Happiness 101: An Amateur’s Guide

Can Money buy happiness? The decades-old question has always been a hot-topic, but in todays world, the debate is more sizzling than ever before.

My artsy friend’s Instagram is dedicated to proving that, no, money has no bearing on happiness; while my finance bro’s ‘gram differs. He says to me (and he swears by his stocks), “Bro, just go to the nearest Zara store, and you will know money can buy happiness.” Well, as for me, I’m stuck between the social and personal dilemma. A substantial balance reflecting in your bank account doesn’t feel so bad. But does that feeling last?

The entire process of feeling happy is complex. The brain releases hormones such as dopamine and serotonin to make us feel whole. Knowingly or unknowingly, we get this high from myriad sources and, understandably so, we have deemed “being happy” as the universal currency for moving forward in life. But what propels the genesis of this joy?

Happiness can come from sipping coffee at your favourite café on a chilly monsoon evening with the people closest to you, probably fangirling about Taylor Swift’s latest release. It comes from jamming to the rock band you have revered as your religion since high school; speakers blasting in the car on your ride back from work. The giddy, childlike excitement of sprinting from one building to another to avoid the downpour, and when you reach, a gush of youthful energy that makes you feel alive.

Joy comes from that two-hour long late-night video call you had with your chums, separated only by distance, and the 8am class next morning that doesn’t seem daunting at all, because your heart is so content. You rush to the eatery to grab your daily breakfast, when youre ambushed by a teary-eyed dog wagging its tail like it’s known you for years. You feed him a packet of biscuits, and he does a little dance as a show of gratitude. Your day is made.

The chocolate cake mix has been lying neglected on the kitchen counter for a long time. One fine evening, you make up your mind to finally conquer the recipe. Fuelled by your newfound ardour, you toil away mixing and baking, and guess what? The cake comes out as soft as butter! You have the first bite, and its sweetness fills you from within. Having created something from scratch, your joy knows no bounds. Happiness can also come from reconnecting with your long-lost friend on a chance occasion, a possibility you never anticipated. You relive the good old days, and chuckle as you realise that all theevents of the past that seemed vital then seem so fickle now. You’re happy you’ve grown, youre proud of how far youve come.

I don’t think happiness can be chased. It’s like the far end of a rainbow. Those who try it, realise it’s utterly futile to do so. You’ll see people around you engineer life events and go to great extents to “ensure” that they feel happy at the end of it; be it the quintessential college reunion in Goa or the picture-perfect, aesthetically pleasant wedding. But more often than not, we get so caught up in doctoring the perfect experience that we forget why we started at all. Ultimately, it becomes exactly like an assignmentsomething that needs to be ticked off an illusory list. Or, if you’re (un)lucky enough, you’ll lend your ear to their ‘post-event’ outburst (read: unwritten best friend duties) because they’re absolutely done with handling everyone’s quirks and whims.

RememberNot everything has to be a hustle. Ah yes, I’d like to differ from the influencers (you know who) for whom daily living is “hustling.”

All of us have had hobbies in our childhoods. Now is the time to cultivate them. You did not waste your time if you painted a landscape from a saved Pinterest photo. If you sit back and take a moment to admire your creation, it will probably hit you why you were a happy kid in school.

What’s the point of a six-digit pay package if all you do is fake smile at your coworkers on the daily Zoom call, and your cheekbones give up as the day draws to a close? Multiple degrees at the end of your name do not come with a complimentary happiness package. Therefore, it is your own responsibility to unravel the secret to cheerful living.

Take a break, do something that bolsters you with bliss, and thereafter, work towards a dream where you can stay happy. The pursuit of happiness is not a tough nut to crack. It is right there, in the little things around you, and they’re waiting for you to discover them. I promise you, you just need the right mix of materials and human relationships to ensure that when your bestie next asks you, “Are you happy though?”, you gleam and say yes.


Written by Oishik Roy for MTTN 

Edited by Ishita Sharma for MTTN 

Featured Image by Hana Augustine 

Artwork by PeijinsArt

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