“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Quite often, our mind is flooded with a stream of negative emotions because of things as minute as waiting in a long queue, a top that just won’t fit, or even receiving a ‘K’ from a friend. Yes, we have all been there! These situations clutter our mind with pesky thoughts that get in our way of feeling cheerful and contented, and so no matter what happens right after, we feel vexatious for the rest of the day. I find myself getting infuriated or simply sad over the tiniest of things from time to time. But I’m beginning to realise that even in a face of affliction, it is possible to bring a smile and cultivate happiness again.
Some of the everyday things that annoy us, are actually quite easy to solve. For example, whenever I have a small argument with one of my friends, I often explode with anger and exasperation for the rest of the day. But after a while we realise that it just requires a little bit of maturity to resolve and be in good terms again. We could go on feeling resentful about it, but we’ll soon realise that winning a friendship/relationship is far more important than winning an argument.
As for other things, they just happen to be unsolvable. They might be irritating but there is nothing we can do about them. For example, the traffic on the road. There is no point in wasting our time worrying about it because releasing our frustration never makes the cars move faster (as much as I wish it could!).
Moreover, very few of us live our lives in absolute isolation. We all have families, friends, and loved ones with whom we interact with on a daily basis. So, if we’re happy, then it’s likely to mean that they’ll feel happier too. Through our own emotions, we actually generate a feeling on many others around us. So despite how common it is for us humans to feel annoyed and get bent out of shape from time to time, we can always reprogram this by controlling our negative thoughts and finding our happy state that is within our own grasp.
I personally feel that meditation and breathing practices undoubtedly open our doors to finding this internal happiness. Neuroscientist Sara Lazar’s studies show that maintaining a consistent meditation practice leads to a thickening in a few major areas of the brain, that increases our ability to cope with the uncomfortable and stressful tribulations that life often throws. Yet another study shows that meditation shrinks a particular portion of our brain called the “amygdala.” This is the section of our mind that controls fear and anxiety. So the smaller that gets, the happier we become as a whole. Another thing that entices me to meditation, is that when we meditate, we are not trying to get rid of any thoughts. Whatever it is that we feel, we let the thoughts in, and we let the thoughts out, until our mind instinctively enters a state of tranquility.
So even though we often stumble across infernal situations, we should remember that it’s our natural state to feel happy. We are all programmed to feel happiness as the norm, but it’s the little things in life that get in our way and alter our programming for the worst. Therefore, it’s in our hands to foster the contentment, and most importantly, retrieving the most intrinsically important state of the mind- happiness.
Also, happy Valentine’s Day!