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  • Writer's pictureRupangana Gupta

Pursuit of Happiness: the Journey to Finding Inner Peace

Happiness - is it the the feeling of your pulse in your throat as you keep going higher on the porch swing?

the feeling of warmth in a cup of coffee?

the glance of a loved one?

the lightness and brightness of the shining sun?

a wave that comes and goes?

a mirage that is always out of our reach? or a quiet rhythm that continues throughout our existence?


Simply put, the concept of happiness has fascinated humanity for centuries - scholars, philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists and so on have led umpteen research studies on this subject. The concept of happiness seems incredibly simple to some and exceptionally complicated to some. 

In this confusing confounding time, happiness becomes an even more challenging pursuit.


Personally, a quote that particularly struck me when I came across it sometime ago was

“If you always think happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.” ~ Robert Holden”.

It made me deeply think about how I can really be happy in the now, in this moment. 

For me I found happiness to be interlinked with having clarity on the person I aspire to become, my sense of the kind of life I want to lead and my outlook to whatever life throws at me. 

These are a few things that have really helped me build that. 


Finding your peace

Peace, as in the case of happiness, may not mean a specific thing in a measurable sense. I started finding my own peace in doing things I love - being around people who make me feel like the best version of myself, in embracing the quiet rhythms of daily existence


Self growth and sense of purpose

Oftentimes what can really help us along our journey is a clear sense of either the destination or who we want to be at the end of the destination. I really pondered over this question 

Ultimately, when I look back at my life, what kind of life I want to have lived?

A sense of purpose can give you a sense of direction in which you wish to move forward.  To me, being able to make a difference in the world and being a compassionate person is important.  So taking small steps towards that gives me a lot of happiness and satisfaction. 


A page from my Gratitude Journal. Source: Rupangana Gupta


Gratitude

We often forget to take a moment to reflect and be grateful for what we have in our lives. It can help us in numerous ways, it can help us be more positive in stressful situations, it can help us see the larger picture, it can help us build better relationships with people around us and contribute to our overall sense of wellbeing. Making a gratitude journal could be a useful method to remind yourself to practice gratitude on an everyday basis.

Here is mine!






Taking responsibility

Humans are social beings and therefore, it’s natural for social interactions to hold significance in our lives. But what I realized was that ultimately we are responsible for our own happiness and fulfillment. I shifted my focus from the external scenarios that were beyond my control in terms of people around me, opportunities, etc, and started focusing on my mindset and way of responding to such situations. 

This helped me to push myself in a direction of happiness and self growth. 


Mindset

I read a very powerful book talking about how our perception is such an enabler of growth and happiness in life. Let's look at it this way. There are two people-  Person A and B and for some reason on a particular day their lives mirror each other. 


They both get to work late.

Person A thinks that it is such an awful start to the day and the rest of the day is bound to be awful.

Person B on the other hand reminds herself that whilst being late today wasn't a great thing it is something she would work on in the future. 


Both of them have to stand in a long cue while getting in the lunch cafeteria

Person A is to grows irritable by the minute and thinks about how awful his life is. 

Person B uses this as an opportunity to chat with people working in the office and send a text to her loved ones. 


While on their way back from work both encounter traffic

Person A claims that his entire day was terrible, and it's still not over.

Person B understands the unpleasantness of the scenario, and makes the best of it by playing music in the car. 


Both face the exact same situations, yet the difference in their attitude makes such a big change in how their day goes. 


Living in the present

Oftentimes we are stuck in a goal oriented mindset or a 'go go go mentality.'


  • When we are eating breakfast, we think of the time it will take us to reach school or college or work.

  • When we are in the car we think about the work that is due tomorrow.

  • When we reach school or college we think about what we will do once we get back home or what's for lunch in the cafeteria.


This may not be a bad thing but it can also be extremely useful to remind ourselves to enjoy the process and the journey of reaching our goals, taking a moment to fully live it. Whilst If we are eating than actually eating, slowly taking in each bite, taking in the aroma of the food, experiencing the distinct flavors it has, and how it's nourishing us. As in the words of ZNMD(my personal favorite movie), “How magical would it be to be truly alive to each and every moment of our lives.” 


A sense of community

Our individual growth really aids personal happiness but our environment, the people around us, our community and the belief system of the society also plays a pivotal role in this. Creating a community which works to ensure the overall contentment and quality of life of its citizens is therefore extremely important.


For example, the people of the Netherlands, who are in the top 10 happiest countries, show us the power of GEZELLIGHEID- a feeling of warmth from connection. The word beautifully captures the essence of so many social interactions. The fact that it is important to them also shows how important strong bonds and relationships are to them, a fact that scientists also link to happiness.


The idea of happiness is of course very subjective to each and every individual. It can also be seen from various perspectives. Through the course of this article I wanted to share the different habits, mindsets and changes I have incorporated and continue to include in my life to become a happier version of myself. If you feel that this might help you even in the slightest in your journey, I would feel incredibly honored.


Written by Rupangana Gupta





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