On April 27th 2013, Shazia Omar and Merrill Khan launched a co-authored book called Intentional Smile on how to be happy. The book was launched at Red Shift Café.The event revolved around a discussion on happiness and how this elusive state could be achieved using concepts of well-being psychology.
The authors defined core concepts in well-being psychology such as gratitude, positive energy and the “law of attraction” (what you put out, you will draw back in). "Gratitude is the key to happiness," said Shazia Omar, speaking at her book launch. "Any time you find yourself grumpy or angry, rephrase your thoughts with ones of gratitude. For example, rather than thinking, 'Uffo, I'm stuck in traffic', you might think, 'Wow, I'm glad I'm alive and have the opportunity to be relaxing in traffic."
Shazia Omar is a well being psychologist, yoga teacher and author of the book “Like a Diamond in the Sky”. Merrill Khan is a child counsellor and teacher. Merrill said, "To change your life, all you have to do is change your mind." She discussed how affirmations, awareness and smiling more often elicit positive energy in the person as well as the environment. The benefits of acupressure and other eastern healing practices were also discussed.
Lara Salam, who has worked for companies such as Disney and National Geographic in the past created all the graphics in this colourful book.
Other guests were invited to contribute to the discussion. Inshra Shakhawat Russell shared a stop-motion-film on colour. Shaveena Anam, Palki Ahmad and Samir Obaid sang songs about happiness. Kolpotoru dance troop performed a dance. Art of Living breath techniques were demonstrated and core concepts from Reiki were discussed. The main message of the evening was that it is possible to find healthy options for fun and entertainment in Dhaka City.
One minute of silence was observed for the victims of the Savar tragedy and prayers were sent to their families. This is indeed a dark time for Dhaka, the authors said, but we need to stay positive in order to make positive changes in the world around us.
Intentional Smile is available for purchase at Red Shift Cafe, Omni Books, Book Worm and Jatra.