Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee


Eight Steps for a More Satisfying Life

We live in a peculiar time. Comfort levels have increased but happiness is hard to find and harder to sustain.  Market forces are hell bent to brain wash us to believe that happiness lies in buying stuff. The next pair of jeans, or next level of motor car or mobile- will make us happy, they entice. We buy and as soon as we begin thinking so we are now happy- the market says, no no, you are happy yet, unless you buy these. The game continues.

Want to lift your level of happiness without the help of the Market? Here are some practical suggestions from University of California psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, based on research findings by her and others.  Satisfaction (at least a temporary boost) guaranteed.

  1. Count your blessings.

One way to do this is with a “gratitude journal” in which you write down three to five things for which you are currently thankful – from the mundane (your peonies are in bloom) to the magnificent (a child’s first steps). Do this once a week, say, on Sunday night. Keep it fresh by varying your entries as much as possible.


  1. Practice acts of kindness.

These should be both random (let that harried mom go ahead of you in the checkout line) and systematic (bring Sunday supper to an elderly neighbor). Being kind to others, whether friends or strangers, triggers a cascade of positive effects – it makes you feel generous and capable, gives ou a greater sense of connection with others and wins you smiles, approval and reciprocated kindness – all happiness boosters.

  1. Savor life’s joys.

Pay close attention to momentary pleasures and wonders. Focus on the sweetness of a ripe strawberry or the warmth of the sun when you step out from the shade. Some psychologists suggest taking “mental photographs” of pleasurable moments to review in less happy times.

  1. Thank a mentor.

If there’s someone whom you owe a debt of gratitude for guiding you at one of life’s crossroads, don’t wait to express your appreciation-=in detail and, if possible, in person.

  1. Learn to forgive

Let go of anger and resentment by writing a letter of forgiveness to a person who has hurt or wronged you. Inability to forgive is associated with persistent rumination or dwelling on revenge, while forgiving allows you to move on.

  1. Invest time and energy in friends and family.

Where you live, how much money you make, your job title and even your health have surprisingly small effects on your satisfaction with life. The biggest factor appears to be strong personal relationships.

  1. Take care of your body.

Getting plenty of sleep, exercising, stretching, smiling and laughing can all enhance your mood in the short  term. Practiced regularly, they can help make your daily life more satisfying.

  1. Develop strategies for coping with stress and hardships.

There is no avoiding hard times. Religious faith has been shown to help people cope, but so do the secular beliefs enshrined in  axioms like “This too shall pass” and “That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” The trick is that you have to believe them.

Problem of our country

BN Neelima, who teaches mass communication and paints and clicks photographs whenever she finds time,  writes in her social media  post:  My dhobi is an expert on all things. He tells me how Abhinandan case should have been dealt by the government, how we should deal with Pakistan, what should be our retaliation strategy, how Modi should run the govt, why Imran Khan became popular now, how people should vote in elections….he is an expert on all things. The only thing he can’t do is iron clothes properly!

Our country now is full of such dhobis, who are very good at dispensing advices but very bad when it comes to doing what they are supposed to do. That precisely is the problem of our country.

Rajdhani Express turns 50

On 3 March 2019, the country’s first Rajdhani Express, which revolutionized train travel in India by way of speed and luxury turned 50. It was on 3 March 1969 that the first Rajdhani Express train embarked on its first journey from Howrah to Delhi. It was the country’s first fully air-conditioned high speed train. It covered the 1450 km stretch in 17 hours and 20 minutes. On its first run it had nine coaches, two power cars, five AC chair cars one AC dining car and one AC first class coach.

In the last 50 years much water has flowed in the Ganges and the Yamuna. More number of Rajdhani Express trains was introduced to connect state capitals with national capitals. Subsequently Satabdi Express trains were introduced to connect important cities of the country.

With the air travels becoming cheap and convenient, and air connectivity improving, people prefer air travel over slow and time consuming train travel. .

However, Rajdhani still retains its mystique.

Try Baby Neem Fry

Have you ever tasted baby neem leaves fry with brinjal- a delicacy that true blue Bengalis relish. If you have not- this is the time to do that. For you get baby neem leaves only as the spring season comes, which is now.

Get baby neem leaves, which have just sprouted and looks copper coloured or at best  with just a streak of green. Fry it with brinjal and eat with rice. Bitter it is. But you’ll love it.

About a fortnight or so- the leaves will turn green and you will not be able to eat it as it will be very bitter. In that case eat the buds. Again fry with brinjal and eat with rice.

Tailpiece Gurugyan

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.

(Courtesy: social Media)



The author, a journalist turned media academician lives in Central Odisha town of Dhenkanal. An anthology of his weekly column Window Seat has been published as a book. Write to him to get a free e-copy.

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