March 20th 2022 is World Happiness Day. The last time 222222 came, there were crazy sales everywhere. Does shopping bring happiness? What about food? Buying food is just a click away; Grab app asks us “what are we craving for today?” and we searched forice cream. After we ate the ice cream, we still didn’t feel happy.
I will be happy when….
I get a job
I start a business
I have kids
I make more money, am able to shop without worrying
I lose weight / Gain weight
I look more attractive like…
When you finally check out the item you wanted so much, how much does your happiness change? How long does it last?
So, is it true? Does the list above make us happy?
Dr Gilbert, the author of Stumbling in Happiness explains that our prefrontal cortex acts as a simulator where we imagine experiences before it happens for real. Based on that simulator experience, we make decisions. We virtually experience seeing the product and using it. Thus, we make decisions fast.
Let’s talk about ice cream since we always reward our good and bad experiences with ice cream.
Baskin Robbins has at least 31 flavours of ice cream. But they don’t have Garlic Ice Cream, not because they tested it and decided its yuck. But the ice cream makers can imagine how yucky the ice cream will be without making it.
Dan Gilbert, a social psychologist, did research on Impact Bias, he found out that we often miscalculate situations that will make us happy or sad. His research showed extreme inescapable situations often trigger a response from our brain that increases positivity and happiness. This effect works in a similar way for extremely positive events.
In a very famous study published by researchers at Northwestern University in 1978 it was discovered that the happiness levels of paraplegics and lottery winners were essentially the same within a year after the event occurred. You read that correctly. One person won a life-changing sum of money and another person lost the use of their limbs and within one year the two people were equally happy.
My dad’s life dream is to win the lottery, I wish he knew this so he can focus on other things 🙂
Yesterday, it was Full Moon day. I am normally mentally prepared as children are proven to be more sensitive and irritable and find it more difficult to settle.
I picked up Vaishnavi early from school to attend a prayer in my aunt’s place. When I ran through the list of people who will be there, I missed the priest. That was the first trigger point when she entered the house. She felt rushed and unheard as I rushed her to bathe and change. She was just a ticking bomb waiting to explode.
And yes, it happened. Everything that happened after that triggered her. I wasn’t proud of how I responded as well. I was trying to help her out but was not able to focus and be there for her. During bedtime, she talked about something else that happened in school rather than this. I was disappointed, I felt like I did prepare her for the day but it was a ruckus.
Our perspective of what Happiness is causes disappointments. We see “happy mothers” on social media and we feel disappointed when we are not one and blame it on our children. We become bitter.
So what is Happiness?
We have a tendency to focus on the thing that changes and forget about the things that don’t change. This is my list
Spouse/children’s hugs and smiles. And even their smell. I miss the baby smell…
Eating a tasty home cooked meal
Reading a book in the morning
Sharing knowledge with the kids on EQ
Reminding the kids in the studio how special they are and their strength
Reading a book with funny noises
These are 6 Neuroscience proven happiness booster
Feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine and it can also boost serotonin
Tell family and friends and show appreciation. Stop to admire. Write your list
Research shows that consciously recognizing your emotions reduces their impact on your thoughts and behaviour
Journal, Meditate, Pause before responding, Talk it out during bedtime
Empower yourself and others to make decisions
Stop procrastinating and go for it. Do not strive for perfection. It will overwhelm you.
Humans are inherently social. We need human touch and a support network.
Do more little things regularly rather than planning one big thing once in a while like a getaway. Lots of positive things allow you to rewire your brains daily.
Do a favourite activity daily. Have you watched your toddler select and do the same thing everyday? That’s a hobby. What’s yours? Give back to the community. Remember kindness is key to happiness.
Do anything you love like going for a walk, riding a bicycle, walking up and down the stairs, house chores, yoga, stretching.
There are so many options nowadays.
Today, we kick start our volunteer work with Haven Clothing to empower children in a home with EQ knowledge through Art and Craft. It makes our hearts grow and it makes us happy.