Saturday, August 30, 2014

Week Thirty-five – Happiness!

“What a wonderful day! 

Someone is bound to come and mess it up!”

Happiness is something that often is contagious and makes you feel good, and it comes in different shapes and sizes. If you could bottle up happiness and sell it, you’d become a millionaire, and many would love you for it. Many people spend their entire lives searching for happiness and many never find it. You know when happiness has stroke you because it gives you that warm feeling inside which comforts you and makes you want to shout from the rooftop. In short, happiness is something that should be part of out lives, as it gives you positive energy, great attitude and helps you get by every day, giving you a wonderful day, even if someone comes and messes it up!

But why is happiness something so hard to get, to achieve or to make part of our lives? I am not saying it does not exits, but often it only comes in short busts and some time too few and far in between, yet it is so easy to do, to be happy. This week I was witness to how simple and easy it is to be happy, and what a difference is makes in your life. Now some say that there are several factors that affect people’s moods, and that it is hard to be happy when everything around you seems dark, when everything you know is negative and the whole environment around you is grey. With that in mind, my experience this week may be close to this argument as I was in sunny southern Spain where from 7.30 am to 9.30 pm you had cloudless blue skies and temperatures reaching 39 degrees! And everyone you met was happy!

But I do think that it is more that just the weather that makes people happy, I think it is cultural. I think that it is people’s attitudes that make a difference. The picture I chose for this blog and the quote in it were taken from a restaurant I had dinner this week in Marbella, Spain. This is an area called Andalucía and as I began to get inspired by Andalucía and it’s people, I knew I had to dedicate this week’s blog to a great group of people like no other, “los Andaluces!”

But let me give you an example of what I saw. There are many people out there that are positive and inspiring, many nations whose people are great examples to many of us for their outlook of life, but here, in Andalucía, was different. We are talking about a group of people from a province of Spain, they are Spaniards and in many ways their traditions and ways of living are similar to other provinces of Spain. However, here people really knew the meaning of life. Everywhere we went we met someone who after 5 minutes had made you feel comfortable and had opened up his or her lives to you. In here there are no barriers, no borders and no inhibitions. From the taxi driver, to the owner of a restaurant, to a total stranger in the streets, they would welcome you, talk to you, crack a joke, and tell you things about them unlike in many places where people wouldn’t even share anything if they’ve known them for years! But what was amazing is that this came natural to them, it was not a gimmick of a group of people who try to impress tourist, it is in their nature, to be happy. And when you are happy you are friendly and therefore you are open, you have no predigest against anyone and anyone can be your friend. When you are happy you tell a joke, and when you tell a joke you laugh, that laughter makes you feel good and if you feel good you feel comfortable. If you feel comfortable with someone you feel you can open up and if you do then all barriers that surround humans go down, all borders become obsolete and there is no longer a reason why not to share things with that person. This I think is the simple formula that people from this part of Spain apply to their lives.

It is, of course, hard to achieve for one simple reason; we are not always happy. Think about it. When you are not happy you are not friendly, if you are not friendly you are not in the mood for jokes, if you are not in the mood you won’t smile let alone laugh and therefore you don’t make people feel comfortable, if they don’t feel comfortable they can’t open up and communication breaks down, barriers come up and it is hard to share anything with people. In short, it all comes down to being happy!

Ok, so this week I was touched by the abundance of happiness Andaluces showed me, and I was of course on holiday, the weather was hot and there was not a single cloud in the sky, but the biggest lesson for me was that positivism, happiness, attitude or whatever you want to call it is contagious, it is an art and it is so essential in our lives. And yes, it can be a wonderful day and someone can come and mess it up, but only us have the power to drive this and make sure we remain happy all of our lives. The benefits are endless, and the rewards are great. Just remember the chain reaction formula I describe earlier on, one thing leads to another, and it all comes down to you. So I dare you to be happy, not just for a moment or two, a day or a month; but be happy all of your life, laugh out loud, tell a joke, smile, share with people things about you and what makes you tick, open up to those you meet, say good morning to a stranger in the street, and don’t let anyone come and mess up your wonderful day!

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