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Everyday Happiness
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Everyday Happiness

Happiness seems to be a big topic nowadays. We are all searching for it but there is no recipe or step by step instruction on how to achieve it.

For whatever reason, when I started to write this article, I decided to look up the suicidal statistics to see if there is any connection between living in an affluent country and committing suicide. Because my thought was that many times I have seen extremely happy and generous people in very poor countries.

According to Lifeline, a very successful help line in Australia, six people take their lives daily in Australia. The highest rate is in Russia, the second is my country of origin, Hungary, and USA, New Zealand and UK are all in the top countries. Another alarming number is that men four times more likely to commit suicide then women. Incredible numbers even to think about them. I believe that every life counts. Every single life is precious.

So my question is what don't we learn or get right in our lives to loose so many lives?

Just recently I read a fascinating article on the discovery by scientists that our good state of mind, happiness actually affects our genes. This was a study, first of its kind, when researchers examined the influence of positive psychology on our genetic expression.

Surprisingly, they came to the recognition that the happiness that comes from a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life influenced very positively our cells. Those people had very low levels of inflammation and strong antiviral gene expression.

People, who had high levels of happiness as a result of self-gratification that related to possessions and shopping were also happy but their results showed the opposite. They showed high levels of inflammation and low levels of antiviral gene expressions.

This just proves that while both types felt happy and did not feel any different, our human genome is much more sensitive to how we achieve our happiness! Doing good does you good! Or so it looks!

I think there is a period of time in everyone's life when money starts to come in and we engage in shopping, hunting and gathering and accumulating things. We build a life to ourselves and get what we always wanted. We get even more than our parents had. We, sometimes unintentionally, compete with our friends and family just to show them that we can! While our parents or grandparents would only buy what they could pay for, with the introduction of credit cards, we think our jobs will support us forever, our salary will increase all the time in our life time and our credit will increase according to that so we can buy, we can travel, we can have everything our hearts desire. But did we find happiness?

Around the same time we look for suitable partner and our social life is active and means a lot. Life is great! We feel on top of the world. However, finding a partner for life and maintaining a happy, long lasting relationship seems to be a challenge nowadays. One of the greatest reason of unhappiness, even suicide, especially for men is the breakdown of their relationships. In our 'throw away society' it is not taught how to fix and work at a relationship instead of walking away and finding a new partner. However many times the same problems pop up as they were in the previous relationship so it becomes a pattern and a string of broken relationships. A person needs to grow and develop to have a better relationship next time.

Very few people had the education, the family upbringing or the personal wisdom to look further down the road. Even fewer had the education, the upbringing or the mindset to be engaged in activities that deeply occupies the mind, the spirit and the heart, brings us satisfaction, purpose and happiness for a life time. Something that helps you grow as a person.

Because as they say, another person can't and won't make you happy, unless you are happy yourself. If you think, your partner will make you happy, your relationship has already failed.

That's why I am always worried about people who run from one relationship to the next without spending a little time alone figuring out what went wrong, who they are on their own, without a partner and make a life standing on their own feet first.

The other day I saw a great little picture. On the photo there was a very old lady playing the piano. The text said that when you are ninety, you probably won't be playing football, do gymnastics or dance hip hop but you still be able to play the piano!

I have a group of friends with whom we used to sing in a choir in Canberra. They are ten, some twenty years older than me. Bush walking and music and many other passion like quilting, bird watching, just to mention a few, have been the source of joy in their lives. This passion also brought them together with people of similar interests.

Just lately, being concerned about how much computer and electronic devices my students use, I started to put even more emphasis on music writing. I did this for many reasons. To engage them while sitting and waiting for their turn instead of playing on their parents' mobile phones and iPads which did not create a good working atmosphere for the person sitting at the piano and working. It is proven that writing music improves fine motor skills, concentration and assists normal writing and reading skills. I also wanted to show the parents that kids do enjoy doing certain tasks that most people thought kids would dislike. It is amazing, how quickly the kids got into writing and copying of music. They were quite vocal almost after the first or second lesson on how much they enjoy writing music. The parents almost dropped their jaw!

With these examples I just wanted to illustrate that when we are engaged and deeply immersed in activities, we find happiness and enjoy ourselves. When we find a worthwhile activity like sports, music, dancing, writing, reading, painting, making things, gardening, helping others or learning something, suddenly we find a deeper sense of purpose and enjoyment. Many of these activities are such that they can be pursued through lifetime. Some of these activities even make others happy, not just the person who does it.

There is only so much material things that we can accumulate in our lives. Relationships come and go in some cases. Our health sometimes brings challenges or fails. Our finances get tighter or there are periods of times when we just can't keep our lifestyle at the same level. Work is great and it is fantastic if you enjoy it but you are not your work. Children grow up and live their own lives. So what's left there after this all? What is there in your life that still keeps you going and brings joy in your life when things fall apart?

We have to figure out who we are and what our purpose is in this life.

I remember, there was a period of time in my life when I was so busy professionally that I just could not sit still with friends relax, enjoy a cup of coffee and my friends' company. The conversation around the table irritated me to death because I had 'more important, better things to do'. My mind was racing and still working. I was not present.

Since then, I have quit my job, set up my own businesses and found a much healthier work-life balance. Very strangely, now I can sit with friends and pay attention to the conversation, spend an hour admiring the sea, sky, clouds and birds. I even can meditate and turn my attention to myself, inside. Life has gained a very different meaning.

I have always been one of those people whom people described as 'happy' and 'content'. However, my happiness has risen to a very different level in the last twenty years.

I also know that I have found activities and developed new, creative passions that will keep me occupied in the future and will provide me with joy and happiness. If you ask me, the key is keeping an open mind and keep learning.

Finding purpose, setting new goals and working towards them, achieving inner peace and feeling good about yourself and others, who decided to travel the same journey as you, will put you on the right path on the way to find true happiness. It is hard to understand at certain times in our lives what it means when people say we are all one. But it is true. We all want similar things and we all search for happiness. Our cells have been created from the same particles. We all breathe the same air. However, happiness can only be found when we put our lives in the service of others.

Cheers, Piroska

Street Talk

Happiness does indeed involve purpose and meaning! Interesting that it goes to the cellular level, regarding inflammation - I had never heard that before.

  about 6 years ago
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