Let’s try a sim­ple route to be­ing joy­ful

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Leisure - SONAL KALRA Sonal Kalra has given kuchh zyada hi deep phi­los­o­phy this time. What should be her pun­ish­ment? Mail her at sonal.kalra@hin­dus­tan­ or on Face­book at face­ son­al­kalra13. Fol­low on Twit­ter at twit­­al­kalra On pop­ula

This world has two kinds of peo­ple, those who keep wait­ing for the right time to be happy, and those who… Chalo ji, ten­sion over. I thought with life be­ing so un­pre­dictable, who knows till when will I get an op­por­tu­nity to give you gyaan about calm-su­tra. Let us, in one stroke, fig­ure out the magic for­mula for hap­pi­ness. I can see that some of you have al­ready put the cyn­ics’ cap on, and are rolling your eyes on this 243567th at­tempt by a self­help writer to tell you how to be happy. I wish I could hu­mour your cyn­i­cism fur­ther by say­ing things like, ‘no one, but I, can teach you how to be happy’, but all that is bull­shit and you know it.

Calm­ness tips on how to be happy

Noth­ing I ever say in this col­umn is some­thing you don’t al­ready know. But you still read it, right? Please al­low me to share the steps I fol­lowed to drag my­self out of a phase where I was feel­ing a bit low and out of sync. Be­lieve me, these five steps work, no mat­ter what the na­ture or cause of your un­hap­pi­ness is. Be­cause my dearies, this for­mula fo­cuses on the so­lu­tion and not the prob­lem. In­stant sat­is­fac­tion guar­an­teed. Please send ` 1,000 by cash/cheque/ Bank DD (It had any­way started to sound like an ad to cure im­po­tency, so added that for ef­fect :)).

1 CHECK YOUR SUR­ROUND­INGS: Close your eyes (not now, Ein­stein, af­ter you fin­ish read­ing the col­umn) and think about the peo­ple you nor­mally spend your day in the com­pany of… col­leagues, boss, class­mates, Face­book friends. Ask your­self if you are spend­ing your days be­ing around peo­ple who are mostly happy. If the an­swer to that is no, please stand up. Bend your right leg back­wards and raise it till your foot reaches the right level.

Kick your­self in the a**. Heart pa­tients and preg­nant women, please ab­stain. Those who are plan­ning to write to me say­ing it’s im­pos­si­ble to kick your­self over ‘there’, please re­mem­ber that you will have to first ad­mit that you ac­tu­ally tried it.

Any­way, the point is this. Hap­pi­ness is an in­fec­tious trait. You have to be around pos­i­tive peo­ple to catch the right in­fec­tion. If you are wast­ing away your time in the com­pany of con­stant whin­ers and peo­ple who have noth­ing good to say about any­one or any­thing, you will, sooner or later, start to sound like them. Avoid. If you have to be phys­i­cally around them out of com­pul­sion, learn to switch off men­tally at the very mo­ment some­one starts to say some­thing neg­a­tive. Start think­ing about Rakhi Sawant say­ing she wants to marry Baba Ramdev, but re­mem­ber to nod at fre­quent in­ter­vals, with an ut­terly se­ri­ous ex­pres­sion, to not give it away.

2 TAKE THE JOYTEST: Ev­ery Fri­day evening, take a piece of pa­per and on one side, make a list of prob­lems you are go­ing through. (Note: if your list men­tions the word boyfriend/girl­friend more than twice, stand again and re­peat the ex­er­cise you did in step 1, you loser!). On the other side, make a list of things that gave you joy in the past week. Sim­ple plea­sures like shar­ing a cup of cof­fee with an old friend from school and remembering the crush you both had on the bi­ol­ogy teacher. Or indulging in that ex­tra help­ing of French fries you had when no one else was look­ing. Or wak­ing up to see that beau­ti­ful bird perched on your bal­cony at sunrise. For ev­ery two joys on your list, give your­self one mark. If the to­tal num­ber of joy­marks are more than the num­ber of prob­lems on your list, you have passed the joy test for the week. Treat your­self to some­thing you re­ally en­joy, on Satur­day. Make it a rule to do this for six months and you’ll start adding more joys to make ev­ery

Satur­day of your life mem­o­rable.

3 KILL THE ‘WHEN’ WORD: The big­gest rule in the hap­pi­ness for­mula is sim­ple — abhi nahi toh kabhi nahi. If you ever talk about be­ing happy in a sen­tence, which has the word ‘when’ at the end, you’re not get­ting it right. ‘I’ll be happy ‘when’ — I will — get good marks, get ad­mis­sion, get a job, be rich, lose weight, get mar­ried, have ba­bies, buy my dream car, get re­tired, blah, blah and blah.’ The mo­ment you use the word ‘when’, you put a con­di­tion on your hap­pi­ness. Since your mind is not your slave, it re­tal­i­ates by en­sur­ing that when you achieve any of these, the con­di­tion shifts to the next bench­mark. Kill the when. Right now.

4 TRY OUT SOME­THING CRAZY, AND NEW: If the first thought that came to your mind was ‘drugs’, I’m alarmed at what kind of weirdos read my col­umn. It is a sci­en­tif­i­cally proven fact that do­ing some­thing you’ve never done be­fore re­leases happy hor­mones in your body. I checked it in my own sta­teof-the-art lab­o­ra­tory. And no, you don’t have to now sud­denly think of bungee jump­ing or deep sea div­ing. Ek toh movies ne hamein bi­gaad diya hai. We don’t look at sim­pler things. How about spend­ing an en­tire day-out, just with your­self. Go, watch a movie alone, then head off to the mar­ket and gift your­self some­thing re­ally nice, get into a res­tau­rant and en­joy a lav­ish meal with a nice drink. For a lot of us, even that has never been tried be­fore. We are too busy putting riders on our own en­joy­ment. Give your­self a break.

5 IN­FECT OTH­ERS: If as per step 1, your hap­pi­ness rests on hav­ing happy peo­ple in your life, surely you also have to be one such per­son for those who have you in their lives. Last week, I hap­pened to be in­vited to a party where I did not re­ally know any­one from be­fore, ex­cept the host. I was ob­vi­ously wary of spend­ing much time in the com­pany of peo­ple I hadn’t met be­fore, and kept look­ing at my watch ev­ery five min­utes, till I got in­tro­duced to this group of women who were laugh­ing the loud­est. They turned out to be so full-of-life and happy that the next time I looked at my watch, it was 4am. Hap­pi­ness, as I said, is in­fec­tious. It would have been fairly easy for those women to have spent time crib­bing about jobs, kids, mother-in-laws, weight … but they chose to spend time laugh­ing and crack­ing jokes. If you spread laugh­ter, God fig­ures out a way to re­ward you by giv­ing more rea­sons to laugh of­ten. If you be­come the rea­son for some­one else fail­ing their joy-test, you are un­likely to pass yours for too long. Sim­ple.

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