Happiness should start at home


A couple quarrels. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

My fellow Kenyans, let us meet briefly behind the tent and talk. We have barely dissected the results of the survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that ranked Kenyans as the worst bullies on twitter, and now we have the 2022 World Happiness report that places us amongst the unhappiest nations of the world. We cannot even blame the politicians on this one.

What happened for us to be so unhappy? What about all those memes we create to keep us cackling? Doesn’t that count? Or is it our way of cataloguing our depressed state?

Since charity begins at home, we can start by finding our happy from right at home. With family. Let us start by cultivating habits that have been proven to inject happiness.

One habit is to smile. It is rumoured that you can easily tell who the married couples in traffic are, because of their stony silence and surly looks. I have been in that situation so I will not throw stones. Have you been sneering more than smiling with your spouse? Change the narrative. A smile makes you prettier, younger, more handsome, and attractive and will bring on the happy.

Mental wellness

My special favourite habit of prompting happiness is walking. Walking together has the duo benefit of physical and mental wellness as well as helping you to bond. I realised that when Hubby and I sit together to resolve our issues, we end up with blame games and nothing much is accomplished. But every time we take a nice long walk and talk, we come back refreshed, sweaty, and happy.

Going to bed at the same time will lead to many good things amongst them, a good eight or nine hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation is a major stress inducer, not to mention a cause of other health problems. Waking up refreshed gives you energy to face the day and uplifts your mood, which leads to more smiles and, as you guessed, being happy.

Games are not just for children. The saying that all work and no play makes Mwangi a dull boy has never been truer. Play more, together. During the pandemic, our younger daughter came up with games. Since we were getting bored out of our skin, we indulged her, at first feeling silly playing Grandmother Footsteps and a dozen other games. But with time, we get so hooked that we would complete our chores early just to get enough time for the games.

Jokes night

It became a joy and fun to be around each other indoors, for days on end. We laughed, we sweated, we bonded, and we were happy. She had a schedule for each day of the week, movie night, a game night, a riddles night, a gadget night, jokes night and a stories night. I truly miss those moments, especially now that we have gone back to the routines of homework, traffic jam, fatigue.

Complement more than criticize. Make it a point that for every one criticism or complaint, give three compliments. When did you last tell your spouse something nice about themselves? Even acknowledging how hard they work for the benefit of the family is a compliment. A woman will always appreciate a compliment about her looks. We take great effort and spend sinful amounts of money just to shape our eyebrows. You do not want to know how much more we spend on nails and hair.

Use the magic words with your spouse. You know those kind gestures that you so readily extend to strangers? Practice them at home. Say thank you, please, welcome and the mother and father of them all, say, I am sorry. I read somewhere that a wise husband always tells the wife that he is sorry when she is wrong.

Do stuff together. Go for cheap dates, sing, dance, go watch a play, watch a movie, share jokes, memes and laugh together. You do not have to show the world what you are up to. What matters is what your spouse experiences with you. You know what would make you unhappy? Sharing smiling faces for the world to see, but in the privacy of your home, you are in a war zone.

Ever looked up the sky, eyes closed and let the rain drench you? Try it. You are welcome.

Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage. [email protected]


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