Science and religion are two different concepts which show contrasting features. Most of the times, what is said by religion is not accepted by science and science considers religion as a mythology. However, a recent study has found some interesting principles of happiness which are much similar to Buddhist theories.
1. Be mindful.
Breathing in, I calm body and mind.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is the only moment – Thich Nhat Hanh
Though we all believe us to be mindful, the truth is that we are not conscious of certain things that we do in certain times. Being mindful means being aware of everything that we do in the present moment and if you give it a thought, you will see that sometimes when you do certain things, your thoughts are elsewhere while your physical body performs the actions.
The reason for most of the worries that we are having is that we think not about the present moment but about the things that happened in past and the things that can occur in future. We think “we should not have done that” and “what will happen if I do this” instead of enjoying the present moment. One core principle of Buddhism is to enjoy the present moment and be aware of everything that we do at this moment.
Psychologist Sonja Lybomirsky in her study shows that majority of the participants showed a significant improvement in happiness when they were made to focus on the present moment.
So, always be conscious of the present moment that you are having. Be mindful of your actions and its consequences. You will surely experience a miracle.
2. Do not strive for material desires.
“There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.” – Lord Buddha
You will never find happiness by relying on material things. Perhaps you may argue that in today’s world you can’t do anything without having money. But, the truth is that long-term satisfaction will never be created out of money and money will only give you a temporary happiness. We see people working hard, doing various things and sometimes even engaging in crimes to earn more and more money but wealth is not happiness.
A research done by Tim Kasser and Richard Ryan shows that people who have made money as their first consideration are likely to be faced with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. When you acquire more and more money, you also live with the constant fear of losing it. Your time will be allocated to earn money but not to earn people and at one point, when you stop and think, you will feel how miserable you are even if you are a millionaire.
3. Be generous.
“Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy, while giving the mind of the giver is made peaceful and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted” – Lord Buddha
You should learn to give not only the material things but also the intangible things like time, wisdom, and support.
This was further affirmed by the researcher Stephen who says “helping a neighbor, volunteering or donating goods and services result in a ‘helper’s high emotional state’ and you get more health benefits than you would from exercises or quitting smoking. Listening to a friend, passing on your skills, celebrating others successes and forgiveness can also contribute to happiness.”
4. Learn to let go.
“The secret of happiness lies in mind’s release from worldly ties.” – Lord Buddha
Buddhism always emphasizes impermanence and we should keep in mind that we cannot go back to the moment that we passed or to replicate it. This is what is known as “anitya” in religion.
Whenever you feel happy or sad, remember that this feeling will not last forever and you will experience a change in the situation in near future. Your body, your beauty, your age, your voice, your friends, your wealth and everything that you think as yours will change with time and being aware of this fact will help you to appreciate things more warmly at the moment that you are having them and will make your life more beautiful.