First Principles : The first steps towards a happy and balanced life

Everyone wants a happy and balanced life. Few like to do what it takes to have a happy and balanced life. What is more, everyone wants a recipe, a recipe for happiness. Buy the stuff, put then together, cook it all up and vola! you have happiness on your platter. Eat it all up, lick your fingers clean and you will never be sad again!

Life does not work that way, does it? Eventually we get hungry again and we run out of food. It is time to cook up more happiness, but we know not how. All recipes work to fill you up for a few hours of life, but having long term happiness and balance in life is all about knowing how to write your own cook book … with the ingredients YOU have.

So here, these are what I see as the most essential ingredients to get started on your cookbook for happiness and balance. Before you even try to be find happiness and balance amidst all the turmoil and challenges life puts forth in front of you, try to acquire these ingredients…these qualities that will be the secret to your long term happiness.

These form my list, please add yours in the comments … perhaps I am missing some ingredients that will make my quest for happiness easier 🙂

  1. Get your sleep : Taking care of yourself is an important first step towards happiness. We cannot prevent most things we are faced with in life, but we are able to deal with them quickly and efficiently if we have had our rest. Never underestimate the value of rest – you listen better as a parent, boss and a coworker; you express better as a mom/dad, sister and a friend. Find ways to rest in your life and the world will already start to seem better. ( Read the complete post here)
  2. Get your food : Eating well and keeping your body well nourished is a logical extension to number 1. Most of us ignore the importance of a healthy body. It is hard to see how skipping meals or eating a tub of ice-cream can mess with our lives, but start to respect your body and you will see it give back over time – give back in the form of clarity on your thoughts and emotions and a whole new zest for life. (Read the complete post here)
  3. Keep a clear conscience: I should probably rephrase this as “Do whatever it takes to prevent your mind from nagging you”. It is not worth doing something if it is going to nag you for the next few minutes, hours, months or days. If I see some trash (like a piece of paper) in a park and do not pick it up right away, the guilt kills me …so much so that I have started to pick up any trash in sight just so I do not have to live with the guilt of not having picked up when I should have. Don’t say things if you don’t mean them and don’t be hurtful when you don’t intend to be.
  4. Learn to care : Caring is a wonderful thing. When you care for someone or something, it comes right back, sooner or later. And don’t we all know how much of a difference a little caring can make in the toughest times in our lives? Learn to care and be affected by another person’s misery and sadness. Learn to do little and big things that cost you nothing but mean the world to another human (or animal). It will all be worth it.
  5. Laugh …and Cry : Learn to laugh. Make happiness a habit. It is a lot easier to bounce back into life when something is a habit. But do not take it too far. “Cry” when things get hard. Complain. Use a shoulder. Talk to a friend. Preventing yourself from grieving is like forcing yourself into make-believe happiness …
  6. Speak the truth : Always. Always. Lying on the outside is bad. Lying is rarely worth it’s cause. And the guilt surely drives us away from finding happiness. Lying on the inside is worse. It is a disease. It is a downward spiraling cycle – where we endlessly justify our wrong goals, choices and actions. Most of us even lie to ourselves about what makes us happy, what we are looking for …. A lot of the lies we tell ourselves are not intentional – they are results of us trying to keep up with the rat race. Take a break from the world and explore internally to see what your truth is. Find out where your happiness REALLY lies …so you can actually set off looking for it in the right direction.
  7. Apologize: Admit your mistakes and say sorry. Give your ego a break. Ego and happiness do not walk hand in hand …and the sad news is that they never will. The simple truth is that you have to let your ego down, just once, to realize how good it feels. Never be afraid to make u-turns in life. You meet the best people when you make those turns. You earn a great deal of respect on the way as a bonus. Try it. I challenge you.
  8. Respect everyone : Your respect for people is a reflection of your respect for life. Disrespect life and you will always be alone and unhappy. Enough said.
  9. Work your brain : Keep an active mind. At all times. With all these ingredients on hand you still have to do all the work it takes to find happiness. Have honest conversations with yourself during the unhappy times in your life. Make hard choices. And be proud of your choices. You don’t have to fit in. Fitting in is not what makes you happy. Protect your true self. Live. Love. And Be Happy.

Please share your ingredients … What helps you bounce back?