Photo by Venkateswarlu Kadiveti

Infinite Inspiration: Pursuing Happiness

School of Dentistry

By Venkateswarlu Kadiveti
Staff Writer

Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.
~ William Feather

Happiness determines the quality of every instant of our lives. We all have a profound desire to be happy, and yet we find it hard to be happy at all times. If we understand basic principles of happiness and commit them to our memory, we can considerably increase the time we feel happy. Before we proceed further, let us examine the differences between pleasure and happiness.

Pleasure is purely external, and it is dependent on time, place and material objects:  things like a new car, an expensive dress or enjoying your favorite chocolate. After a while, you do not experience the same enjoyment as you did in the beginning, In fact, after a while, you even feel disgusted if you feel the need to experience the same feelings continuously.

Happiness is purely dependent on our internal state of mind. It is a state of well-being filled with the emotions of contentment and gratitude. We should concentrate on developing things internally instead of gathering and collecting objects outside, which is a never-ending process. At some point, the outside objects will result in arrogance, anger, fear and jealousy. On the other hand, we all know that certain things in our heart, like selfless generosity, gratitude, helping others and spirituality, give us serenity and happiness.

Mind-training experts say that our mind cannot hold two contrary feelings at the same time. For example, we cannot love and hate at the same time; we cannot be cruel and compassionate at the same time; and we cannot be happy and sorrowful at the same time. We have to train our minds to counteract negative emotions.

Now that we understand the basic concepts behind happiness, we should engage in these activities.

  1. Concentrate on your inner self instead of external objects, as you come to realize that the inner self gives happiness and external objects only give a fleeting pleasure. Loss of these external things may lead to negative emotions.
  2. Be grateful for what you already have and express the gratitude at every possible moment of your life. Every act of gratitude is a seed of happiness.
  3. Be compassionate to your fellow human beings and participate selflessly in community projects, and soon you will realize that happiness is abundant.
  4. Counteract your negative emotions with positive ones. When you feel jealous of someone, look at a person who has less and count your blessings. When you feel helpless, try helping someone who is in need. These acts will help you to appreciate happiness vividly and instantly
  5. Be optimistic. Have a positive attitude toward life.
  6. Be spiritual and practice meditation as an adjunct to your practice of happiness.

Have clarity in life, determine the things that are really important and valuable and have the wisdom to pay attention to them alone. Practice healthy habits until happiness surrounds you.

Venkateswarlu Kadiveti is a student in the International Dentist Program.