Calm Masterclass: Discovering Happiness

Something that unites us all in what we seek is happiness. Everyone wants to be happy. We do almost everything we do in order to be happy. We all have different notions of happiness and what it takes to achieve. However, if you look at the goal, it is mostly the same.

I have an app called Calm which I use for my meditation every day. I have been meditating without a break for the last 300+ days and meditation has changed my life in unimaginable ways. Calm has a Masterclass section and I had written recently about what I learnt from the Masterclass on Social Media  I completed the Masterclass called Discovering Happiness recently and found some really insightful thoughts in it. Shawn Achor  a Happiness researcher and author of the book ‘The Happiness Advantage’ has taught this Masterclass.

What caught my attention was some of the findings from actual scientific experiments around happiness that Shawn and his team conducted. They showed that happiness can never be linked to an event. For example, many of us feel that we will be happy after we graduate, get a job, get married, have kids, get a promotion, reach a certain level at work and so on. But the definition of happiness changes the moment we achieve that. Then it is all about the next goal.

Happiness, research says has nothing to do with wealth after a certain amount of money to meet basic needs like food, shelter and clothing is earned. Several celebrities and rich people suffer from severe depression. Happiness is a continuous process. It is partly genetic but the best part is by doing a few simple things, your happiness levels can be increased way beyond wheat your genes dictate. Here are five of the most simple things that can be done in a few minutes each day. If these are done for 21 days continuously, the research says your happiness levels will increase significantly:

1. Gratitude: Write down 3 different things each day that you are grateful for. The important thing is to write different things each day. It could be as wide as having air to breathe, not living in a terrorism struck country and so on or as specific as being able to eat your favourite dish for dinner last night.

2. Journaling: Write a few words each day about something positive that happened to you in the past 24 hours. Describe it in a little detail. Write what happened and how.

3. Aerobic Exercise: Fifteen minutes of any aerobic exercise like brisk walking, jogging, swimming, running or cycling impacts happiness levels as well.

4. Meditation: Even something as simple as two minutes a day of focusing on the breath can help. Ten minutes of meditation using a simple app can have very good results.

5. Sharing your happiness: Write a short positive note to someone. It could be to thank someone for what they did. It could be praising someone for something. It can be just a couple of lines.

The best part about the above is I do three of these already. I need to add the other two. They all look pretty simple to me. If I am able to improve my happiness levels, why not?


I agree there are benefits to meditation (I meditate too), but I wouldn't take any clinical trial seriously. The papers I have read are heavily p-hacked, with massive garden-of-forking-paths analyses and hypothesizing after the results are known (HARKing).
B said…
Hi Kamal, I started with headspace but did not follow through. This time I really want to restart and keep at it; should I just go with Calm this round ? In the end it is about our discipline but just wanted to check-in with you given that these things require subscription. Thanks, Bhanu
Kamal D Shah said…
Agreed Shravan.

Bhanu, both apps are good. Pick any one of them. Ten minutes a day is all it takes. All the best!
B said…
Started with Calm. Going to be at it this time.