How to be happy

When we crossed over from 2021 to 2022, I knew in my heart that this would be a year of change for me and for everybody who is willing to make an effort. I am happy to share that I have been accepted as a member of the ‘Positive Psychology Association of Kenya’. ‘Positive Psychology’ in a nutshell is the scientific study of well-being, what makes life worth living at an individual as well as social level. There are various branches of this like Positive Education that trains teachers & students in this science which is embedded in the principles of Hope, Resilience, Empathy, Character, Happiness, Gratitude, and Compassion. The terms could vary but essentially the bottom line is to focus on the well-being of an individual and our society as a whole.

So, when I met the chairman of the Association I was curious to know how this science is received in the developing world where the pressing concern is to end hunger & poverty. I mean how a society can focus on mental health when basics are lacking. He is a scholar and explained that any society does not thrive in a ‘either’ ‘or’ scenario, there is no choice to be made between ending hunger or implementing positive psychology in the developing world because they must go hand in hand otherwise when the money flows in inevitably, the state of affairs of such a society will be disastrous because there would be a lack of character or gratitude to channel it all in the right direction. And we all know that Resilience is indeed required to go through life challenges. He also explained that in countries where the happiness quotient is high, it is so because economists and psychologists work together at the government level.

In the meantime as the world scholars conduct research in this field and train individuals (deep thinkers like me and many others who care), I come across the tiny diary of my 9 year old boy where I find that he has written a piece on ‘How to get Happiness’ and this is his take: “If you don’t have happiness there are many ways to get it like playing with friends, cracking jokes, learning funny things. But, if you don’t have friends then refer to my notes on ‘kindness’ because by being kind you can become famous and make many friends.”

LOL! I laugh fondly as I’m in awe of my little genius’ understanding of the subject. Anything in life could be as simple or as complicated as we want it to be. If only we adults learnt to appreciate the simplicity and straightforwardness of a matter.

Much Love,

Rashmi Yadav

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