

Exercise or play for the adrenaline rush

Exercising or playing a invigourating game charges you physically and mentally. Exercise lifts your mood, helps you to sleep better, gives you more energy and combats feelings of depression.

Expectations and disappointments

You are disappointed when expectations are unfulfilled for tangibles like physical goods or intangibles like love or respect. If expectations are not built-up in the first instance, even minor positive happenings will cause rejoicing.

Feel-good factor can combat stress

When stressed, recall any positive experience that you have had in the past. That will act as a feel-good factor and dispel the "blues" caused by stress.

Find some ‘me’ time

Whether you are single or with family, spare some time solely for yourself to do things that you truly love. It can even be being alone in solitude.

Give back to society

Give back to society through philanthropy, volunteering or social service. Do it quietly, without publicity.

Give someone you love a hug

A warm embrace to a person you love will make you happy and relaxed. The recipient of the hug is equally overjoyed. Not to mention of the camaraderie exchanged.

Give top priority to happiness

Happiness is about appreciating the journey, rather than worrying about the destination. Always give priority to happiness over anything else, by appreciating the present moments and times.

Give yourself a belly rub

Massaging belly at gastric point can alleviate stress. Using two fingers each on either side of the belly button, carry out gentle massaging for a while to fell the relief.

Give yourself a treat

Reward yourself by going to that much-anticipated movie or play. Or pamper yourself in a spa. Your self-esteem gets an instant boost!

Giving, instead of receiving

The pleasure in giving is far more than in receiving. It could be a gift or a donation.

Go for regular medical check-ups

Go in for annual medical check-ups so that if anything is wrong, it can be attended to at the initial stage itself. Also, the ‘All Clear’ medical report is a real mood-booster.

Go outdoors and watch the world go by

Outdoors, with the sun and fresh air, boost the mood. Pursue an outdoor sport or take up gardening or go for a walk or simply sit in park and watch simple things like kids playing. Even elderly who are too infirm to go out, can sit in the porch or balcony and watch the world go by.

Hang out with funny people

Some people are always jovial, lively and funny. It is enjoyable to spend time with such persons. their cheer will rub off on you and lift your mood. Choose friends who have a good sense of humour.

Happiness lies in small things

Happiness lies in small things which bring smiles to our lips like like seeing wild flowers by the roadside, listening to a street vendor singing etc. In our quest for bigger things, we ignore the small joys of everyday living.

Help someone who is in need

Helping someone needy leads to genuine happiness. It could be something simple like helping a disabled person to cross the street or volunteering to teach street urchins in the neighbourhood.

Hum a tune

Humming a catchy tune while on a walk or while in the bathroom or while you have nothing else to do gives you a pleasant feeling and blocks racing thoughts.

Humble, not egoistical

Being humble does not mean feeling inferior. Being humble is actually a reflection of deep values. On the other hand, ego leads to wrong decisions and bad relationships. An egoistical person is easily bruised by life's events and other people's opinions.

Identify your strengths to love yourself

now your talents, abilities and strong points. Remind yourself about them and you will realize your self-worth. Learn to love yourself

Join a social group

People who feel a string sense of belonging to a social group are much happier than those who are not.

Know yourself

Know yourself well so that you know about your motivations. Learn to love yourself. Setting priorities right and being mindful of the time you spend with others is a mark of a self-loving person.

Laugh a lot

Probably there is nothing greater than laughter to relieve stress and make you happy. Unfortunately, in today's times our self-consciousness prevents us from laughing too much, particularly while outdoors. Ignore all that and laugh without hesitation. The most satisfying laughter is the one triggered by something, but even otherwise you can laugh for the heck of it, as is done in laughter clubs.

Learn to be selfish

Do not be sacrificial about your own physical and emotional needs. First ensure your happiness and then think about making others happy.

Learn to cook at least one dish

Cooking is a great stress-buster. Also you get the feeling of having achieved something. If you are an expert cook, create a signature dish. If you are a novice, learn to make at least one dish.

Learn to relax

Set aside at least 15 minutes every day to relax by doing nothing or by listening to music or by watching TV etc.

Learn to say no

If you are habituated to say ‘Yes’ to every demand of others, you are likely to get overwhelmed. Also, you may be unable to fulfill every commitment. Learn to say no.

Let bygones be bygones

Forget the past, with all its regrets and disappointments. Forgive people who have hurt you. And do not forget to forgive yourself for past mistakes, real or perceived.

Lie down in ‘shavasana’ pose

In Shavasana or 'corpse pose', you lie down on the floor with all limbs loosened. The only awareness is that of the chest and abdomen rising and falling with each deep breath. Your body relaxes, mind calms down and stress is released.

Live by your own rules

Be true to yourself and live by your own rules and principles. That is far more important than conforming to social norms or succumbing to pressure from family and friends to meet their expectations.

Live for the present

In big ways or small ways, life is an amazing experience. Do not miss out on experiences, by being attentive to your thoughts and emotions.

Love your family

One of the key elements for lasting happiness is genuine love towards your spouse and kids. Contended family-life is the sheet anchor to cope with tumultuous lifestyle of today.

Make a list of all your achievements

All of us have achievements to our credit, in professional and personal life. List them out so that you can feel proud on what you have achieved. If you feel that the achievements are few, you will be spurred to gear up.

Meditate daily

Set aside a few minutes every day to meditate. Find a comfortable seat, close eyes, start breathing deeply and try to keep mind as vacant as possible. If thoughts intrude, put an emotional distance between you and your thoughts.

Meet your friends

Meet your old-time friends and acquaintances to relive the happy and nostalgic memories of the years gone by.

Nap at mid-day

If you can, have a half-an-hour nap or snooze sometime after lunch. You will find yourself invigorated to tackle the second half of the day and evening. Research reveals that the nap gives time to body to repair heart muscle damaged by stress in the forenoon.

Never miss breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives you energy to start a new day and helps you concentrate and perform during the day. Other benefits include heart health, weight control, control of blood sugar etc.

No not indulge in a dissolute & footloose lifestyle

Lead a worthy lifestyle by avoiding gambling, drugs, immorality, corruption and depravity. Do not party all the time and waste your life.

Nurture your relationships

Relationships need nurturing, else they fail. Spare time to your spouse, kids, relatives and friends. Do not forget to greet on birthdays and anniversaries.

Pamper yourself

Indulge yourself in a salon or a spa or go in for an ayurvedic massage, all of which release the tension built-up in your body. Or you can just stay at home and have a luxurious bath or watch a movie or read a book.

Plant a tree, help it grow

Plant a sapling and nurture it. Your joy will be indescribable when you see it bear fruits or flowers.

Prioritize things

Give priority to things which make you happy and fulfilled as well as things that advance our dreams. Do not waste disproportionate time and energy on matters that are insignificant.

Pursue a hobby

Be it stamp collecting, painting, listening to music, photography or gardening, pursue a hobby in your spare time or on weekends.

Remain detached

Remaining detached doesn't mean being disconnected. We can be fully immersed in matters but yet remain a little detached. Despite our best efforts when the outcome is not as expected, detachment helps us to accept the outcome without any anguish.

Remain engaged even after retirement

Even after retirement, maintain the tempo of life by waking up early, dressing up, going out for walks, meeting friends and participating in events. Take up a hobby, sign-up for volunteer work or accept part-time employment or honourary work. You have retired from your career but not from happy living!

Remind yourself that things change

Every day is a new one and you need to be patient. Your situation would not remain unchanged for long.

Save enough to buy the thing you dream about

Shopping is always thrilling and especially something that we covet like an expensive watch or a painting for the living room or a designer necklace. Save a little every month and on the day of purchase, you will be on cloud nine!

See beyond success and failure

Success or failure are but milestones on the tumultuous journey of life. Give your best shot to any endeavour and do not get distressed if failure is the outcome. In fact, failures provide the right learning for future successes.

Set goals for yourself

Set goals for yourself in respect of your career, future, lifestyle etc and develop plans to achieve the goals.

Share your worries

Share your anxiety with someone close to you for emotional support, so that you do not have to cope with the worries on your own.

Sit up straight, in the correct posture

Posture can affect the mood. If you sit slouching with shoulders drooping, you will feel sad. Conversely, sitting straight and pulling shoulders back make you feel better and happy.

Smell something nice

To relax, sniff some calming oils like basil, anise or chamomile. Even perfumes achieve the same purpose.

Smile at and love yourself

Stand in front of a mirror every morning, smile and say 'I love you (your name)'. You want others to love and accept yourself. Before that happens you need to love yourself first.

Smile at people, it’s infectious

Smile at people if the context is right. You will feel elated and so shall be the recipient of your smile who will reciprocate in kind.

Solve brain teasers

Solving crosswords, tackling brain teasers and playing intelligent games trigger blood flow to brain, thereby slowing down mental decay.

Speak when anxious

Speaking is sharing. Anxiety diminishes when you speak to someone to share your anxiety.

Spend time with your pet

A pet’s love is unconditional. Play with your pet or take your pet for a walk. You’ll feel great in no time!

Spread cheer and laughter

As the adage goes ‘Laugh and the world laughs with you’. Your happiness gets compounded when you make others cheerful and happy.

Start work on your dream project

Your dream project may be something big like a startup or something small like writing a blog. Irrespective of what it is, do not procrastinate for even one more day, but get on with it!

Stop comparing yourself with others

Mark Twain once said 'Comparison is the death of joy'. Don't compare yourself to others or your joys and status with the joys and status of others. Remember that things are different and diversity & contrast make life interesting.

Take a break

When pressure becomes too much, get away from it all and take a break. You will be back rejuvenated.

Take a digital detox

Your laptop, smartphone and tablet have taken over your life. Stay away from these an hour in a day or a day in a week. Try remaining 'incommunicado' to the world while on a vacation!

Take care of your parents

Your parents who are the cause of your existence need your emotional as well as financial support during their old age and especially when they are ill and bed-ridden. Taking care of them will give you peace and joy.

Tap into your creativity

Each of us have natural abilities and talents of which we may not even be aware of. Discover your creative talent and make it your passion: Be it gardening, cooking, playing guitar or anything else.

The 20-20-20 rule

You may be spending a long time daily watching a computer screen daily at work or at leisure. To combat eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for just 20 seconds.

There's nothing you need to prove to the world

Too many times you are bogged down trying to meet the expectations of your family, relatives, friends and the world at large. And your happiness is the casualty. There's nothing you need to prove to the world and that too at the cost of your happiness.

Travel to the exotic destinations

Nothing can beat the unforgettable memories and experiences that a tour offers. It can be a domestic or international trip, but try to go on vacation every year if you can afford it.

Try colouring and origami

Colouring geometric patterns and origami (the art of folding paper into shapes) are hobbies which are relaxing and calming. These activities calm the part of brain relating to anxiety, while simultaneously stimulating the part of brain relating to creativity.

Watch a funny movie or TV show or a standup comedy

Instead of watching the melodramatic family soap operas on TV, watch a funny movie or a TV show. Alternately, attend a standup comedy show and laugh your heart out.

Watch someone else laugh

Laughing is contagious and the quickest way to laugh is to watch someone laughing loudly. Watch online videos of people laughing and have a hearty laugh yourself.

When you are stressed ...

When stressed, pause and ask yourself "Why exactly am I stressed?". Find out the exact cause for stress and tackle the same.

Worrying does not help

Your situation does not change whether you worry or not. In that case, why worry at all? In fact, by worrying you are worsening your mental state. Instead, try to improve the situation by hoping for the best, making all-out efforts and accepting the outcome.

Your partner is also human

Your husband, wife or partner is as human as yourself with varying moods and emotions just like yourself. He or she can be as cranky or impossible at times, just like yourself. Take it easy and wait the mood to improve, which will happen sooner than you expected.

Your social media life

Stop comparing your social media life with that of others. Do not fall in the trap of putting on social media everything that you do. And expecting your social media friends to ‘like’ you all the time. Social media glory is fickle and short-lived.