Shortly after Christmas I went over to Thailand to see my son who has been working there in a particularly unspoiled spot, way off the tourist trail, for almost 2 years. He’s teaching English and not saving a lot of money so doesn’t get back to see us much.
I ‘d never been to Thailand before and what really struck me was how everyone you meet seems to be smiling and looks genuinely happy. There is a philosophy of ‘sanuk’ or fun and apart from appearing pretty laid back and unworried by set backs and more likely to shrug their shoulders at adversity than lose their tempers, people seem really joyful. When we left our resort we received goodbye cards and messages from the staff at the hotel wishing us smiles, laughter and happiness and one message said, ‘we hope you are enjoying your life.’
Happiness and fun don’t seem particularly western concepts. I think here in the UK we’d be more likely to wish people every success for the future than wishing them happiness. Even our greeting ‘Happy Christmas’ or ‘Happy New Year’ sounds a bit luke warm and half hearted in comparison.
But happiness is really important for our health. It has been linked to boosting the immune system and keeping us well, improving our relationships with others and increasing longevity.
Happiness has nothing to do with material possessions, wealth or life events. It is definitely a state of mind and we can actually choose to nurture warm, positive feelings and cultivate a happier attitude.
As Dr. R.M. Matthijs Cornelissen of the Sri Aurobindo ashram in Pondicherry, India, explains, “In the Vedic tradition, ananda, or delight, is seen as being present in the essence of everything that exists. Happiness is thus not something that depends on what you have, but what you are.”
So I for one am going to adopt a more Thai attitude to life- not take myself too seriously try to see the funny side of life and spend a bit more time smiling, feeling thankful and enjoying life.