The Big H. Happiness. (Trying to start something here with the Big H thing)
Happiness seems to be on our minds constantly. We are always trying to “get it”.
I am trying to “get it” too, so I started thinking about what would make me truly happy? Not just here in the dunya with my family, friends, lifestyle and work but also in the akhira, The Big A (too much?), our eternal happiness inshaallah. And not just in the fleeting sense of happiness either, I want the real stuff that lasts over time and gives me fulfillment all the areas of my life.
We all know very well that “things” or as our fancier friends would say “material possessions” don’t get us true happiness. You might feel a flush of pleasure for a few moments, but it will fade fast and the “thing” that you were looking to for happiness, has let you down…again.
There has to be another way to “get it”. And there is.
Science, research, history and Islam has taught us, time and time and time again, about happiness and that finding happiness is unlocked by certain habits.
“Happiness is a habit – cultivate it.”
1. Be thankful to Allah
No surprise here people. I know what you are thinking, “Maheen I say alhumdulilah after I sneeze. I express my gratefulness when I get my paycheck, and my happiness is the same as always blah blah blah”. But I am not talking about the spontaneous bursts of thankfulness, which is awesome so keep going with it, I am saying BE GRATEFUL seriously. Set time aside for it specifically and think deeply.
How Maheen does it: Every night after Isha I set a timer for 5 mins and I lay back and just think about specific events that happened that day that I am grateful to Allah for and say Alhumdulilah (Praise is to Allah), looking at my day with a kind of almost child like wonder.
2. Be busy
Opposed to being rushed. Being rushed puts you in the fast lane to being miserable and interestingly doing noting at all also leaves you feeling gloomy too. As Gregory Ciotti says “the porridge is just right when you are living a productive life at a comfortable pace”.
Get your porridge just right with your schedule, cut out “busy work” and unnecessary commitments that are making you feel frantic and on edge. Fill your time with work that is high scale and important to you.
3. Keep close with your kin
Some say nurture 5 close relationships But I don’t think the number is as important as the effort and time you put into these relationships with your close family and friends. Having these close relations brings favor into your life with rizq, not to mention you have other people to be happy and share experiences with.
How Maheen does it: I try to continually question how I am interacting with people closest to me, especially my parents. When was the last time I sent an “I love you” text to my mum or dad? When was the last time I bought gifts for my siblings, relatives and friends out of the blue? When was the last time I had a decent conversation with my dad that wasn’t about the cricket or work?
Lol, no you didn’t read that wrong. There is no getting around it, we need to exercise regularly and stay fit in order increase our happiness.
It will make you feel better if you stick with it. When you become more active your body perception improves, you feel the lasting high from endorphins, you also have more energy to pursue your goals, you are healthier and inshallah it will help to keep sickness at bay. Our bodies and minds are an amanah, a trust from Allah, and we need to do right by them. All this equals more smiles and you are definitely going to be more happy.
Plus there is most definitely an exercise out these to suit just about everyone. Discover it.
5. Spend more money on experiences
Happy people just tend to spend more of their money on experiences rather then physical items. Experiences can be relived and are more long lasting, they leave a bigger impression and and stay on our mind for greater lengths of time.
Spending on experiences also gets you involved with other people as well! Greater exposure to situations that are so different to what you are use to. Challenging your thoughts and how you see things. Opportunities for growth.
6. Don’t ignore your dreams
This one is a biggie in achieving The Big H. If Allah (swt) gives you opportunity and means to pursue your dreams and you opt for sticking to what is comfortable, your normal routine or a robotic life style it could lead to the thing…one of my greatest fears…regret.
Regret eats happiness up.
Inshaallah I never want to experience the dread of regret and know that I could have done more or been more and I know you feel the same. So go after those big dreams of yours and live life fulfilled.
How Maheen does it: I sat down and started to think seriously about what my dreams were and how I could prevent myself from living a life of unfulfillment and instead live one that was true to myself, on my terms and aligned with my exciting goals in life. I began making more deliberate decisions about where I wanted to go and with my work and education, they were hard to make, at times uncomfortable, and against the norm, but it was necessary for me to go after my big dreams.
“When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.” – Bronnie Ware, Hospice Nurse on the Top 5 regrets of dying people.
7. Surround yourself with happy people
You are the sum of the closest people around you! Get rid of the negative nancies in your life and bring those who enrich you and bring out the best in you.
Naturally we imitate the people we interact with the most and even pick up their habits! You want to be happier? Spend more time with those who “have it”.
So how about it?
Let me know your thoughts on the habits below.