Let me introduce my Thai guide to happiness
You may wonder why there should be exactly a Thai way to make oneself happy. Here in this country, it is essential to find happiness, not in the big world of consumption but in little things, like food or socializing.
Many people in Thailand don’t have access to a lot of material goods, not like we are used to in our so-called developed world. Mysticism and body-oriented satisfaction are more important than to collect stuff and hoard money.
I don’t want to say that all Thais go to the Wat every day and give massages to each other all the time. But when they have an exceptional experience, I found out, it most often is things like going and participating in a temple fest or have a massage or do one another’s hair. Eating is a daily satisfaction and probably the most important. What you cant have don’t bother too much, this they learn from the monks.
My List to make yourself happy in Thailand
I have a list of eleven quotes after which I try to guide my path through life. Of course, there are things directing my path that are less controllable but with the right mindset, a big step is done.
- Put yourself first, be the lead actor in your movie.
- Do what you need to do from your feeling in your stomach.
- Forgive yourself for what you did in the past.
- Don’t try to make everyone happy.
- Live today, every day.
- Think positive, say yes to life.
- Use your time wisely.
- Giving is better than taking.
- Set yourself goals and believe in them.
- Do not get addicted.
- Get involved with music.
There is not a number one or most important quote, all of them, all the time, are useful and should never be forgotten.
Thai people are masters in Technics how to make themselves happy
It’s no surprise, that here people know many ways how to make themselves happy. I use people here as my Thai guides for staying optimistic. As Thai people in common are not rich, they learned many technics to make them selfs comfortable without spending a lot of money.
Thais also have a great talent for quickly getting up after every fallback. Just one example, the weather, here the weather is totally extreme. Every year there are floods and once everything is dry and starts getting normal, the annual droughts will have you back in depression again. For me, when I came here first, I thought this is just not normal. Thais take it as it is and never lose their faith.
The first and most important source of happiness for Thai people is their meals they have every day.
Thai food is known to be very delicious but also very spicy. The tastes of food are very important in the Thai kitchen. There are the four plus one tastes every menu or dessert has to be prepared with the right mixture. Sweet, sour, hot and salty plus often also bitter. Wan, piau, phet, and khem plus khom. These tastes release sensation in our mouths and are a great help to find a little happiness every day.
All these tastes come from natural sources and are produced in Thailand.
Sweet, sugar, is made from coconuts and sugarcane but the many fruits eaten here on a daily basis are also a ration of sweets.
Sour, traditionally lime and sour tamarind is used to get the sour taste into a meal. Nowadays too often though it is cheap neutral vinegar that replaces the tasty fruits.
Hot, chilly of course. There is a great variety of different chilies and processed chilies and each meal needs the right ingredients. Our well-known pepper is also used often to give the meal a different taste.
Salt comes from the sea. At the shores below Bangkok, many huge salt farms are harvesting this natural and tasty compound.
Bitter, many dishes are prepared with leaves or flowers that have a bitter taste. Bitter is not as much a happy maker but reminders of medicine and gives a feeling of eating something healthy which again results in some kind of well feeling. When meat meals are made bitter, the bile of the prepared animal is used to get the taste.
One side of taste is not enough
When Thais eat they want the whole bouquet of tastes in whatever they eat. Fruit for example, when they say they are sweet-sour, it means they are very good. Not enough, a lot of fruit, like unripe mangos grapefruit is consumed with a mixture of sugar, salt, and chilly. The thrill in the mouth is amazing and the plates are always empty fast.
You might think an orange juice is perfect as it is, no, here we have to add a tiny little bit of salt to make it perfect.
The use of sugar is a bit overrated here for my taste. I think there is no meal or just nothing edible which does not have to have at least a little bit of sugar added. Ok, sugar releases endorphins, happy hormones but to overuse them, makes people addicted and is not really healthy.
Not all meals in the Thai cuisine are spicy hot but more than half are for sure. Eating hot also releases happy hormones. I sometimes think they make meals real hot so one cannot eat too much of the tasty and more costly stuff and needs to eat more rice with it:)
I love the Thai kitchen and all of the taste varieties. Some I had to get used to, like salt in orange or lime juice but today I quickly miss it when I eat in my home country. It’s all so stale.
A tip, don’t eat big meals at a time, better eat many times a day. You can enjoy the process of eating more often and don’t suffer under a heavy stomach.
To visit a temple Wat can be relaxing and a way to find happiness
I don’t talk about visiting a temple to look at it but to participate in the rituals. A normal Thai Sunday, about every six days, starts with getting up early and getting ready for the Wat. For most women that means getting up real early and prepare fresh meals for the temple. For me, I take a shower, a small breakfast and put on clean clothes, who has, the white set with the temples logo on the back. Around 7 am people start to gather and sit around, some inside some outside smoking or just chatting with people from the neighborhood.
When we arrive first we offer our food to the community by holding it above the head and do a small prayer, then place it on a table or the provided space. A spoon full of prepared rice we serve into each monks rice bowl and the rest comes together with all the cooked rice from other people. That done, most of us kneel down before a Buddha statue, light three incent sticks or the number required and do a prayer remembering our forefathers and family, wishing them and us fortune health and all the best.
By about 8 am the monks sit down at their reserved places, a bit above of all of us and start the prayers, meditation. Everybody sits on the floor with the feet backward, away from the monks and holds their hands together. Texts are recited and repeated by the crowd. After an hour or so it is time to eat.
First, the monks get their meals or let them selfs get served and when they all have we get our own plates. There is always a lot of different meals to eat with fruit and desserts. After another short praising of the food, everyone starts to eat. At around ten we are finished with eating and the ones that like fill up some bags with leftovers for the ones stayed home to guard the homes or elders and small children.
Another set of prayers and recitations, moments of meditation until eleven and the ritual is over. Often my legs hurt and sometimes even fall asleep. I don’t understand a lot of what is said because it is not even the normal Thai language but an ancient language.
When the ceremony is over everybody goes back home with a little bit of happiness and thankful for a change from the everyday life routine. I enjoy the sense of peace and quietness in the Wat as well as the lively eating together all the nice meals made with love.
Over the years I participated in longer meditation rituals, some last the whole day or even deep into the night, and learned techniques of meditation. I could practice these techniques at home as well but only rarely I find the time and patience and the undisturbed situation to do so.
Thai Massage the Absolute
Thailand is famous for the great massages. All over the country, you can get professional oil, foot or other massages for a really good price. In Thai culture, it is normal to touch each other and give massages. Children give it to parents or just anyone to anyone to show friendship and love. It’s a relationship to the body, which people in “developed” countries nearly lost. Being touched makes happy.
In general, taking care of one’s body is an important aspect of the Thai life. Taking showers at least two times a day is normal here. It is quite understandable, in the hot weather, a cold shower is not just to keep clean but also adds a lot to the well being. I often observe my daughter, when she’s upset I suggest she take a shower. When she finished and put on clean clothes, she’s like another person, smiling and happy and all sorrows are forgotten.
In the evening or even during the day Thais love to let someone handle with their hair. They can sit for hours and brush or color or just make a new hairstyle. I love when my wife is rubbing coconut oil into my hair and brushes it and gives me a small massage to the head and neck.
Physical contact makes happy. Hugging is a western way to get a warm feeling and sense of being loved. Here people show their love and respect by massaging each other’s neck a few minutes, just like that.
Something we probably all have experienced at least when we were young. To go to some water somewhere whether it be a river, lake or the sea and enjoy the thrill of playing in the water.
It is so much relieving and fun to just forget the everyday struggles for a while and let ourselves go. I found out while playing in the water this is easily done, for me at least. The sound, view and physical sensation of tolling around in the water are incomparable.
My favorite, of course, is to go to the beach and enjoy the waves. I’d say it should be a must to visit some beaches when coming to Thailand. But waterfalls with their small ponds or just any chance to jump in the water should not be missed.
Many lakes and rivers look a bit muddy here but I don’t care, this is natural dirt and after a shower, at home, everything is washed off but I had the chance to have fun for a while.
A way to gain happiness is to hear the music. In Thailand music is playing somewhere all the time. There would be no temple fest without music. Nowadays Thais love to open their smartphones and play UTube sounds where ever they are.
Sweet, romantic music is the favorite in Thailand. For hours we listen to heartbreaking tunes about lost love or other sad themes. It seems to be a comforter for the people here and I start getting used to it my self.
Thais love to sing. Karaoke is very popular here and some are really good at it too. An evening enjoying sweet music and eat and drink with friends and family is one of my favorite ceremonies.
Our unique guided trip to the southern Thailand
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