‘Here’s a little song I wrote.. You might want to sing it note for note, don’t worry.. be happy!’ This is the opening line of the famous song by Bobby McFerrin back in the 1980s called ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ Now more than ever, people should heed the words of this song.
The times we live in are stressful indeed, but when stress begins to control us, it can lead to fatal consequences. We have all heard about the things that are bad for us – smoking, drinking, obesity, etc. but the real killer is stress. The bad news is that we live in a world full of stress. But the good news is that stress can be managed. When we realise this, we can take control of our lives and overcome the stress. How?
‘Don’t worry, be happy!’
Happiness is a hidden gem that often remains hidden. But yet, the irony is that it can be achieved rather easily if we change our approach and attitude towards life.
Always remember that worrying never solves anything. If there is something that is in our control, we can control it. If not in our control, then worrying will not make any difference. So in either case, don’t worry!
There are many ways that we can make adjustments in our lives – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that can lead to us being happy.
Let’s start with breathing. Breathing is something that we all do without really noticing it. As you read this article, you are breathing. Notice it. Feel the air coming through your nostrils, feel it going into your lungs and be aware of it as it is exhaled. Simply focusing on your breathing is relaxing and regularly doing this is perhaps the easiest form of meditation. It reduces stress and will make you more centred in your thoughts.
Exercising is also a great way to reduce stress and make you happy. One can start with taking a daily walk for minimum 30 minutes. While you are doing this, try to think of something pleasant or funny. Try not to think about work or other stresses while walking. Going to a gym and exercising is also great and remember that you can start with lighter exercises. The feeling you get after exercising is the reward itself. Generally, one feels very relaxed and happier after a workout.
Browse the Internet and read something that interests you. There is a whole world of information and knowledge that is waiting to be discovered. Read something online or watch some interesting videos on YouTube. Watch something funny on TV. Humour is a great stress reliever and puts things into perspective. Life is not meant to be always serious and humour is a great way to remind yourself about the balance needed in life.
Read books. Take out the time to read a good book. It will teach you something and at the same time, it will transport your mind into another world of sorts. Imagination and wonder is a great way to be happy and reduce stress.
Writing is also a great way to relieve stress. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to write an article or a book (although that would be great) even just jotting down your thoughts in a notebook or writing a diary is a great way to let out vented up stress and energy and express yourself. You never know what comes out of you when you write. Every bestseller began with a single word.
In our daily relationships, there are good days and bad days. Sometimes we have fights, arguments, and disagreements with people whom we love. Sometimes we suffer from breakups, separation or divorce. These situations can lead to major emotional trauma and stress.
But the good news is – don’t worry be happy! Believe it or not, you are the only one person responsible for your own happiness. We tend to become emotionally dependent on others. We have this feeling that we can only be happy if we are with so and so. Be it a spouse, a friend, a child, a parent, a sibling, etc. But this is false. This is only a mental construct. We are the only ones responsible for our own happiness. In order to do this, we must become friends with our selves. We must love ourselves. This is not a selfish kind of love. It is not saying that we don’t love others, but it is saying that we love ourselves just as we love others.
So, in case there is a breakup or an argument or a fight, etc. we will also be content with having our own self to keep us company. This might seem funny, but try it. If you are alone or feeling lonely, talk to yourself and not just random babbling, but have an actual conversation with yourself. Trust me, in time you will feel the stress and loneliness melt away and happiness will flow towards you.
Watching a nice movie, play or reading a good book can also lead to an emotional charge that will not only entertain you, but also teach you some new perspective about life. It will help you to get rid of emotional stress.
‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.’ – Pierre Teilhard De Chardin
We are spiritual beings currently on planet earth to learn, explore and grow. The sooner we realise this, the soon happiness will come.
Meditation and charity are great ways to develop spiritually and as this happens, stress is bound to be relieved and happiness is sure to come.
Meditating increases our awareness and leads to a state of bliss that relaxes us and decreases stress and also gives us a glimpse into a larger peaceful world of energy and love. There is a field of spiritual energy that surrounds us and binds us. Meditation helps us gain access to this field. Soon we realise that we are on a spiritual journey and the only thing we take with us back to our spiritual home after we leave our bodies is our thoughts, feelings and karma. Not one paisa or square millimetre of land! If we only strive for material things, we are wasting our time. Material things are important, but as a means to an end and not the end itself.
In the end, all is good.
So once again, don’t worry, be happy!
(Published in Double Helical Magazine September 2017)