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The Happiness Connection

Suicides by two hugely popular public figures- Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain- within three days of each other.

One a fashion designer and business woman par excellence and another a famous cook, TV personality.

There have been many others before them. Though I knew just a thing or two about them the news about Robin William's suicide was heartbreaking for me. I remember thinking how could someone who laughed so much and made people laugh, do that. While there is so much being written in the social media about mental health in light of these two suicides I was stuck by a particular post in part on Ariana Huffington's Instagram feed. It is a Repost of a tweet by editor Elaine Welteroth and says:

..... And in your death we are reminded once again that there is simply no correlation between happiness and success.

How true is that! We have no idea about what makes us happy. It is easy to confuse happiness with material things, isn't it? Getting a Kate Spade bag any day would make you happy won't it? But what I think we need to analyse is would that be a means of lasting happiness.

I have seen happiness evaporate. I have felt happy a moment and despondent the other. I know what losing sight of happiness means. My children who are the source of joy in my life make me happy in a moment with their hugs and in another they suck out any happiness or joy I have been feeling because their behaviour does not match my expectations. Same is true for my husband and others around me. Are you agreeing with me here?

Well don't.

I don't think the onus for making me happy is on anybody. It rests with me. When I consciously take charge of my well being- physical and mental, I have felt happy. When I consume a book, a fruit or a movie without being on an auto pilot I have felt happy. I have felt as if I got something out of those experiences. Something that becomes a part of me and which when recalled will light up a dark corner of my spirit like a firefly.

Some say happiness is like a butterfly. the more you chase after it the more it is difficult to capture.What the learned ones probably are trying to tell us is PAUSE.

 I conclude from the many things that I have read about him since the news of his death that this is what Bourdain recommended. HIGHLY.

So this is a reminder to me and anyone else reading this piece-

  • PAUSE when you feel something is making you unhappy, uncomfortable, stretched beyond your capacity. Find a firefly to shine a bit of light on you.
  • Loosen the grip- of the gadgets that demand attention before a human being; of feelings that incite anger, fury and wrath; of emotions that are negative, leave a black taste in your mouth or people in guise of friends and well-wishers who make you think that you are not enough as you are.
  • Put some sort of distance between the place, person and source of unhappiness. Physical distance. Move away. Go to the next room. Breathe. 
  • Sit down. Just sit still
  • Maybe sometimes the thoughts wash over you as you would let the water from the ocean wash your feet at the beach.
  • Think- about good times, of what all you have instead of what you don't have or probably don't see/ realise at the moment.



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