“Happy (Adjective): Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment”
Definitions of happiness centre around feeling or showing pleasure and/or contentment with oneself. A quick Google also defines happy and happiness as feeling fortunate. But even with these definitions, happiness and being happy is still one of the most ambiguous terms in the dictionary. It means so many things to so many different people.
“Happiness (noun): A state of well-being characterised by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”
Just typing in the word happiness into the internet throws up hundreds of different images all portraying different situations and scenarios. Related words include: Freedom, Friends, Success, Smile, Love, Happy, Joy, Family, Smiling and Person. So, to a computer algorithm, these are all the terms that are similar to my search for happiness and quite possibly other terms people use in their search for a picture that represents happiness.
It’s fair to say that the words associated with happiness and its meanings are multiple. To a computer…
To a human, it’s not so black and white. Not so straightforward. Happiness in our minds seems to be a lot more complicated to understand. A lot harder to define.
I’d like to think I’m a pretty positive person. Pretty laid back and generally quite happy. It’s not really been an easy journey to change my mindset and I used to be quite shy and reserved in my younger days. But the last few years have allowed me to mellow with age and grow. There’s been a change from the Nabeel of university to the Nabeel of now.
“Gratitude is the essence of happiness”
That’s a firm belief of mine. Ever looked at your life and thought that “I can’t believe I don’t have this” or “when I have this it will make me happier” I know I have.
Uno reverse card!
The skill of flipping your mindset from what you wish you had to focusing on what you do have is a powerful tool. It’s a tool I’ve used quite a few times over the past few years to help change my mindset. Spend some time thinking about what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. See what impact it has on you.
But Marc made me realise something. In Town Hall on Tuesday we sat and were asked to write down three things that we were grateful for happening to us the day before.
My mind went blank. I couldn’t think of anything. Fuck!. What happened yesterday?! What did I do? Nothing was coming to mind. It was pretty humbling for someone who tends to pride himself on his ability to see the positive or is able to mine for the nugget of gold in each interaction.
I couldn’t think of one specific thing I was grateful for. I could be broad and say something like “being able to get a lift to the train station” or “the train being delayed” but those occurrences could happen on any given day. My realisation has been that I’m out of practice. Before I started school I used to keep a journal. Every night I’d empty my thoughts from the day and get it all out onto paper. I’d ask myself a series of questions that served as a reminder of the values I wanted to take into the day to day. And being able to highlight specific things I was grateful for over the course of the day was a big part of that.
I’m ashamed to say that recently that habit has fallen away. The notebook I used to write my thoughts down has been gathering dust on a shelf. The date of my last entry is getting longer and longer. I’m not sure why I stopped, maybe I started prioritising the wrong things in the evenings but it’s a habit that I want to pick up again and definitely a part of developing a night time routine which will be beneficial in the long run.
Like a muscle or any skill the more i do it and the more i’m mindful of things that are happening throughout the day the easier it will be. So I guess this SCAB will serve as a reminder. I’m putting it out into the89 world to help keep me accountable. Next time you see me make sure you ask me if i’m writing in my journal and ask me what i’m grateful for.
(Hi mum! Thanks for reading this one! What’s for tea?)