Moderation is the new sexy, and contentment is the new happy, say health pundits, worldwide. According to them the culture of hedonism and conspicuous consumption has made our generation more anxious and unhappy than ever. Over-excitement, or the period after huge excitement, can cause us the `happy heart syndrome’. Now, what is that? And why is it bad? Well, the `happy heart syndrome’ mimics the symptoms of a heart attack! It goes like this: The higher your happiness quotient, the greater the fall; and the greater the fall, the more adverse its effects. So in this crazy pursuit of happiness -there are happiness clinics, where people go to these days to learn how to be happy all the time! -we have actually made ourselves vulnerable to getting the blues almost on a daily basis or even a `heart attack’!
THE `HAPPINESS’ ATTACK!
What does one do to not get the blues?
Latest studies show that the secret of true happiness lies in being content, or what the Swedes would call `lagom’ (things are sufficient just as they are).The core philosophy is that contentment brings true, stable, long-lasting happiness.
We are a generation constantly striving for the next big thing. It is this unending chase that has incapacitated us to feel happy; we always believe we have left our best moments behind, or, they lie somewhere in the future, making us anxious all the time.
The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong. Hecht distinguishes between “good day happiness“ (determined by the little things we do daily), from “euphoria“ (intense, long-lasting moments in our memory that are quite rare to replicate), and finally, the “happy life“ (larger pursuits that require long-term goals and a lot of work).
We cannot be happy if we pursue, for example, just euphoria, forgetting to appreciate the little happy moments daily.
CONTENTMENT IS KING!
One shouldn’t, however, look at contentment as settling for less whether it’s desires or ambitions. We need a sustainable approach to maximising happiness. And that comes with being content rather than crazy pursuits like the travel bucket list, diet, and fitness goals etc. Contentment is about having a quiet confidence that things will fall into place, modestly going after our goals, and not forgetting to enjoy the process.We don’t need to show-off all the time.
WON’T BE A COMPARISON JUNKIE
But is that possible in the age of social media, where we are staring at other people’s lives all the time and comparing our own with others?
Social media plays a large role in this crazy pursuit of 24×7 happiness. We are flooded with visual imagery (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and the consumption patterns that we keep looking at, of other people, can be infectious. The lure of materialism has snatched our peace.
Contentment is contrary to our biological hardwiring because people always look for new rules of consumption to escape discontentment. And discontentment arises, because of the constant chase of happiness.
We have strived to stretch ourselves constantly to get that extra bit. Hoarding, overconsumption makes us feel we are compensating ourselves for all the little sad moments on a daily basis. Lagom seems to be the perfect antidote to the Prozac generation. Once you are aware of the sense of calm and poise in the offing, you automatically become a calm person. Centering oneself through contentment and letting life roll past is a necessary step to finding happiness.
YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO BE HAPPY RIGHT NOW
Being content is learning to have the right mindset. You don’t need to wait until you’ve changed everything and made your life perfect before you are happy -you have everything you need to be happy right now. The mindset of waiting for happiness is a never-ending cycle. Learn that you can be content now, without any external changes.