Mindful Happiness – 5 Ways mindfulness makes you happy
“The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now.” Robert G. Ingersoll
What is mindful happiness?
Mindfulness brings and maintains your focus on the present moment. By doing so, you are not to dwelling on the past or the future and you are taming your mind from constant distractions. It’s about being aware of what’s going on inside us and around us without judgment. (You can read the article on how to do a simple mindful breathing meditation here).
Based on this, you could say that mindful happiness is experiencing happiness by living in the moment, rather than living in the past or future, accepting yourself and your thoughts without judgement, and consciously savoring all the goodness within you and around you.
Let’s expand on how mindfulness affects your happiness.
1. You don’t live in the past
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” Rick Warren
Every moment we spend dwelling on the past is a moment stolen from the present. Having said that, it’s important to look on the past to capture lessons and treasure memories but aside from that, the best use of your energy and focus would be in the present moment.
2. You spend less time worrying about the future
“Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrows troubles, it takes away todays peace.” – unknown
Keeping your mind focused on the present moment means your mind isn’t constantly worrying about the future.
Research shows that 85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.
3. You appreciate more of the simple things in life; simply by noticing them
“Life is full of beauty. Notice the bumble bee, the small child and the smiling faces. Smell the rain and feel the wind.” Ashley Smith
When you are mindfully going about your day you notice things that perhaps you hadn’t noticed before or over time have forgotten to notice. It could be simple pleasures such as the warmth of the sun on your skin, the scent of a flower or the feel of water on your body as your shower. Take the time to notice the beauty around you. Engage your senses; feel, taste, touch, sound and sight to truly experience the moment.
4. You learn to accept thoughts, for what they are.
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make our world. Buddha
Our brain produces between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day (National Science Foundation). With that many daily thoughts it’s understandable that some maybe pleasant and others not so. Mindfulness teaches you to notice and accept thoughts. If less than desirable thoughts enter your mind, do not judge yourself on these. Notice them and let them go.
Additionally, with mindfulness you learn to be able to bring your mind back into focus on the present moment therefore when your mind wanders in a direction that isn’t helpful, you have a tool to help bring it back. (For example, just bring your attention back to the present moment, by focusing on your breathing).
5. You tame the voice in your head – your inner critic
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” Dalai Lama XIV
We all have two voices in our head, the helpful inner coach and the hindering inner critic. By becoming more mindful and in tune with which voice is being given more power, you have the ability to either stay with that train of thought or to move onto more empowered thinking. You learn to simply give more power to your inner coach and less to your inner critic.
Being mindful can bring you happiness. It helps develop a clearer and more focused mind and builds emotional strength.
In summary, learn from and treasure the past, have a vision for the future and keep your energy and focus on making the best of the present moment.
Ted Talk – “Want to be happier”
Harvard Researcher, Matt Killingsworth’s shares his research on how mind wandering causes unhappiness. We’re often happiest when we’re lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.