In a world where we have so many of the comforts that the previous generations have not had, one would think we’d be the most at peace, the most joyful, the most content; yet it almost seems like this generation is in lack of those same things which has fueled several spiritual movements and gurus all attempting to fill that void and address the deep quest for peace and joy.

I recently met a good friend who seems genuinely happy and content. I asked her how she “did it all” and these were the few nuggets of wisdom she shared with me;

Things are not always as they seem

She clarified that her travelling posts on her “highlight reel” (Instagram) were dispersed over time, that she hadn’t travelled in a year apart from her one trip back home and that she had a pretty “normal” life.

She also mentioned that no matter how happy or content someone seems, to recognize that no one is like this all the time, being far from her loved one, she struggles with loneliness, but then acknowledges that feeling and reminds herself to give her true presence to the ones who are with her. She could easily get frustrated and angry, emotionally shut down and push people away, but years of working on self-awareness have given her insight into this behavior and she uses the tips below to bring herself back to the present moment and address the issues rather than feel sorry for herself.  Self-awareness and self-regulation have been a big component for her in keeping herself in that steady state.

Schedule your happiness

She told me that she makes sure she does a few things every day that make her very happy. She really enjoys working out so she ensures that she gets those in every day. There are obviously times she cannot do so (like when she gets sick) and on those days, she can tell that she’s starting to slump. Further, she really enjoys reading so she ensures she reads every day for an hour before she goes to bed. Additionally, her environment really matters and she loves nature, so despite living in Dubai, she’s found a neighborhood that has abundant greenery, trees and water.


She has recently lost a few close ones and said that it has given her perspective on life. She speaks to the people she loves often and is grateful for those people. She, like me, lives away from her family, and when I asked her whether she missed them – possibly bordering on wanting to complain about being away from my family- she simply responded with, I call them often. Simple and practical.

Reminders and gratitude

She reminded me that, we as humans, are forgetful. And that, if one is to look at spiritual practices, they are reminders, prayer is a reminder to be grateful, certain commemorations of great personalities are reminders of who we can be. She takes these spiritual practices as opportunities to remind herself of the several things that she has been blessed with and bringing herself back to a place of remembering.

Joy and Peace are reachable

In a world where we are surrounded by several images and messages. A world drowned in highlight reels, I found this conversation incredibly enlightening and simultaneously very practical and simple. Joy, contentment and peace are indeed, very within our reach. We just have to decide, become self-aware and take the steps towards them.


  • Saara Ali


    Saara is a lawyer and writer based out of Dubai. She started writing in 2011 where she was moved to share the amazing work the foundation she was working at in Tanzania was doing. Her work has evolved and reveals her love for human connection, potential and the power of the written and spoken word. While fascinated by new cultures and languages, she is especially intrigued by the common thread that runs through us and the universal truths that bind us all.