HYDERABAD: March 20 is International Day of Happiness and we find out if happiness can really be chased like a goal at all and if it can actually be measured to understand if or not we are happy, according to the worldly standards
It was March 20, yesterday. What’s the big deal, you may ask. Well, it was the International Day of Happiness. In the midst of World Kidney Day, Mother’s Day, Women’s Day and Laywer’s Day, it is indeed a happy thing that someone thought of dedicating a day to happiness, an emotion we chase almost our entire life. Says Henna Sharma, a Happiness Coach (certified by international coach federation), “The International Day of Happiness is a fairly new concept in India.
Many institutions and organisations have started doing programs to bring awareness through workshops, meditation retreats and laughter yoga sessions. I have witnessed a lot of openness in people over the last few years towards this topic from schools embracing the curriculum to organisations willing to build happy work places.”How does one measure happiness? We all think it is subjective, but is there a scientific way to measure this? “Happiness is “a continuous state of well-being and contentment.” This emotional state is arguably different for everyone.
At the same time, we all know the physical effects of happiness; when we smile and laugh is a natural sign of glee. A simple way is to ask yourself how happy you are at the current state of your life? It’s the response you get when asking, “Taking all things into account, how fulfilled are you with your life these days on a scale of 0 to 10? Zero means completely unhappy, and 10 means totally happy.” Based on the score you can choose to live the same way or learn to improve your life.
Henna has an assessment test with 35 questions that can determine happiness (Available on hopeandhappinesscoach.com). Henna who conducts multiple workshops in Hyderabad every year quips, “Although many people believe that genetics play an important role in happiness (around 40%) but its too late for us to change our parents now (laughs!!) so the next best way is to have an intent and develop a mindset that helps you to stay happy.”
“When I started talking about happiness in corporate world a decade back, they were not inclined towards this topic. They were more focused on productivity and results. In the last 10 years, major corporations have slowly understood the importance of mental wellness and productivity. Many organisations now are connecting how mental and emotional instability is actually affecting their bottom line and even medical expenses.
Many organisations across the world have started focusing on their employees wellness. I know one senior head of an MNC called as Chief Fun Officer and his job is to keep uplifting the morale and happyness of the team,” says Murali Sundaram, a happyness coach based in Chennai. “For many, Money is still the happiness index currently and they keep chasing this a lot in their life. People are ready to compromise their self-happiness and toil their body and mind. The awareness shift is happening, but slowly,” he adds.
On how to measure happiness, Murali says, “Happyness can be measured subjectively as money in bank, higher awareness, high quality relationships, trust, influencing power, better health, feel-good factor etc. It is highly subjective, but it can be measured scientifically in today’s technological world. There is one unique location in our brain called pre-frontal cortex and there are many medical studies connecting this area of our brain to our happiness index. I use a simple tool of collecting the number of breaths (how many and how deep), heart rate and brain coherence using a software and hardware.
I have tested more than 25,000 professionals and what I found was something interesting. Successful and Happy people have an average breathing rate of eight breaths per minute and heart rate around 60 beats per minute. At this rate, their brain processes information faster and better. This helps them to stay calm, mind is poised, composed and thereby emotionally stable. When your mind becomes poised, you can become aware of how your emotions going up and down. If you cannot measure using technologically, the easier method is by assessing your emotions and feelings once in a while. Take a pause and ask yourself “What or How was I feeling last one hour” - If its positive, then you can assume that most of the time your body and mind was happy,” he elaborates.
Murali helps entrepreneurs, professionals and CEOs on how they can become more productive, stress-free, emotionally stable by amalgamating Indian Yogic Science, neuro-science and management science. He is known for his one-day workshops (details on UnlimitedHappyness.com). So far he has taught these practices to more than 75,000 students in 10 different countries. His mantra to stay happy? Breathe less, (but deep), expect less and accept everyone. First job in life is to find out our purpose and second is to live that life.
International Day of Happiness
It was conceptualised by Jayme Illien, CEO of the United Nations New World Order project, in 2006 to advance happiness as a fundamental human right for all human beings, and happytalism, as new economic system, theory, and philosophy, which achieves the United Nations global goals, and the happiness, well-being, and freedom of all life on earth.
UN’s 10 steps to happiness
Step 1: Tell Everyone
Step 2: Do What Makes You Happy
Step 3: Give and Spread Happiness
Step 4: Celebrate a Happiness
Step 5: Share Happiness on Social Media
Step 6: Promote the UN ‘Happiness Resolutions
Step 7: Read and Share the World Happiness Reports
Step 8: Advance the UN’s Global Goals
Step 9: Become a Global Partner & Ambassador
Step 10: Adopt and Spread Happytalism