16 Mar Create happiness by living mindfully…in every day life
by Dr. Happy
NB: this is taken from The Happiness Institute's free, weekly eNewsletter (to which you can subscribe, FOR FREE – HERE)
..did you know that mindfulness is positively correlated with self-regulatory behaviour and positive emotional states. That is, when we're mindful we're more likely to do the right things and also, feel good! If that weren't enough, increases in mindfulness have also been shown to be related to reductions in stress and improvements in wellbeing. In short, therefore, mindfulness helps us behave better, feel better and ultimately live better!
…mindfulness is something that's very useful if we're wanting to live a healthy and happy life. How then, can you do it and/or to it better? Try some or all of these suggestions…
To begin with it's important to define what it is, exactly, that we're talking about. Mindfulness is a form of self-awareness training adapted from Buddhist approaches to meditation. In recent years it has been adapted for use in a variety of contexts including the treatment of depression, but it also allows for improved mood regulation and notably, the promotion of happiness and wellbeing.
Mindfulness meditation is often confused with relaxation or resting but in reality, it is more a state of being in the present moment and accepting things for what they are (non-judgmental observation is a common definition). When mastered fully, in contrast to the image of sleepiness many people have of meditation, it is more properly a state of wakefulness achieved via clear observation of the world. The following simple but powerful exercises are designed to introduce you to some of the more important, basic principles.
One Minute Exercise: Sit in front of a clock or a watch that you can use to time the passing of one minute. Your task is to focus your entire attention on your breathing, and nothing else, for every second of the minute.
Mindful Eating: This involves sitting down at a table and eating a meal without engaging in any other activities – no newspaper, book, TV, radio, music, or talking. Now eat your meal paying full attention to which piece of food you select to eat, how it looks, how it smells, how you cut the food, the muscles you use to raise it to your mouth, the texture and taste of the food as you chew it slowly. You may be amazed at how different food tastes when eaten in this way and how filling (and enjoyable) a meal can be.
Mindful Walking: In the same way as has been described in the mindful eating exercise, be mindful while walking and concentrate on the feel of the ground under your feet, as well as your breathing while walking. Just observe what is around you as you walk, staying in the present. Let your other thoughts go, just look at the sky, the view, the other walkers; feel the wind, the temperature on your skin; enjoy the moment.
Mindfulness can be applied in pretty much any and every area of your life so start out with the activities described above but then give further thought to how, where and when you can apply mindfulness to anything and everything you do!