HAPPINESS AND THE INTERNET- PART II

Welcome to the second part of the blog.

So as we were saying, we won’t let goodness to die in this world, or if put in a different way, we the infamous Facebook and Whatsapp crazy generation of this world, won’t let goodness to die, not that easily at least.

A Brief Note on YouTube Revolution

Today a video clip, even one taken on your simple mobile phone, can become a regular source of income. Provided the video is unique and interesting, and something that can turn people’s heads, it will sell. You only need an internet connection and a YouTube account. Simply upload it for free and if your video is good leave it to YouTube and it will take care of the rest. With your video/channel attaining views, likes and subscriptions, YouTube will incorporate ads into it paving way for you to get rich in the process. The YouTube fever in fact has taken over the west and is slowly but surely stretching its arms towards rest of the world. Becoming a YouTuber nowadays is seen as an effective means to steady alternate income.

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All is good except that the here too yet again excessive money is making man go mad. In the quest for more, people expectedly are looking at unconventional or even outright insane methods to cater unique content to the viewers. And that’s exactly why yet another boon is quite easily turning into a bane. There’s neither contempt nor regard for the sentiments of others. It is all about creating clickbaity content. It’s sad. It’s depressing. Hope the ones who are making it, milking it, the ones who view a morally degrading incident or a gruesome accident as a window of opportunity to make money, hope they will get well soon for it is a disease that need psychological aide.

Anyway so much for darkness and depression, let’s move into the light now. Let us resume from where we left off in the last blog.

Yes, the nerd stuff!

So how exactly is watching a viral video of someone else doing something good benefiting us and even giving us the watchers in return a sense of joy and wellness within ourselves?

In a simple experiment involving 132 Harvard students in the 1980s, a scientist subjected the lot to a 50 minute video of Mother Teresa working amid the poor and destitute in India.

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After viewing the film, the students displayed in them a significant rise in their protective antibody, Salivary Immunoglobulin A (S-lgA) as compared to students who watched an ordinary film.

He inferred that watching someone else doing something good; spike our immunity levels resulting in higher life expectancy.

To answer the second part of the question, we need to ponder over what the actual doer gets in return. There were studies regarding that too. And courtesy those, we now know that people who donate money, or do good deeds in general release the reward hormone dopamine in their brains, creating a sense of euphoria, the same dopamine that is secreted while consuming food or having intercourse. This dopamine induced euphoria is capable of relieving stress in that it lowers blood pressure, paving way to reduced stress hormones such as adrenalin.

Now as for someone who watches these things unfold in front of his/her eyes either in person or via a video, a part of the satisfaction and appreciation the doer receives gets translated to the first person. Hence his/her brain secretes the same hormones involved thereby slashing their stress and depression levels too. Therefore without even taking part in the actual event we, the online video viewers are improving our mental health too. How cool is that, right!?

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In a hugely relevant and significant time as the one we are living in right now, where war stricken, both physically handicapped and psychologically scarred souls fled from their homelands in a last ditch effort to protect themselves and their loved ones, cultivating the habit of helping people can take you places.

It can enrich you immeasurably as a human being.

It can make your day beautiful and worthy.

It can make you live longer and healthier by reduced rates of stress and depression.

It can give some meaning and purpose for your otherwise dreary life.

Try to bring a smile on the face of a poor and traumatized kid who has witnessed the unspeakable even as early as in his/her short life on earth, if you can achieve that, then that’s it, there’s nothing more to achieve. The satisfaction and mindfulness you get can be matched by nothing in this world, not even by the piece of diamond jewellery or the expensive car you purchase next.

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Don’t forget to catch the next part where we will delve slightly deeper into the ideas of Random Act of Kindness in reference to Internet and social media.

Thank you. And yea once again, keep smiling. 🙂

HAPPINESS AND THE INTERNET- PART I

Thou Goodness Shall Never Die!

 If you are feeling down for some reason, got an internet connection and some spare time, head over to YouTube. Type in Aaron’s Last Wish, the search result will take you to a bunch of videos. Pick any one of them and watch it. You will find the road journey of a middle aged well mannered man named Seth Collins who along with his family and close friends is crisscrossing the lengths and breadths of the United States for a very special purpose, to help out the people who need helping out. Seth’s younger brother Aaron had passed away four years ago and one of his last wishes was to show gratitude to the people who serve others. So in the process he had asked them to tip a waiter or a waitress an awesome sum of money. They did that for the first time, casually videotaped the event and uploaded the video on YouTube. The aftermath was a ripple, so powerful and poignant that people from world over started donating money to their cause, in order for them to keep on doing it. Ever since then, they have been sprinkling happiness and goodwill into this parched world, to poor and weary souls who are in dire need of financial support. So far they had done this 101 times and in the process had covered all 50 states of US. So cutting back to the video you will see Seth and family finishing dinner in some restaurant in some place in America and asking a slightly freaked out young waitress whether she had time. Upon getting her consent, you will see him handing her over a $500 dollar note. What happens after that is a pretty common sight actually, sight of a confused but at the same time elated girl bursting into tears and hugging each one of the family and friends. In most cases their faces fail to as a matter of fact depict their true emotions. Probably thats because of their inexperience and slight fear of being in front of a video camera.

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Aaron Collins (Left) and Seth Collins with their mother Tina Rae Collins

So why is this video significant? Yes you are right. It will help to get over your own personal distress and by the end will make you feel a bit warm inside your heart. And what does the video convey? It conveys selfless service, gratitude and sheer goodness in a few individuals. But is that it though? No. It also underlines the now fast fading fact that there’s still goodness left in this world. There’s this ever-increasing concern among the people of this world that in the quest for monetary superiority and personal glory, the humane values are getting trampled upon.

Well, those 50,000 or so dollars they received so far in the form of donations from different parts of the world quite convincingly is disproving that notion. Not to mention the 6700 odd people who have subscribed to their YouTube channel and are eagerly awaiting their new videos.

In a day and age where you have to voluntarily enroll into laughter yoga and smile therapy sessions in order to keep stress and depression levels under check, watching and listening to such beautiful human tales will have a profound and positive effect on your constantly deteriorating sanity.  We in the rigmarole of day today life often tend to believe what our senses perceive; and do what the status quo tells us to. Hence it’s not entirely our fault if we have started to think humanity and goodness has ceased to exist. If you are though, these videos on the internet will make sure you not.

However all is not peaches and cream if we do start on this subject. The negatives far outweigh the positives in fact.

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The hundreds of people who voluntarily donated money for noble causes like in Aaron’s last wish notwithstanding there are plenty who doesn’t care. Be that the twenty odd people who are taking snaps on their mobile cameras of a person drenched in blood lying on the road after a bike accident in order for them to post on Facebook and share on Whatsapp or be that the grumpy young corporate product inside the luxury of his shining new SUV when stuck in a traffic signal shooing off a destitute woman with outstretched arms begging for alms with a baby on her shoulder. Why have we let our morals and values die this way, a gruesome and uncompromising death in that?

Well, the justification and explanations are far-reaching and unending. The thing that really matters right now is that we are definitely showing improvements in that regard and make no mistake; the social media and internet as a whole are pioneering that change. Internet might be having a bad influence on the minds of our youth, and no one can deny that fact. But what if instead of a radical, tit for tat counteractive approach our society and government’s been generally adopting to tackle the malice, we look at it in a different light? What if instead of suppressing the negatives and problems, we try to promote the positives and goodness? Perhaps that way, our kids will at least realize there’s a lot more to Internet and social media than mere showboating and cheap entertainment. Perhaps then they will realize how powerful a tool is the one they have at the tip of their fingers. And that is exactly the reason why it is imperative we circulate and celebrate such videos and all the things depicting goodness.

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Going back to that warmth that you feel inside your heart, what is it exactly? What is it that when you see someone else doing something good you become happy, and what happens inside you on a molecular level when you yourself do something good?

To know the answers tune into the second part of this blog.

Have a nice day and Keep smiling.

THE REAL MEANING OF HAPPINESS

ARE YOU HAPPY?? What about your children, are they? I know even if they aren’t, you will do everything in your power to make them happy. Sending your kid to the best school you can afford, pushing him that extra mile to make him secure that one mark more in exam. Scolding him if he doesn’t bring with him the grade you want to see from school. At the end of the day every parent wants his or her son or daughter to be successful in their life. It’s perfectly reasonable, this intent of theirs. And to achieve that ultimate goal, parents provide their kids with anything and everything they demand, as a reward, a motivational tool. Once again, that too is pretty reasonable.

 You are happy. Your children are happy. What more is there to life right? Especially once you start seeing the end product of your efforts bearing fruit, with your kid getting the highest grade and securing admission to the best universities, landing a white-collar job and getting tagged ‘Successful’ in his or her life. I know this is the picture-perfect dream of a new age parent, or something along those lines at least.

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ARE YOU REALLY HAPPY?? What about the things after that though? What about the man or woman your little boy or girl is one day going to grow to? Aren’t you concerned about that? Whether they will display amiable, responsible and compassionate demeanor to other fellow beings? Don’t you want that? And if you do, then do you honestly believe the current educational system imparted by our institutions are adequate enough?

Right from the beginning our educational institutions have been modeled on results. Higher marks in exams mean better opportunities and success in life. And it doesn’t end there either. How successful we are determines how perceived we are in a society.

All those are important things, and no one can deny that. But in addition to these materialistic and result oriented approach, that gives prominence to competition rather than cooperation, shouldn’t  they be given lessons in how to become a good human being as well? How to understand the world they are living in, the nature, the mother earth, and above all how to become happy and caring to everyone around them? Definitely.

HAPPINESS KINGDOM 

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So as we go in search of an idea, we reach a tiny Buddhist country, a kingdom in fact. The sleepy Himalayan dominion of Bhutan. An otherwise overlooked piece of land often left in the shadows of her big neighbor India, Bhutan surprised the world on 19 July 2011 when the United Nations General Assembly waved the green flag to  their “Happiness proposal”, which vouches for taking into consideration happiness and well-being  when measuring social and economic development. This proposal that they put forward had its roots in a very unique concept the Bhutanese themselves developed, the idea of Gross National Happiness or GNH.

Basically it is an idea that places prominence on the well-being of its people and assesses the progress of a country based on how happy her citizens are. So in the process the Bhutanese government infused the GNH concept into their educational curriculum as they rightfully was aware any such idea had to be etched right from the grassroots level.

THE EXPERIMENT 

The general belief among people of this world is that academic achievement and well-being are inversely proportional, meaning one cannot achieve both at the same time. But GNH disproved that notion when Alejandro Adler Braun, a researcher under the guidance of the Bhutanese government conducted an experiment in 2009.  The results showed that after 15 months of infusing it in schools, the curriculum which was initially intended to improve the well-being of students, in addition to doing that, substantially and significantly hiked their performance on standardized tests as well.

GNH POLICY in schools includes a wide variety of programs like meditation and relaxation techniques to reduce student stress that comes with academics; social activities, games, basic agriculture knowledge and practices, awareness about environment and environmental problems. Teachers under the scheme are provided specialized training. Kids are encouraged to make friends and to co-operate with others. Encouraged to ask questions, criticize constructively and develop their overall character in the process.

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THE EPILOGUE 

So as we see our children playing Mini Militia in their android phones and being happy and loud about it, we also need to ponder over whether we are doing it right or not. And if feel we aren’t, then it’s okay, as it’s never too late to change. Bhutan has shown us it can be done, that happiness won’t come in our way when going after success, rather it will enrich the whole thing, not the happiness the rest of us know and strive for though, the real happiness.

 

5 Pleasing Environments That Enhance Your Mood

We have all heard of this age old saying, “you can’t buy happiness with money”. There have been scientific theories based on it. Maybe it is true judging by the fact that super rich people need not have everything he/she needs to remain happy. Different scenarios, ranging from domestic work to social life, can put one under stress. Many of us have the tendency to take a break and go to a place where you can forget your difficulties and relax, at least for a while. This works on the basis that our brain’s physiology along with the natural efficaciousness. So you could take some time off for your personal respite. Here are some places you could go to, zero to minimal budget. 🙂

Beach

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There are many reasons as to why an average individual is able to lift his/her cheeks whenever they come close to the beach. The cool breeze, the noise of the waves, the soft sand and the sunset; it is like finding your favorite chocochips inside a cookie ❤ ❤  Have hot cup of tea or fried peanuts while your are walking along flutters of water.

 

Meadow

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Lovers always picture their loved ones walking in the meadows. Remember the famous scene from dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge? But that’s not it. The open field is like an open to door to wonderland itself where you could admire the flowers and butterflies. 😛 Sitting here with a book in your hand is a perfect filler for your leisure time and it gives scope for your imagination if you are a creative person.

 

Balcony/ Terrace

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It depends on the view as well. But, sitting at a specific height after a long schedule is a mood enhancer. Find time to go out and feel the air after office time or when you are home. There’s a reason or two why we find people reading newspapers there.

 

Stream

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Three words: the visual beauty. Writers… are you looking for the apt place for brainstorming?

 

Your favorite cafe

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Personally, as a metropolitan kid, this is the best place I go to for relaxing. What I look forward to is the interior design and the coffee. ❤

Something to look forward to 😀

Have a nice day 🙂

Little things that could make you happy

It is 7 in the morning and you have not yet satisfied your mind with enough sleep. Sleepless nights and over working is part of the lifestyle which cannot be ignored. You have to make food but then it is a tiresome process which take up most of your time. Work pressure can frustrate you and family, peer pressure is even worse. Amidst the growing world with massive technological advancements, machines have pretty much replaced everything we do, so we can’t imagine a lifestyle without them. At the same time, due to our over dependence we have become machines ourselves and probably forgot to question how we feel every day. Having a good job and enough money alone might not be enough for happiness. So how can you convince your inner self that life can be more pleasant and to one’s liking? Just focus on the little things that makes you happy. Here are some things you could focus on and it takes just few seconds of your time 🙂

The smell of the newly purchased book, bringing you into that world. Bookworms can identify with this emotion more than anyone else.

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The coolness of the earth after a heavy rain. Elders always advise us to stay close to the natural world. Going out for few minutes to feel the fresh air is appeasing.

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The essence of a freshly brewed coffee, coffee’s odor sends a sense of cheerfulness to one’s brain and taste is even better.

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In our busy day to day lives, we hardly get time to do what we like, therefore one’s hobbies are put to rest. But there is always something that you could look forward to. Buy a beautiful looking book to write your thoughts on, even if you are not writing the cover should be beautiful enough to admire.

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Find time to do physical activities like gym, badminton or any of your favorite sports. Physically you will be exhausted but psychologically there is massive amount of satisfaction.

Buy your favorite chocolate. This works every time one feels down as chocolate is the perfect mood enhancer and we have come across many studies which explained that chocolate is good for your health.

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Say thank you whenever you could. Showing gratitude is just a matter of two small words which may bring massive result. Say “thank you” to the drivers of the vehicles you have boarded, for taking you to the destination in time safely. Do the same after you have brought something from the store. Hearing a thank you note makes the vendor happy, giving us mild satisfaction in return.

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Key to happiness is having enough inner patience and the sense of selflessness. 🙂

Keep smiling 😀