Athena Potion Lessons: Brewing Happiness

By Vini Bhati 2020-08-05

"Euphoria, I take it? And what's that I smell? Mmmmm.... you've added just a sprig of peppermint, haven't you?”

As Harry brews his happiness-inducing, sunshine-yellow elixir, I am enchanted by its magical wonder. Often have I wondered if I could grasp those fleeting moments of joy and translate them into an eternal state of creative ecstasy. 

My quest steers me to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Ted Talk, where he proposes that we can attain a state of happiness by transforming the contents of our consciousness. By putting ourselves in a state of “optimal flow”, we can surpass negative emotions, bringing about a shift in perspectives that can enhance our productivity.

But how do we attain our “state of flow” when our fluctuating self-esteem takes a toll and prevents us from looking at the grand scheme of things? 

Like every other Potterhead, the Elixir to Induce Euphoria is harder to conjure up when the tides are low (especially for us Muggles).

Athenians! Welcome to our Potions Lessons!

Your potion kit should contain the following ingredients:

  • Life narratives
  • A pen and paper
  • A range of emotions
  • Thinking caps
  • Some creative masala

Situation Selection Potion

  • Psychologists have discovered that people experience unhappiness because they perceive the concept of happiness in abstraction. The first step to attaining joy lies in expressing it on paper, using the situation selection potion. The technique to brew this teal-colored liquid is simple.
  • Pick up that dusty, black diary from your bookshelf.
  • List activities that evoke reliable negative and positive emotions. Whether it’s the temporary frustration of arguing with a friend or the comfort of munching on a choco-chip muffin; every single detail counts.
  • Build your repository of positive and negative emotional triggers.

The situation selection potion will enable you to turn towards positive emotional triggers and mitigate negative circumstances. Had a bad day at school? Don’t worry, *insert your favorite song* will save the day!

Self-Compassion Potion

  • Take a moment to think about how you treat yourself when you encounter personal failure. We tend to isolate ourselves when we fail; we are programmed to be kinder to others than ourselves. Presenting, our self-compassionate letter potion!
    • Pick up a pen and paper.
    • Identify the source of your insecurities and unhappiness.
    • Imagine that a loved one is in the same state of mind. 
    • Play out the scene in your head, complete with internal dialogue. 
    • Scene ready, now write on!

The self-compassion potion brings a transformative shift in perspective as it changes the lens through which we perceive our reality.

“Happiness is a state of mind. It's just according to the way you look at things.” With Walt Disney’s wisdom and these two potions by your side, you’re all set to brave that dark tunnel and embrace the light!

Watch: How to find meaning and joy in life