Happy is The New Sexy
May 31, 2016 10:33PM
by Deepa Karthik (Menon)Darwin’s theory did not bring with it just evolution; it also changed the way men and women across the world looked at the laws of attraction forever. Suddenly, we realized that we were subconsciously picking out partners who were the “healthiest”, or the Darwinian “survivors”. Without doubt, healthy is in. But, in the pursuit of physical health, did we miss the boat on the equally important mental health? Could the brooding Shakespearean protagonist, no matter how beautiful, be the antithesis of what we are looking for? Could happy be the new sexy?
Psychologist Dr. Emma Seppala believes it is. She says, “happiness makes us more charismatic, more open, approachable and strengthen our feelings of connection to others—even strangers.”
The roadblock? Experts across the world agree that stress is the primary happiness buster, not to mention the source of many a physical and mental ailment. And, while cardio-vascular activity and change in diet might help calm the stressed mind, it may not relax it completely.
Yoga and meditation are being increasingly considered the missing links to the happiness puzzle. Seppala agrees. She says, “a really strong reason to meditate is its impact on your perspective. You're more likely to see the big picture rather than sweating the small stuff—as a result, you feel more grateful for what you have. And grateful people are more satisfied in their relationships and feel closer to one another.”
Meditation might, however, be more challenging than we think. Closed eyes often bring with them the office calendar and chore list, and the realization that sitting still with no sensory stimulation is alien to our lifestyles.
Yoga and meditation instructor Bhushan Deodhar believes that, while meditation is key to relieving stress the natural way, “we miss out on its true potential because we have inadvertently discarded its foundation—the breath. The breath is the key to sustainable happiness.”
Spiritual master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Sudarshan Kriya is considered a trailblazer in the world of yogic breathing. Offered as part of the Art of Living Foundation’s aptly titled Get Happy program, the Sudarshan Kriya is a unique rhythmic breathing exercise that participants swear by. The Foundation estimates that 300 million participants across 162 countries, in addition to government and corporate entities, have benefited from the program.
Sri Sri says, “Our breath is linked to our emotions. For every emotion, there is a particular rhythm in the breath. If we understand the rhythm of our breath, we are able to have a say over our mind, and smile more from our heart.”
And if the pictures on dating websites are anything to go by, a smile is exactly the sexy we are all looking for. Turns out—the only thing we need to do is breathe.
The Get Happy program is coming to the D.C. metro area on June 24 and 25, in Bethesda as part of Sri Sri’s national tour. For more details, visit ArtOfLiving.org/GetHappyDC.
Deepa Karthik (Menon) is a stress management instructor, government contracts lawyer and freelance writer who lives in Northern Virginia. Twitter: @Deepa_Karthik