What Makes You Happy?

// December 11th, 2007 // Blog

This isn't another tag… though it would make a nice one, wouldn't it?

This particular line of questioning (involving a subtle exchange of the word “you” for “me”, cos i'm totally selfish like that) was partially inspired by Shazia's recent entry on comfort, but mainly motivated by the unfortunate fact that i have been rather lacking in happiness for the past few days.

No, it's okay – you can put the violin down – it's not that bad. Well, actually, it is that bad, but let's face it, you've never been able to play very well, and i'm too despondent to tolerate the inevitable teeth gnashing, with my usual ladylike repose.

Anyway… In my search for a “cure” for the blues, i turned to some of my usual favourites:

TV – it ain't called the “zombie box” for nothin'. It doesn't really provide true happiness, but can normally numb your mind enough to help you forget whatever it is that is making you sad to begin with; kind of like a general anaesthetic, without the being unconscious part. Alternatively, if you really need a good cry (and perhaps this is just a “girl thing”), you can always exercise your tear glands on a sappy, made-for-TV, “OMG, it's soooooo sad, cos the sweetheart/cancer patient/cute puppy dies at the end!!!” chick-flick.

However, no matter how much channel-hopping i engaged in yesterday, my first line of defence against sadness failed to work, mainly because i was reminded of the source of said sadness every five minutes. Even an advert for a WWF-based computer game made me well up. How pathetic?

I also realized that my sense of humour has greatly matured compared to five years ago; innuendo, double entendres and swearing are complete comedy turn-offs for me now. This meant i found myself thinking: “Oh, just GROW UP”, quite a bit after the 9pm watershed (which reminds me: i really can't stand Jonathon Ross). I didn't even laugh much at Father Ted – that used to crack me up stupid before, and isn't usually that offensive (unless you happen to be a Catholic priest).

Food – especially of the sugary variety. We all have our comfort foods (apparently, French toast does it for Shaz). The funny thing is, i imagine for most people the act of “emotionally eating” is mainly a subconscious thing; you may find yourself almost instinctively reaching for the box of chocolates, or tub of icecream, or can of tuna (hey, each to their own, okay?). But yesterday, i practically forced myself to overeat various foods i would normally find comforting – mainly to encourage that weird drowsiness that comes over you after a heavy meal; the one that spreads out from your swollen belly, and slowly travels upwards, until it eventually overwhelms your brain. The comfort didn't arrive though. In addition, i didn't really enjoy the experience, as i don't derive the same pleasure from food as i used to. At least my pancreas/ arteries/ waist-line are happy, as it means i don't tend to eat as much as i used to, either, alhamdulillah (yesterday being an exception-by-force).

Shopping – actually, i lie; I hate shopping, and really don't understand the concept of “retail therapy” (sorry Organic). I went for an eye exam today in Central London, and decided to have a stroll down retail heaven, aka Oxford Street, before i hopped back on the tube. As I continued to defiantly walk past several store fronts, without caving in to the temptation of shiny window displays carefully designed to lure me in, i soon realised that i was a high street vendor's worst nightmare: someone who doesn't really need anything. No, wait, let me rephrase: someone who realises that she doesn't need any of their overpriced, overated, sweatshop-produced gumph and is mostly immune to the, like, totally facist concept of “trendiness”.

The only store that managed to catch my eye was Pret-A-Manger, mainly in connection to the previous point on comfort food: Pret sarnies are amazing – expensive, but amazing! Though typically, as with so many choices in life, i went for looks rather than substance and ended up picking something not-so-amazing: why-oh-why don't i ever remember that smoked salmon sounds so much better than it tastes? Sigh.

Before you all think i'm beyond hope, i do have some good news to share: having experienced several things that quite clearly do not make me happy, i was allowed to engage in something that really does – and best of all, it was completely free: conversation with a good friend. *Cue the “awww”s*

No, i didn't moan or snot up her shoulder (eww), as you may expect; why should I inflict my misery on her? One depressed individual is quite enough, thank you! We just chatted over a cup of tea in the canteen at work about the usual nonsense (and she kindly finished off my sarnie – yey!) and then went home together, gabbing away on the tube like no-one's business… just like old times.

Btw, if you think a lone hijabi gets a lot of attention on public transport, you should see what happens when you put two together, adding a dash of giggles, and a sprinkle of animated discussion. Is it really that strange a sight that everyone has to stare at us so rudely? *rolls eyes*

Anyway, before i start to excessively gush about how much I wuv my fwiends (even though I weeeally do), i'll pass the baton onto you – what makes you happy, and why?

17 Responses to “What Makes You Happy?”

  1. What makes me happy?

    When my friends are happy.

  2. Oh, on a somewhat related note, I think you may find this video insightful:
    More (Short film).

    I wrote about it briefly here. It’s a nice perspective on the pursuit of happiness, and the sacrifices one makes on the journey.

  3. I rap. It’s amazing how I can suddenly make things rhyme and scan when I’m angry/sad. If your intepretation of music permits, learn to play a musical instrument and write songs. Or write poems – another form of catharsis. Or how about popping down to yer local Shaykh for some dhikr -never mind if you’re a Salafi, there’s nothing like a bit of “hu”-ing to raise the spirits! Or go for a bike ride. Or make photomontages…

  4. fact amusing says:

    Couldn’t imagine how would a better writer of skill would write.

  5. mummyjaan says:

    1. A perfectly clean, spic and span, shining house. (A rarity these days, but nevertheless, it does make me happy).

    2. Talking to friends non-stop (as you mentioned above). Making *them* laugh.

    3. Zikr – when I remember to do it, remember the saying by rasulullah – “man lazimal istighfaar ja’allahu min kulli … hammin farajaa ….”

    If I’m really down, then the dua’ of Hazrat Yunus alaihis salaam, 3 times, “La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu minaz zalimeen”, or even continuously, seems to do the trick. As does 2 raka’s of salatul haajat.

    4. Seeing how little Bubbu laughs and chuckles at something totally insignificant (like her sister’s crayon peeking from beneath the sofa…..) – if she can laugh at the crayon let me laugh at this pen in my hand lol!

    Counting the blessings and being patient….

    Food only numbs temporarily, it doesn’t really make you happy – and when you stop eating, you’re left with extra calories to burn off :(

    I am glad you were able to get over whatever was making you feel low. Never mope. Good girl, iMuslim!

  6. Shahrzad says:

    LOL, I dont watch TV. And about food i have no sense reallt. But SHOPPING makes me very much happy :D

    If there is not a tag for happiness, you can innovate to start one.. :D <– see i am happy smiling too.

  7. 1) I eat

    2) I go to the source of my unhappiness. What is making you unhappy, iMuslim? :D

    3) I stop talking to any males in my life. They are usually the source of much agony.

  8. Oh! I am poor. I no longer go shopping :(

  9. shaz says:

    awwww… have some virtual hugsss!!! :) hugs are great!

    shopping does not make me happy… more stressed than anything. and if eating does not help, then you must be REALLY depressed! :(

    cheer up! i hear things do get better!!

  10. AnonyMouse says:

    1. Hanging out with my friends (or emailing them while we’re all online at the same time and continuing at least five different conversations). They always make me laugh, and best of all, I can make THEM laugh!

    2. Bugging my mom, chattering away inanely, and finally hitting the jackpot – making a random comment that will make her grin involuntarily.

    3. Read a really, really good book. Not neccessarily classics, but just something that’s well-written and enjoyable… Piratica (by Tanith Lee), for example; A Great And Terrible Beauty; and the Abhorsen trilogy (by Garth Nix) – mind you, they’re all teen books of the pirate/ adventure/ fantasy genre, so like I said, nothing sophisticated really.

    4. Wrestling my brothers. Nothing like a good tussle to get out all the energy and to start those endorphins going!

    Erm, that’s about it, actually!
    Shopping, eating, and watching TV/movies (NOT chick flicks! Eurgh!) are what I do when I’m bored, not when I’m sad.

    I actually hate being sad… I’m much rather be angry, because it’s so much more energetic! You can structure coherent thoughts and construct an agenda against someone or something; whereas when you’re sad you get all mushily emotional and you just wanna crawl into bed and cry (which I don’t like doing).

    Are you over your sadness now? I hope sooooo… if not, here’s a hug from your twin!

  11. leila says:

    lol well if i was sad, i am definitely not now, after ur post & all the great comments :D very good tips :D

    I do things something similar to mummyjaan, but….I use sweets. a lot. many. shame on me :D

  12. iMuslim says:

    Faraz – What’s with the “(Irrelevant Opinions)”? Could you plug your own blog anymore? Cheeky so-n-so!
    I’ve read that post and seen the vid on your site before… it was very interesting, though not really related to the happiness i’m talking about here. I mean, that video is about achievement, accomplishment and success… and happiness; but more in the sense of satisfaction. I guess this entry is just about not being sad… momentary happiness, the simple pleasures in life – that sort of thing.

    Julaybib – Welcome to my blog. I tried to rap once… on Faraz’s blog as it so happens. I am not linking to it; it was terrible! I agree that poetry can be quite cathartic, and is a medium i have recently rediscovered, alhamdulillah.

    fact amusing – i suspect you may be spam – but very flattering spam!

    mummyjaan – point 4 is tooooo cute, masha’Allah! I’m afraid i have done my fair share of moping though, and continue to do so when i’m not distracted by interesting people/activities. Alhamdulillah, i’m keeping myself busy now, so my moping score has been drastically reduced. ;)

    Shahrzad – Shopping… just don’t get it! What do you buy? I bought chocolate today. That made me kinda happy. :)

    OM – in response to 2) – sigh and in response to 3) – double sigh.

    shaz – jazakallah for the hugs! We should invest in one of those prototype hug suit thingies… so we can send each other long-distance hugs. I’m sure your husband has read about them on his techno-geek news website (i still think that Wi-Fi T-shirt was cool). :P

    Mouse – I agree, angry is way better than sad. Especially if you have something to punch and punch and PUNCH
    I was told i have a violent streak yesterday. No idea where they got that from. {innocent grin}

    leila – ah, sweeties… why do things that taste sooo good, have to be sooo bad for you? :(

  13. Faraz says:

    The “Irrelevant Opinions” in my name was because I was commenting on another site in which there was another commenter named “Faraz”… I didn’t want there to be confusion between the two of us, thus the clarification.

  14. Faraz says:

    Ahem. [Note from iMuslim: Link removed to protect whatever little reputation i have left!] Oh, and regarding “More”: I know it wasn’t directly related to your post, but I find the whole idea rather interesting, that of manufactured happiness, of mistaking true joy with the perception of joy.

    The lesson being, don’t ever lose sight of what is important to you in your pursuit for happiness. Spending some quality time with a friend is a worthy route toward your objective; throwing money away into “comfort food” that you’ll regret later is not. Also, never forget that with hardship comes ease, with hardship comes ease. More than likely, your current discontent will open the doors to a much greater happiness insha-Allah. :)

  15. iMuslim says:

    throwing money away into “comfort food” that you’ll regret later is not

    Hmm… well, if i was spending huge sums of cash, then i’d agree… so far i have spent £1.50 or so. :P

    More than likely, your current discontent will open the doors to a much greater happiness insha-Allah.

    Insha’Allah – there is always Allah, and thus there is always hope in Allah! :)

  16. Sumera says:

    A good nights sleep makes me happy! Little else does. Choc doesnt work, shopping definitely doesnt work!

  17. Asalaamu alikum wa rahamatullah,

    A curious post- though you missed one thing off you list- visit Don’t be sad @ http://dontbesadblog.wordpress.com a new blog to help you get through the “blues,” with wisdom from the East and from the West, insha’allah.

    Everyone is welcome, please do post your comments.

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