All of us at any given point in time are pursuing one sole objective, Happiness!
“If I score high grades in the exam, I will be happy”
“If I can get selected to that stream, I will be happy”
“If I crack that Entrance Examination, I will be happy”
“If I get a job offer from that Multinational Company, I will be happy”
However, the question remains, even after achieving our aspirations, are we happy today? Why does this quest continue?
If we tackle this question purely from an economics perspective and treat ‘happiness’ as a commodity, it may best be explained in the words of Alfred Marshall – Human wants are unlimited; the moment one desire is fulfilled, another pops up. Hence the mind remains always in pursuit.
Though this somewhat explains this infinite pursuit lasting a lifetime, yet things are tad bit simpler and the answer lies within us. It lies within our minds!
To elaborate on the above statement I would like to take you to the early ages of human evolution when the environs were not this comfortable – they never were – where-in early man had to work really hard for food and it definitely wasn’t a trip to the supermarket as it is reduced to today. Resources were scarce, health care wasn’t exactly a word and natural predators aplenty, unfortunately, our brains weren’t that developed then and there was very little we could do to safeguard against these elements.
As a result, our brain developed a response mechanism to these threats and wired itself completely on this life-saving process, “fight or flight” where-in if I were to face a lesser or equivalent opponent – fight – and if they were a stronger one, look ‘left’ then ‘right’ and run. So, we used to be always in a state of readiness where the mind was anticipating an existential crisis at any moment and continuously calculating the most effective response in the face of such a situation which in those ages was a definite reality.
Although the brain evolved many folds, yet even being in the most comfortable age of recorded history it forgot to unplug this primitive – fight or flight – mindset. In the absence of any real danger, it manifests threats that may endanger our survival and pushes the consciousness to take countermeasures. Hence, we worry about situations that are a product of our own thoughts and mostly unfounded.
So, what is it we can do about it?
First, we need to relax. Yes, it is that simple.
- Then recollect all the situations in our lives which we thought to be an existential crisis or let us call it code-red
- Recollect those code reds and think about how we emerged out of it.
- Life will continue present challenges and we can only defeat those when they are presented
- we cannot spend our lives worrying in anticipation of impending code reds
- ‘When the bridge comes, I will cross it. Wouldn’t think about it today nor will I think about it tomorrow’
Whenever the brain races any negative thoughts, immediately find a way to distract it. I personally use a technique to pinch myself, this slight pain breaks the thought build-up and I then use this to re-focus in the present. This has allowed me to improve my thought orientation, allowing me to handle my tasks efficiently and not waste time procrastinating thus ensuring I don’t face code reds in futures.
To close this blog I will re-iterate that life will continue to throw ‘code reds’ and trust me we all are experienced enough to handle those at ease, only we waste a lot of today thinking about tomorrow and creating a dark cloud of worry in our minds that takes the happiness away.
This was only one of the many aspects that I wanted to approach this topic with, and I will cover more avenues in future blogs. In the meanwhile, I would love to hear your views and suggestions, you may write to me at email@example.com
To handle the commercial aspect of this venture I have set-up a website www.freemind.live in case you have arrived at this blog from somewhere, not my website, please take some time to visit and I am confident you will find something that might interest you, and once you do please write to me about your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org