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Happiness » Sreća | 81 Tekst/Words: Ivaj Radojčić Fotografije/Photography: Profimedia.rs Canwe train our happinessmuscles? First, the question of all questions: do you think that you walk through life happily? This seemingly silly question will tell you everything you need to know about your personal reserves of internal joy – and it is precisely this unprecedented joy that is of paramount importance to each of us Researchhas shown that satisfiedpeople find it easier to learn, while they also achieve better results in cognitive tests. When we feel joy, we have a more open approach to other people and are more trusting. This makes it easier for us to build relationships that make our daily lives better and help us during difficult moments.The joy of life has an incomparably positive impact on both physical and mental health – strengthening the immune system, so we don’t fall ill as often. However, did you know that the objective circumstances of life have a surprisingly minor influence on whether we really enjoy life? At least that’s the claim of behaviourists, who insist that only ten per cent of our potential for happiness can be attributed to external influences. Experts claim with confidence that little positive daily habits are what build up our joy, just as regular exercise builds up our muscles. Ask yourself what you’re focusing on. Which direction do your thoughts take? How do you spend your precious free time? Are there days when you want to embrace the whole world and jump for joy? Some people have days like that often, others less so, while for some it’s as though such days don’t exist. As you consider this and assess where you Quest for t he or i g i ns of sat i s fact i on stand on the satisfaction scale, try to recall your childhood. We enter this world as sensitive beings who feel various emotions. We’re born to experience joy, which is why babies are so adorable when they extend their arms as if preparing to hug the sun. However, various unpleasant experiences during childhood lead to us becoming more accustomed to feelings like fear, sadness, rage and many other nuances of emotion from worrying about what’s ahead. It is therefore no coincidence at all that only children have the innate power to focus on the here and now. That’s because the more we focus our attention on the here and now, the more we experience joy. By retaining that child’s principle in our mature years, we provide ourselves with a solid base to feel satisfaction in the moment. Psychologists differentiate between happiness that comes as a result of internal satisfaction and happiness that’s due to feelings of wellbeing. While happiness born of the feeling of wellbeing tends to be fleeting, the happiness of internal satisfaction remains fairly constant: it is a measure of how happy we are with our lot in life and whether we live in accordance with our own priorities. This form of assessment is consistent – even when you’re lacking sleep, afflicted by a stomach ache or having troubles at work, you’ll be able to describe your life as being fulfilled. This is because you live in accordance with your values, so you feel a sense of meaning and satisfaction. How can such a balance be struck? Take the path of self-reflection: ask yourself what’s really important to you and in what area you want to invest the limited time you have in life. Activate your senses and consciously focus your attention on joyful things. You will increase your sense of happiness by enjoying yourself - here and now.