Choosing Happy

Hello everyone and Happy 11.11.11! It’s been a busy couple of months since my last post and I enjoyed a much-needed break with a trip to London, my favourite city in the world and a place I’m proud to call home. I’ve had some time to ponder on life and success and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions. 1. The best measure of success is Happiness, not money or flash cars or trophy partners.

2. Happiness is a decision.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Hang on a sec I can hear you say – happiness is not a decision, it’s how I feel when something good happens. True enough, however I put it to you that you can choose how you respond to whatever is going on, good, bad or ugly. Being happy takes first of all a decision to be happy, no matter what. What is happiness anyway? It’s a feeling, a state of mind and being. “An active or passive state of pleasure or pleasurable satisfaction” says one dictionary. It’s also transient – happiness is not like a university degree that once you have it, you always have it like a PhD. You are happy or not in the moment. And I’m saying you can choose to be happy or not in the moment, by deciding to be (or not to be).

I’ve had a chance to practice this over the last year, which has probably been the toughest in my life in many ways. I’ve chosen to be in Delhi to support my family, dealt with massive changes in my career, family and life overall and have had to contend with many players and factors, mostly out of my control. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dabbled in misery a lot, but on the whole I prefer being happy so I’ve tried to focus on what’s good and what’s positive in all the situations I am faced with. And guess what, there is a LOT that’s good, if I only choose to see it.

What’s worked for me is firstly intending to be happy, no matter what. This is because intellectually I know that being in a happy and positive state is better for me because I can think more clearly, it’s better for my health (adrenaline and stress hormones are bad for my body) and frankly because it feels a lot better than being miserable!

Secondly I keep asking myself the question “What’s good about this?” and listing down all the answers even if they seem really small. What’s good about being in Delhi is I get to spend quality time with my mom, I get to hang out with 6 gorgeous dogs, I can watch a lot of cricket, the weathers nice mostly, the food is amazing, I have some fabulous friends here, my laundry gets done for me and so does the cleaning, cooking, ironing and the dishes!

Thirdly I make a list of all thats good in my life in general and what I appreciate about it and about being me. Quickly – I am healthy, free, young, smart, relatively well off compared to the millions in India who are not, I live in a nice house in a good neighbourhood, I have a lovely flat in London, I have amazing, wonderful friends, I have a caring family, I have lots of time to read and and and.

Fourthly, I remind myself that this too shall pass. All situations are temporary. All of them. This is not the rest of my life and focusing on that fact helps me to stay centred and happy and take steps towards the rest of my life and what I want to do and who I want to be going forward. It helps me to stay focused on the solutions rather than giving into the overwhelm of the problems.

Fifth, I try and stay in the moment and enjoy the little moments. Like playing ball with my dogs, like reading a good book, like listening to my favourite songs, like watching an incredible session of test cricket, like sharing time with my friends, like meditating, like a glass of single malt with my mum, like feeling the winter sun on my back and knowing it’s freezing in London, like a delicious meal, like a good cup of masala chai…

So I’ve come to believe being happy is about focus. It’s about focusing on what is good in the moment rather than what is not so desirable, it’s focusing on the future rather than the unpleasant bits of the now, it’s about noticing the little pleasures and savouring them, it’s about being thankful for all I have and all I am when so many have so little, it’s knowing that I can shift my perspective whenever I decide to, one thought at a time. I can choose to think a happier thought rather than a glum one.

A sub-text to this – only you can make you happy, not someone or something outside of you.

I love this quote by Abraham-Hicks which says it all really – ‎”A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they’re so busy trying to get a happy life.”

Be happy people!

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6 Responses to Choosing Happy
  1. Ines
    November 13, 2011 | 9:56 am

    Thank you for this post. It is so true – but sometimes I forget… Thank you for reminding me.

  2. Isabel Prieto
    November 14, 2011 | 10:59 am

    HiPiya, thanks for sharing this article. I really enjoyed it. It’s sooo true! My best wishes.

  3. Arantxa
    November 15, 2011 | 11:30 am

    Thank for sharing these experiences, Piya. I’m with you, circumstances are there, we can’t do much about them, what we can do is chosing how we want to live them. And you are a great example, to enlighten us!!!
    Love, my angel.

  4. Denise
    November 17, 2011 | 1:50 am

    Hello Piya,
    Here’s to happiness! Before I put my feet on the ground in the morning I start with gratitude, as you stated, what I appreciate. Always works.

  5. Purobi
    March 10, 2012 | 6:28 pm

    Hey Piya,
    Meet another happy person, no not Happy Singh, there are too many of those around.
    Great article, I enjoyed going thru it.
    I of course leraned happiness the hard way- The art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama, though reading can’t do it all- I find I have an intrinsic optimistic, helpful and non- envious bent of mind.
    Hope to read more of ur posts, Piya.
    Hv a great weekend!

  6. Kuhelika
    March 17, 2012 | 9:36 pm

    Thanx Piya….this has been the tonic for my flagging spirits today….keep posting

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