Simple Happiness Hacks For Muslims

by Helmy Sa'at

Nowadays, there are so many things that could potentially get on our nerves in a heartbeat. As we live in a state of constant flux and unpredictability, anger could easily consume us and descend us into despair if left unchecked. 

Albeit our normal daily life has been tremendously disrupted by the pandemic, propelling us to look over our shoulders in anticipation of circumstances beyond our purview, there are still many things which remain in our control. Like how we react and our daily decisions to be and remain happy. It does not help, at times triggering even, to hear people asking you to smile or just be happy, yet the key to happiness (cliche intended!) starts with the choice and the channelling of conscious effort to be happy — even requiring practice at times to achieve it. In a nutshell, more often than not, we are in charge of our feelings.

Placing Priorities: Step Back And Reassess

As we take a step closer to 2022, it would be helpful to not only articulate but also pen down our happiness goals. Grab a pen and list down five to ten things, such as having frequent meals with family members, or carving a reading-alone time, which are important to you and bring you joy. This list would help in (re)prioritising our daily decisions. More importantly, it would reveal things (and people, including yourself!) that make up your life’s building blocks to happiness. As we become more aware of this matter, it would contribute in recalibrating the direction of life in pouring more time and energy towards making better choices.

This list would, inevitably, also help to declutter our minds as we reflect on things that might be deceptively sparking joy; those we do for other reasons, such as the inability to say no because we think we have to. Saying ‘yes’ is easy. However, there are times we need to say ‘no’. Remember: Saying ‘no’ is also a choice. For instance, when someone is pushing you to do something which you do not have time for. Though it is desirable to be helpful to those around us, we need to be firm and realistic when it is not feasible to do so.

Let Your Past Set You Free

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We cannot change the past. This includes past mistakes. The ‘me’ today is the result of past mistakes and successes that will continue to experience struggles and apices of happiness. Mistakes are occurrences that shape our growth. Start by admitting our mistakes. When we stand up to take responsibility, we are being accountable for our choices and actions. When we have accepted what we cannot change, steps to rectify the present circumstances, or address those affected by our mistakes would be easier as we are not paralysed by guilt. Instead, we are empowered to make changes in the present and change for the better.

Thus, the healing within ourselves takes place. We are our worst critics. However, we should also work towards being our own greatest cheerleaders. Start by writing down three to five things we love about ourselves. For example: I love the fact that I am curious about many subjects outside my area of specialisation. This acts as a reminder that our flaws and past mistakes do not define us for the rest of our lives.

Savour Life’s Bitter Bites

Besides drinking lots of plain water to stay hydrated and eating healthy according to your dietary needs, we deserve to treat ourselves (in moderation, of course!). Instead of binge eating on ‘cheat days’, why not indulge in some dark chocolate. Lift your spirits with a piece of dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao content. The benefits of boosting happiness are real: It has been observed that consumption of dark chocolate leads to reduced levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. 

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Slow Down

Most likely, you would be reading this through the Muslim Pro app on your phone (caution: do not walk and use your phone!). You can either save this article for later by clicking on the ‘Favourite’ tab indicated by the ‘heart’ emoji, or at a later time return to the ‘More’ tab on the bottom of the app and click the ‘Inspiration’ feature with the ‘Lightbulb’ emoji. Then, click on #articles to find your article of choice.

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Besides just learning how to best navigate the Muslim Pro app to maximise your usage, it is also part of taking things slow. Though we are living in a digitally connected world, we have to learn to disconnect at the right time. Instead of scrolling through your phone or social media accounts while on the go, take the time instead to literally stop and smell the roses. View your surroundings more closely and you might just learn something new and interesting, such as that new cafe down the street. 

Luxuriate in your present moment. Exposure to sunlight has been proven to contribute to battling negative emotions and depression. Just do not forget to wear your masks and sunblock for prolonged time outdoors.

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Last but not least, spare a few moments each day to reflect on your daily blessings. There is nothing that you cannot overcome as long as you place your faith in Allah.

فَٱذْكُرُونِىٓ أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَٱشْكُرُوا۟ لِى وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ

So remember Me; I will remember you. Be thankful to Me, and never ungrateful.

[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152]

Happiness is a journey we all embark upon every day. Appreciate and be grateful of our accomplishments, yet still continue to strive to be a better person than yesterday. The world does not promise or owe any of us guarantees to happiness. We might not always succeed in being happy all the time, yet we owe it to ourselves to start by trying.