Monday, January 16, 2012

In pursuit of happiness

(This post was written by me for Critical Thinkers)

To go by the words of Abraham Lincoln, "most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." 

These words find support in what the famous psychologist Richard Lazarus explained in his Cognitive Mediational Theory (1991). In this theory, Lazarus proposed that the most important aspect of any emotional experience is how the person interprets, or appraises the stimulus that causes the emotional reaction. in simple terms, the happy man is he, who thinks he is.

Nobody’s life is hunky-dory all the time.
Every person has to face trials and tribulations, go through difficult times. He indeed, is wise, who chooses to put on the glasses of optimism and faith and interprets the events of his life as positively as humanely possible.

Life, if you look at it this way, is not a race.
It is a hurdle race. You can’t question the presence of hurdles. They will be there, for that’s the nature of the sport.
If you bang your head on the hurdles and try to remove them out of your path, you going against the flow, attempting the illogical and the fruitless. Not just that,you are not putting your heart and soul to win the race, for your focus has actually slipped into some other territory. There is no way you are going to win in this manner.
If you lose your strength at the sight of a hurdle, and ask “why such things happen to me all the time, WHY ME?”, you yourself are delaying your victory.
Again, if you just sit there, waiting for the hurdle to disappear, you are only deceiving yourself.
Not just the best, but the only option you have is to jump over the hurdles, as and when they come, without creating any fuss.

It often helps if you are a person deeply connected to nature.
Feeling low? Well then go smell the flowers, let the breeze kiss your hair, leave your slippers on the porch and let your feet feel the moist grass, savour the delightful courtship dance of the butterflies, go out in the sun and let the blameless blue of the winter sky be your confidante, let the zephyr carry your message to that distant companion. Go, fall in love with nature.

Learn to appreciate the beauty that the mundane things of everyday life have to offer.
Just imagine life without the things you take the most for granted. You will know their value then.
Maintain a gratitude journal. list all those things, people and moments in it that had made you smile someday and that make your everyday life worth living. It can be your coffee mug, or a compliment your teacher paid you that fine day, anything. When you are low in spirits, just flip through its pages, and you will have a hundred and one things to be happy about.

It is often seen that people find it easy to forgive, but not to forget.
What we don’t understand is, forgiveness is incomplete in such a scenario. By repeating emotional episodes over and over in our mind, we inadvertently etch them in our memory. So, the key is to let go, to not think at all about anything unpleasant that we have been through.

Equally important is to first know ourselves.
It is always desirable to keep the doors of improvement open, but we also need to learn to distinguish between comments that are credible and that are not. If you have put on a white dress and a friend of yours with black sunglasses comes and tell you that the black dress you have worn does not look good on you, and on top of that, you get upset on hearing that…..well, to say the least, nothing can be more ridiculous.

Not to forget, nothing succeeds like success and the high one gets out of achievement is just unmatched.

Have a clearly defined goal, make sure it is challenging enough but realistic and put in every possible effort to achieve it.
If you are able to achieve it, well and fine. If not, you did not lose either, in the actual sense of the term, for in the process, you actually grew as a person and learnt things you not have, had you not been in pursuit of the goal. At least you will not be amongst those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

Last, but not the least, cultivate a taste for literature, for poetry.
It will be with you when nobody else is.

Go, live your days of happiness!!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My new year resolution for 2012

So, 2011 is gone. Now of course I couldn't do an year that has been on the 1st day of this year for 2011 as I had done for 2010 last year, but these 2 lines should suffice to describe my 2011:

Tremendous success. 

And tremendous emotional turbulence.

From being the topper of my college and the 3rd topper of the university in my subject to presenting my first research paper in a national conference where I drew much accolade, success was never too distant this past year. I finally gained some confidence in my writing, after winning the 1st prize in an inter college creative writing competition here in DU held at my college during our fest (in which I had the courage to participate only because it was in my own college and it didn't hurt if I spent 40 minutes writing something in a lecture hall with 30 others when I had nothing else to do but to roam around and scan the interesting milieu lol).
 As nothing follows success as more success does, I won another inter college creative writing contest and then finally started taking my blog seriously. I advertised it in various places (imagine my blog being 2 years old already and me knowing nothing about indiblogger! - check out my indiblogger profile here) and became more regular and was ranked as high as 76!(for those who are unaquainted with the ways of indiblogger- the higher the rank the better)

Meanwhile I also applied for a few online magazines and ended up becoming an author for the prestigious critical thinkers and writing one article for the upcoming ePICKme

Winning the inter college psychology quiz at our college and getting the 3rd position in the much bigger inter college psychology quiz at I.P college as well as winning two taboo contests with Chhavi added to my trophy cabinet and to my confidence in myself. 

Visiting DRDO on the valentine's day and being made to realise that I could be an intern at DIPR was another high(no not with boyfriend, with my professor rather). 

Of course, the biggest high came from the acceptance of my abstract for the NAOP conference and my experience there plus being university ranker in my very first year of graduation.

But none of this could give me lasting happiness. There was elation, a high, exhilaration. But not bliss.

In fact the emotional roller coaster that 2011 was, has made me wary of laughing too hard or shedding tears lest my soul fall apart with the pressure it has handled this past year. I have tried to touch the life of every Tom, Dick and Harry who has happened to cross my path, in my own way, to comfort the person, to shower plenty of good advice and long lists of must-read self help books. Yet, when it has came to myself, I have been more than careless.
Some may find it hard to believe this, those who know me in person as I am the inexpressive me. But those who really know me must also know that the calm exterior is actually a protective coat for the supersensitive interior. 

Spirituality was there of course, as my perennial comfort. But I kept jumping in and out of it, jumping in to find refuge and jumping out out of sheer negligence and over confidence.

So, this year I have only one resolution: attaining emotional stability, which means attaining the zen like serenity that nothing can affect, neither deafening applause nor scathing criticism, and most importantly, not just from outside but also from the inside.