People have pursued the Holy Grail, the philosopher’s stone, and the origins of life. And in this week’s episode of The Chopra Well’s Spiritual Solutions, we investigate another quintessential mystery: What is the secret to happiness?
In an earlier episode, Deepak Chopra responded to a similar inquiry: Does true happiness exist? He explained that striving for happiness and fulfillment is an ongoing process – really a life journey. I have noticed that my own process entails exercising conscious decision-making. I make minor tweaks as I go, constantly learning from experiences that came before.
But is there one single most important ingredient to happiness? Turns out, according to Deepak, that making someone else happy is what provides the strongest, most immediate boost to our own sense of fulfillment. There is ample research to support this claim. Happy people donate more money to charity than rich people do. Giving a gift is more satisfactory than receiving one. Being ‘neighborly’ and kind translates to being happy.
You can be happy right now by making someone else happy. Follow the three A’s: Attention, Appreciation, and Affection. First, listen to the person and give them your full attention. Next, notice and identify a strength of theirs, and verbalize the trait you appreciate. Finally, communicate your affection for them. Even if you think they already know or it seems unnecessary, it never hurts to reach out and let someone know you care.
This should be a relatively simple, straightforward prescription. But many, myself included, find it difficult to actually reach out to someone. Why is it so hard to say “I love you” or to ask someone if they need a hand? I think a heightened awareness of “awkwardness” is what gets in our way. God forbid we should appear strange, uncoordinated, or overly emotive. Better to stay ‘over here’ where we are safe and contained, than to attempt to connect with someone and risk feeling awkward.
But perhaps there is a way to move beyond this fear. Perhaps we can find a way to truly revel in the joy that comes from reaching out and expressing love and kindness to others. Coincidentally, this week’s episode of Chopra Centered, another show on The Chopra Well, explores the path to emotional freedom. Can you be happy while feeling afraid or awkward? Perhaps. But imagine the great depths of joy and satisfaction that come from feeling connected to others, feeling compassionate and full of purpose. According to Deepak, this is the true key to happiness. It’s a good reminder to act with compassion, rather than out of self-consciousness.
Start today, and try to do something kind every day thereafter. Call a friend to tell them you love them. Bring flowers into your office. Or better yet, think up your own quirky, unique acts of kindness and share your ideas in the comments section below! The more we work to generate love and a neighborly attitude, the stronger our communities will be and the happier we’ll feel as a result.
Grab a copy of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription by Deepak Chopra
Check out The Chopra Center, for spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing
For inspiration, check out Deepak’s forum on Twitter, #behappymakehappy.
Visit Positively Positive, an online community that strives to spread an overall message of unity, support, and inspiration.
Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more spiritual solutions. Share the love, and be happy.