Happiness is often described as the ultimate goal of journey of human life. Happiness in this context is defined as the feeling of joy, satisfaction, and contentment. This is more of an emotional feeling and mental construct. This is a result of positive attitude and sense of optimism of looking at life. Why it becomes important is that life is full of both the moments of happiness and sorrows. While we often tend to be joyous at times of cheerfulness, the testing time comes during our period of distress / grief. A person with a positive attitude often cuts down the trying times into as small as possible and moves forward with anticipation of happiness in future.
The axiom of life then becomes a journey that goes on and a successful person tries to make the best use of it being happy and contented at every juncture of life. To overcome stressful moments of life and restart the journey with anticipation of happiness is what makes our journey meaningful.
It is in this context happiness becomes an extremely meaningful concept not only as the end result but also as a guiding principle of life.
Applicability for Senior Citizens:
Happiness is an extremely important and relevant concept for elderly. Falling health, declining mental agility, reducing societal importance, increasing anxiety all contribute towards a difficult life for elderly people. They feel helpless and this often leads to sadness. To remain happy and to lead life meaningfully with happiness becomes challenging for many seniors. The word happy aging has to be appreciated in this context. Seniors need to understand that old age is a reality of life in terms chronology of numbers but life has to be enjoyed with a sense of contentment & happiness. And therefore, the relevance of happiness is very true for senior citizens.
Three (3) Dimensions of Happiness:
There are three (3) aspects of happiness and all of them are inter-dependent concepts. These include:
1. Being Happy: First and most important aspect is that elderly should feel happy. They must have a philosophical perspective of life and enjoy every moment of life, small or big with a sense of happiness. Look at the child: it laughs at everything and enjoys life. Elderly should imbibe this childlike quality of being happy at all moments of life. You need a strong positive attitude, optimist thinking and childlike curiosity to be happy in life.
2. Think Happy: The second aspect is that one must always think happy. Being happy will automatically come if one thinks happy. Thinking is mainly outcome of mental faculty. The mind, therefore, should be trained to always see positive aspect of any event and create happy feelings out of it. Mental exercises, mediation, reading good stories, interacting with good friends / colleagues always create a positive mental vibe that enable an individual to think positive and happy.
3. Act Happy: And finally, an elderly must always act happy. What it means is that an elderly should engage in those acts that will create happiness. Engaging actively with younger generation, helping needy people, doing social service, acts of gratitude, pursuing actively the passion that excite them, are some acts of happiness that the elderly should engage in. These will keep them happy by being involved in some activities / passion they like.
The three (3) principles stated above i.e. being happy, thinking happy and acting happy are interdependent concepts. If you think you are happy, you can feel to be happy. And involving in acts of happiness can make you think and feel happy. Happy people thus follow the three (3) principles congruently: they act happy (involve in acts that provide happiness), think happy (mentally perceive to be happy) and finally be happy (an existence of happy state of mind).
Steps to Build Three (3) Principles of Happiness:
Some possible strategies include:
1. Build a positive attitude with positive thinking process
2. Run away from negative thoughts
3. Always be optimist
4. Remember your happy memories of the past
5. Think good about you and others
6. Believe in Law of Karma (good outcome with good inputs)
7. Have faith in the larger good of the Universe
8. Engage in activities that keep you meangfully busy, agile, engaged and happy
9. Be in the company of happy people
The overall principle is that one should always feel, think and act in the matters that stimulate happiness.
Developing childlike curiosity and happiness is the key to a long and happy life. Happiness does not mean that you will be rejoicing or laughing loudly at every moment of life. Happiness means the contentedness to take life in its own stride, understanding its tide and ebbs in the right perspective and be in calm state of mind despite the turbulence outside. It should be remembered that life is a journey to be led with a sense of fulfilment.