‘MAGIK FOR’ happiness
The pursuit of happiness is a life-long process. It forms the core of an individual’s life. Many researchers have invested a lot of effort in understanding the determinants of happiness and thousands of books have been written on it. Despite the central position that happiness holds in our lives, the concept has remained more or less elusive. However, based on my research and experience, I have developed a model for understanding and enhancing happiness. I have named it “MAGIK FOR” (Happiness). “MAGIK FOR” depicts eight simple steps for attaining happiness in one’s life. Let us look at each of the components of this model.
Meaning (M): This, according to me lies at the core of one’s life and existence, and is even more important than just being “happy”. Many researchers have shown that a meaningful life is more fulfilling and satisfying than just a happy life. This is concerned with transformation in the person as a whole which leads to the good life both at the individual level as well as at the collective level. We all possess the capacity to find meaning in our life despite the circumstances. Presence and search for meaning in one’s life leads to happiness and well-being.
Activity (A): This refers to a goal-directed activity which leads to the achievements, which in turn increase happiness. Achievements also help in increasing one’s efficiency since they are likely to provide mastery in experiences. A very important aspect is engagement in the activity that one is performing. Engagement is a beautiful thing which depicts the state of flow or absorption in the task that one is performing. It helps in enhancing happiness and well-being.
Gratitude (G): In many studies, gratitude has emerged as a significant precursor of happiness. Thanking people and expressing gratitude towards people who have contributed in some way to one’s life is an important step towards happiness. Therapy based on gratitude forms an important part of overcoming depression.
Introspection (I): Finding meaning and purpose in one’s life, goal setting, forgiveness, etc. will not occur unless we regularly introspect and reflect upon our lives. Introspection is a way of reflecting on one’s life and understanding one’s purpose in life. It also helps in gaining a better understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Hence, introspection is an important step towards achieving happiness.
Kindness (K): Another step towards happiness is performing small acts of kindness. Recent research has shown that there is a positive relationship between kindness and happiness. Engaging in random acts of kindness, too, increases happiness. Small acts of kindness go a long way not only in helping others but enhancing our own happiness.
Forgiveness (F): “Let go”. Yes, these two words are very powerful! If you hold grudges and keep on ruminating about how someone has wronged you, it will only affect one person - and that is you. So it is better to forgive the person and move on. Research has shown that forgiving people are healthier and happier. On the contrary, those who are unable to forgive are comparatively more prone to hostility and falling physically sick.
Optimism (O): Optimism refers to the attitude of believing that more good things will happen in the future as compared to bad things. Optimism is related to a wide variety of positive outcomes like better mental and physical health, motivation, performance, and satisfying personal relationships. Optimists show more persistence in coping with the stress of everyday life. Hence, optimism plays an important role in happiness.
Relationships (R): Relationships and social support systems are crucial for happiness. Having close and satisfying relationships enhances one’s happiness. Researchers all over the world have found that strong ties with family and friends and commitment to spending time with them are the salient features of happy people. Happy people also show fewer signs of depression. Therefore, relationships form an integral part of a happy life.
Hence, “MAGIK FOR” happiness is a simple yet powerful model for understanding happiness. It helps in understanding the main determinants of happiness. These are the eight steps to achieve happiness and meaning in one’s life. Therefore, these eight simple steps may be followed to enhance one’s level of happiness and understand the meaning and purpose in one’s life. Stay happy and blessed!
(The author is an Assistant Professor in the department of Psychology, Daulat Ram College, University of Delhi. Views expressed are strictly personal)