They are right when they say happiness is just a state of mind. And yet I do feel agitated, anxious, stressed, sad and unhappy at times, over the years I have figured out six things that keep me in my default happy status –

  1. First and foremost is good health. If I have bad health, I stop being myself, I stop enjoying anything that goes around me. Any ailment, however trivial, deducts from my happiness. So I work hard on staying healthy – as much as I can. Bad health is also a waste of time… already in our short lifespan.
  2. Second is, being able to earn. Working and mainly earning for myself gives me a sense of pride, joy, and confidence. I saw a shift in my personality after I finished my masters and started earning. I have seen this happening with other people as well, shy and introvertish people start walking with an erect spine as soon as they start earning.
  3. Money, in general, does provide happiness because it provides for your basic comforts, for recreation—travel, holidays, hobbies or in time of ill-health. A couple of years ago there was an article based on research conducted by Princeton University – on how much money one needs to earn to be happy and the magic number was 75,000$ per year (for the USA). I guess the number would vary for people living in different states/cities and also the number of dependents in the house etc. Money has a dangerous and unhappy side to it if it turns into greed.
  4. The fourth is definitely family, friends, and people, being around them makes me happy. Companionship, camaraderie, socializing is rejuvenating, but at the same time, I stay away from the negative people as it robs me of my peace of mind.

5. The fifth is hobbies. I feel a void, big dent in my life if for some reason I am not able to spend time on stuff that I like to do, be it reading, writing, painting, dancing, biking or being with nature.

I feel going to clubs or parties every single weekend, gossiping, criticizing, watching TV constantly, or just being a lazy bum is a criminal waste of time. Social service and such also provides happiness. Basically, it’s important to concentrate on something that keeps you occupied meaningfully.

6. And last but not least is sunshine… Places like Seattle – which are constantly cloudy – are not meant for me. I felt low, gloomy and depressed in Seattle. I see a whole new shift in my mood and energy since I moved to the Bay Area. I feel back to my own self.

Old Navy Dress

Old Navy Dress