A cocktail is an alcoholic mixed drink that contains two or more ingredients—at least one of the ingredients must be a spirit – Wikipedia.
Some cocktails taste good when you don’t know the ingredients. All of us have a different taste and need to mix things in a different proportion. BTW let me accept I have no perfect recepie for this. In fact I am pretty bad in figuring out the right ingredients and proportions to make the happiness cocktail. But then are you the kind of guy who looks at those slim models on TV who advertise exercise equipments and you wonder why they need to exercise anyway. Some of the best insights come from people who have failed at something as they know what the pain of failure is. Anyway this insight of mine is necessary for me to convince you to read rest of the article.
There is a famous happiness formula
H = S + C + V
So let us dig deep what each of these things mean and translate to in real life.
S – Set Point for happiness
How much it hurts does not depend on hardness of stone but softness of heart. All of us are like four wheelers where shock absorbers have been set to different levels of stiffness. Some of us can go through a road full of potholes and not complain about the ride and some of us are jolted by slightest of shocks. The fact is that we do have a preset button. This is not a cast in concrete. It does fluctuate over time and situations but it is important to realize that it exists and also where it is set to.
C – Conditions of life
It might be physical as well as mental. Both of them impact our sense of happiness a lot. Lot of us who have a computer and end up reading the blog might not have many problems at a basic necessity level but still might not have great mental conditions in life. A hungry stomach is a cause for sadness irrespective of culture and time. Another important thing about conditions is that we are a species with great adaptability skills. Adaptability is a boon and a curse at the same time. It ensures that things die down when you are hitting a rough patch but it also makes happiness short lived as you get used to the happiness stimuli. We do have a habit and capability to get used to things. And things which impact us a lot at a point may not continue to impact as we go along. Finally happiness and sadness is about degree of deviation from situations we have got used to and since our base point keeps changing, what causes us pain or happiness also changes.
V – Voluntary Activities
This is what we do to keep ourselves happy pro-actively. Some of us dance, some of us sing and some of us run. These are pro-active measures which can contribute greatly to our sense of happiness and well being. It is not very tough to figure out what you will enjoy doing. just revisit your childhood and I am sure you will find many things. It might be collecting stamps or cycling or maybe just walking around with no thoughts in mind.
After explaining these individual concepts, let us also understand the interplay between these factors. There is no fixed mathematical polynomial equation which has defined powers and coefficients but we can still understand directional movements. The parameter “S” is one of the toughest one to move but not impossible to do it. This is something which is mostly hard coded into your genes. If you can move it, it can potentially have the most significant as it changes the lenses through which you perceive things and events. Eastern philosophy teaches you lot of mechanisms to achieve it via reducing your attachments and also handling both adversity and happiness with calmness. Such approaches aim to change your “Set Point” where you start seeing things in a different light. Meditation in various religious as well as non religious forms are few of the common ways. Some philosophies and religions also build a framework of thought where we build a circle of insignificance around things which cause sadness and that changes the lens for human mind. “Conditions of life” is the parameter which bothers us most and consumes most of our energy. We strive for money, better relations for happiness. People who are not able to make ends meet strive for basic necessities of life and assume that the strata of society which has solved that problems is happy. But the strata of society which is not bothering about where the next bread will come from has webs of it’s own which cause sadness. The fact of life is that lot of times it is not possible for us to change something specially in the relationship zone. That is where you fall back to “Voluntary Activities”. This is like relations between different nations. In spite of serious differences on some issues you decide to focus on trade with a hope that at some point of time those fundamental issues will also get addressed as new generations and opinions emerge. What you call as confidence building measures in trans-national politics can be called as “Happiness Building Measures” in life. Each one of them counts. Do them one by one and enjoy every moment of happiness they bring to you.
To sum it up try changing your “Set Point” by adopting a belief framework ( can be home made also ) and reflecting on yourself, striving to improve your life conditions in physical as well as mental frontiers and adopting activities which energize you are ways to increase happiness in your life.
Would love to know your proportions in your cocktail.