Mindfulness and Happiness

Mindfulness = Happiness?

Scientifically, the answer is YES.

Mindfulness refers to a state of mind characterized by awareness and attention in the present moment, and by an accepting, curious, and non-judgmental attitude.

The idea behind modern mindfulness training is that we can decrease stress and increase well-being by changing our relationship to our experience. Mindfulness means being present no matter what we’re doing, and being aware and curious about what’s going on inside and around us–without judgement. It means accepting experience, even when we don’t like it, and it means knowing that, often, everything is truly okay—right this minute—and doesn’t need to change. The application of these concepts in everyday life helps limit some of our most ubiquitous mental health scourges, including sleep-walking through our days without really connecting with anyone or anything; the rote pursuit of questionable habits or routines; distracting categorization of every situation or experience as good or bad; and focusing on the past or the future at the expense of the present.

Many people who begin practicing mindfulness meditation report improvements in mood, stress level, and overall quality of life. It seems that practicing mindfulness can improve our quality of life and make us feel happier.

Mindfulness is accessible: anyone can learn about it and anyone can practice it.

Mindful Practices To Live A Happier Life

Be Playful

We need playtime and we need it daily! One of the first scientists to embark in the field of neuroplasticity, Marion Diamond, showed how rats that have toys and playmates inevitably ran mazes more efficiently and also showed growth in an area of their brain (the cerebral cortex) involved with cognitive processing. Play enhances social bonds and social learning—key areas for generating happiness.

How do we figure out what play means to us? This is going to mean different things to different people. What’s playful to you, may not be playful to me. You may enjoy competitive sports, board games, or going out and doing something — anything. Making it prosocial with friends adds another level of engagement.

Be Mindful

Well, you knew I was going to say this one. Years ago, Dan Gilbert and Matthew Killingsworth out of Harvard created an app called trackyourhappiness.org. This app pinged you to see if you were paying attention to what you were intending to pay attention to and how you were feeling (this is a general description). Thousands of people went through this and they found that on average our minds are wandering 46.9% of the time. It also found that the more the mind wandered, the unhappier we were. Now there are a variety of studies pointing the happiness effects of mindfulness on the brain.

Ultimately, mindfulness helps us pay attention to our intentions, here’s a mindful breathing practice to play with daily.

Be Forgiving

We’re all imperfect at practicing what makes us happy. But the better we get at forgiving ourselves for our mistakes, the less dwelling there’ll be and the better we will also get at getting back on track. In Uncovering Happiness you’ll notice the suggestion to practice “Forgive, Investigate and Invite.” Forgive yourself for the time gone by, it’s the past, Investigate what brought you off track so you can learn from it and Invite yourself to begin again.

Also, the better we get at forgiving others, apparently the higher our happiness quotient can go. There’s plenty of research pointing to this, but some of the more informal research by Soul Pancake is more fun (see below):

Be Compassionate

The act of recognizing someone else is suffering with the inclination to want to support them has plenty of science-based correlations to a meaningful and purposeful life. Creating social connection is a major happiness booster, makes important neural shifts in the brain and giving makes it even that much better.

Commit to smiling more, saying thank you, or letting someone merge in front of you in traffic. You can also give financially or volunteer your time. Recognize you are part of a larger network and as my late Grandmother in-law Margie Lipman said in her Ethical Will “Reach out to those who ache for some comfort, search for ways you can lighten their load.”

The Basics – Eat, Sleep, Exercise, Rest

The science seems to be very clear on these (along with probably millions of testimonials). Whenever someone comes to see me in my practice these are the fundamentals I look for. How are you eating, what does your sleep look like, how do you rest and are you exercising? These are all keys to not only happiness, but healthy brain development. Focusing on these basics can create an internal sense of personal control which is correlated with happiness.

It can be overwhelming to consider taking action here, so consider the question, “What do I think I can do?” and then make a plan and go from there.

Take these to heart, weave a bit of them in daily: Daily Practices from the Heart of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (that we stole from Nike) – “Just Do It!”

How to Be Happy

What makes life a joy for some, while a sad and frustration filled journey for others?  It is karma?  It is luck?  Is it disposition?  Is it fate?  I don’t think so.  I think you are supposed to be happy.  You are supposed to be full of joy and wonder, yet somehow, somewhere on this journey, things got out of control and you spiraled into the tedium of everyday life and found your life filled with conflict, suffering and the never ending pursuit of happiness.

How do you get out of this rut now?  How do you find your way back to joy and peace?  Here are 5 tips which I think you will find useful on the journey to reclaim your birthright – fundamental happiness.

1. Understand the Problem:

The first thing you need to do is understand the root cause of your angst.  Why are you so restless and discontented?  Why is your default state not happiness?  To understand this, inspect this very moment of your life and study the situation honestly and openly.  The root cause you will discover is time.

You think in terms of time and time brings in the issue of “becoming” into your psyche.  To put in another way, you are unhappy and bored with your life, because you have believed in an ideal or goal, which you think will make you happy when you will achieve it.  This thirst for the ideal – seeking, destroys the beauty of your life just the way it is in the here and now.  It kills the wonder of the moment and ordinary life.

So drop all your ideals and just attend to your life just the way it is.  This is the pathway to joy.

2. Live Your P assion:

As I explained in the article, Stop the Madness of Self-Discipline, one of the most important things to do in order to live a happy life, is to discover and live your passion.  If you can do this, you will be free from the clutches of society, for you will be doing what you love to do without a care in the world.

You will not be result oriented, as the doing itself will be the reward, and you will have something that no one can take away from you, as it is something that comes from within.

This is also one of the most important lessons for parents to learn.  One of your biggest responsibilities is to help the child discover what it is that he or she loves to do and then help them to do that without concern for survival or success.  Living your passion is one of the most essential aspects for living a happy and meaningful life.

3. Have Trust:

Our faith and trust in life is constantly challenged and over time eroded by all the endless failures and problems we are forced to endure.  This loss of trust then leads to a life filled with worry and anxiety.  We become obsessed with self-security and become completely immersed in our pursuit of happiness.  So instead of living in trust and going with the flow, we become machines of fear and worry and have no peace within.

This peace and ability to live spontaneously comes with just being able to trust.  Not trust someone or some belief, but simply just having trust in life.  This then translates into being carefree and not carrying the burden of self-interest, which bring w ith it g reat freedom and joy.

4. End Isolation and Endless Self-Interest:

All of our endless thinking about ourselves and endless selfish activity isolates us more and more from the whole.  It keeps on putting more and more walls around ourselves and eventually we find ourselves utterly alone and lonely, cut-off from the world, miserable and unhappy.  So you need to change this approach if you indeed what to live a happy life.  You have to simply drop endless self-interest and instead live in a connected way.

Connect with all aspects of life, be a part of the great play of life, connect with nature and others, connect with awareness and intelligence, this will bring you to happiness.  Thinking about yourself, isolates you more and more, so just stop doing that.

5. Mediate:

All of the above tips I have given for being happy, are really a part of meditation.  It is living a mediate life.  Mediation is the process which starts in time and then transcends it.  So if you really want to be happy, want to be at peace, meditation is the way.

If you have more tips for being happy that hav e worked for you, please do share them with us in the comments section below.  Also, if you like this or any other article on the website, please share with your friends and family or Facebook, Twitter, etc.  I appreciate your support.

Spiritual Happiness For The Ordinary Person

SPIRITUAL HAPPINESS FOR THE ORDINARY PERSON

This page is my offering of spiritual happiness for ordinary people only – so if you’re a bit special, or a bit beautiful, or a bit out of the ordinary in any way, please leave now. We will refund your money at the door.

While the OOO’s (Out Of the Ordinaries) make their way out, lets talk about spiritual happiness.

What is it?

My old copy of Webster’s Dictionary defines spiritual as: Pertaining to or consisting of spirit; not material; incorporeal; pertaining to the mind or intellect; mental; intellectual; pertaining to the soul or its affections as influenced by the Divine Spirit; proceeding from or controlled and inspired by the Holy Spirit etc. etc. etc.The same defines happiness as: The state or quality of being happy etc. Click this link for Wikipedia’s definition of spirituality

In my experience, spiritual happiness is quite rare, and characterized by the following traits: serenity, kindness, humility, non-materialistic and of course the happiness just flows from them. A spiritually happy person is in tune with and accepting of themselves.They feel no need to impress anyone or to compete.They love themselves (not in an egotistical way) the way they are. So, is your spirit happy?
No? The best way I know to achieve a happy spirit is to give it room to emerge by learning meditation

Studies have shown that children are more resilient when they have some kind of spiritual belief system.Well, guess what?

A child + a few years + a few kilos = you and me! So, we are ALL more resilient when we have spiritual beliefs.If you clicked the above Wikipedia link you would have read that a part of spirituality is the perception of a connection to ‘something bigger’ than oneself.This does not mean we should cart ourselves and everyone we care about to church every week.However, if you do attend church and have found an organized religion in which you can express your own spirituality that suits your needs, continue merrily on your way!

Hands up who knows someone ‘holier than thou’ who attends church every week, may even be on the committee and yet they can’t speak with civility to their own family? Okay I can’t quite see down the back………………oh yes, yes that’s nearly everybody here! Thanks you can put your hands down now.The scary part is that person thinks they are spiritual/holy! They honestly believe walking into a building on a regular basis and being nice to the people there (whilst being an -no can’t say that on the net- a ‘less-than-nice person’ six days a week) makes them heaven-bound! Go figure!! Their God (or whoever) must only work church hours!

There are obviously many thousands of people for whom organized religion works – but the numbers of dissatisfied churchgoers are climbing. Congregations are realizing that listening to a man in a frock preaching from a rule book written centuries ago is not of much real relevance in their daily lives. People are searching for a more personal connection with ‘something bigger’ and yet many more have found it.

If you have tried an organized religion but it didn’t sit well with you, or you haven’t even dipped your toe in the water, this page may be the answer to your prayers (pardon the pun).Please be aware this is not a criticism of churches. Many spiritually happy people do attend church as a way of expressing their own spirituality – not merely to ensure gaining admission upstairs when their big day arrives! I’m not here to tell you what to believe, but given the previous show of hands, it would be very difficult to believe spiritual happiness is found inside a building.

Well then, where is it?

Whether you think you’re a spiritual being or not, your spirituality is inside of you! Not in a building, nor in a rule book (but there are some greatbooks which can help you form your opinions/beliefs). We are all spiritual beings i.e. we all have spirits. If you are ignoring yours, you may be an unhappy person, or you may have an otherwise ‘perfect’ life, but experience a gnawing emptiness you can’t quite put your finger on. If I’m describing you, why not open your heart and mind to your spiritual side? Closed-minded people, having no spiritual beliefs, are ignorant of the life-changing potential they are eschewing. Everything you need is within you – you just need to find it!

Who do I ask?

It is not necessary to find yourself a ‘guru’ (especially if they want thousands of dollars for the pleasure of speaking to you). Spiritual happiness, like any form of happiness is an individual, personal state. It is not up to anyone else to tell you what will suit you or lead to your spiritual happiness.

Do you know someone with a happy spirit?

If you are well acquainted, they wouldn’t mind answering your probing questions. If you’re not well acquainted, I should imagine they’d be flattered by your opinion of them as ‘happy’ and by your intrigue as to their spirituality. But be careful here, numerous people put on a happy exterior for the world when they’re really miserable inside. Don’t let ‘happy’ be your only search criteria – you should also know this person is kind, content and ‘together’.This person also need not become your guru. They are just an information source. Gather information. Ask different people. Read. Make your own decisions. Visit some organizations of interest on fact-finding missions (be careful here too – there are some scary, weird cults out there that prey on the vulnerable, so take someone older and wiser with you). Become your own guru. The knowledge and experience you collect on your journey will slowly form your belief system. Don’t believe everything you hear. Follow your intuition.

You are your own best guide.

Why Do I Need Spiritual Happiness?

When you develop your own spiritual beliefs,you will find life is easier. Depending on how long you search and how deep you delve, you may also find answers to the “Why am I here?” type of questions. They will be answers that make sense to you (and possibly only you!).
Expanding your mind to encompass a ‘big picture’ view of your life really helps you to make sense of it all. Making some sense of the universe will assist you to overcome lifes’ hurdles. That sense of connection to something bigger will comfort you in times of need, reassuring you that you are not in this life alone.

Imagine, just for a moment, you are walking through a seemingly endless, dark tunnel, alone. You trip over several times when the ground becomes uneven, but still you stumble on, not even aware of why you are here or your ultimate destination. Your awareness is limited to the fact that you are in this tunnel and one day you won’t be.

NOW imagine that suddenly you become aware of a presence by your side! A welcome presence. A welcome presence with a torch! This presence knows the terrain and is able to help you negotiate your way through the bumps and troughs.You trust this presence to help you reach a destination of which you were previously unaware. It also explains why you are in this tunnel to begin with. At a certain point in your journey, the presence bids you to turn around as it shines its torch on the path you have trod. To your amazement, the bumps and troughs form a brilliant pattern to which you were oblivious during your negotiation of them!! Everything now makes sense: the tunnel, the bumpy terrain and the need to move forward. This presence has given you a perspective you would never have discovered alone.

And that perspective my friends, is spiritual happiness.

When Do I Need Spiritual Happiness?

The very short answer to this question is: every minute of every day.
You will find the more spirituality you discover inside yourself, the more often you use it. The more often you become aware of a connection to something bigger, the stronger that connection becomes. The stronger that connection becomes, the happier you become, spiritually. Unfortunately, there may be times in your life when your spiritual beliefs are all you have to keep you going. Don’t be one of the many, many people who don’t form their beliefs until their world comes crashing down around them. If you spend some time now really working out what feels right for you, then, should your world come crashing down, your safety net will be firmly in place.

If you are a parent, its even more urgent to get your spiritual happiness together, so you can be a great example to your kids.(See comment above re resilience!) But bear in mind, whatever suits you now may not be what feels right to them when they grow up. They, too will need time and space to explore their own spirituality.

How Do I Find This Spiritual Happiness?

I covered a lot of this answer above under ‘Who Do I Ask?’ when I talked about finding someone you admire and asking them about their spiritual side. Also very carefully, explore some churches/spiritual organizations that may pique your interest. Also, read, read, read, choosing the information that fits well with you, to take on board.
However, there is one more very important action you can take if you are to plumb the depths of your own spirituality…….and that is learning meditation. You may be shocked to learn just how many different religions and philosophies extol the virtues of meditation. Everyone from Catholics to Buddhists use meditation in some form or other.

If you’d like to try (or continue) meditation in a casual, friendly, relaxed environment, you could try my meditation classes in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Read what happy Melbourne clients have to say about them.

To find the spiritual happiness you deserve, explore the spirituality within you. Define your belief system and live it!

A happy life is incomplete without spiritual happiness!

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

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A molecular biologist turned Buddhist monk, described by scientists as “the happiest man alive,” demonstrates how to develop the inner conditions for true happiness.

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Meditation: A Course To Pave Your Happiness

Meditation: A Course To Pave Your Happiness

A busy executive took leave to attend a meditation course conducted by a well-known saint. At the end of the course, he told the saint, “Revered Sir, I agree that meditation gives peace of mind. It takes out lots of pressure out of our mind. And you say that I need to do meditation at least one hour daily. Sir, we business executives are very busy people. I am unable to spare one hour for meditation”

The saint replied, “The purpose of meditation is to make your mind pressure-free and pave way for your happiness. If you don’t find time for your happiness, continue to live the miserable life”

Meditation is the best thing that can happen to an individual. Its positive effects are tremendous. It rejuvenates your personality. It totally transforms you. Its ultimate goal is not self improvement, but self-realization, which is a much, much higher level.

Meditation is not done for any resultBut results are ingrained in its vibrations. Don’t have an iota of doubt about it. It makes your body fit. It tunes your mind. It annihilates the demon in you. It establishes divinity within you. Slowly and steadily, it changes your entire thought process for the better. When your thought process is changed, your action process is also changed.

Meditation sets the process to remove all the negative tendencies within you. In this modern materialistic world, we live the life of many pressures. We cry in anguish, we have forgotten the art of crying in joy. We have created numerous scientific appliances to make our life more miserable. Instead of our using the appliances, the appliances do make use of our life.

Meditation is the only alternative to restore the balance in your lifeWhole world including the rich nations of the world has realized that the real road to happiness is through meditation and spiritual exercises. Better late than never

Meditation is the firing of the light missile within youIts range is limitlessIts purpose is dynamic construction, not mindless destruction

The deeper it penetrates, the more beautiful will be your experiences. It will generate more peace of mind

Seeking reverence for meditation, the business executive bowed to the saint and thanked him without a further query.

How meditation helps in achieving happiness


Article by Andrew James

How meditation helps in achieving happiness

Meditation offers us techniques to relax our mind and body. Meditation offers physical as well as inner peace. Meditation is an age-old technique of healing stress, anxiety and depression. An activity that may relieve you from stress, anxiety and depression can reduce the negative energies in our system leading to happiness. In this way, meditation plays an important role in helping us achieve happiness.

Meditation techniques are also quite interesting. Following is an overview of how to start meditation. Keep yourself in a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Then inhale your breath slowly, retain it for sometime and then exhale it slowly. Retain the breath as long as you can hold. Don’t try this too hard. It may prove to be harmful if you try too hard to retain your breath. While you breathe in imagine as if you are inhaling the love, peace of mind, health and while breathing out imagine as if you are exhaling the diseases out, negativity, anger, depression. Meditation involves controlling your mind as per your needs and getting rid of any negative energy in the system and empowering your body through positive vibrations.

Meditation and yoga can be practiced by anyone irrespective of their color or creed. People of any caste and creed who may or may not believe in any religion can practice meditation. Meditation helps us accept any sudden changes in life and empowers us to face them with all our energies. Therefore it should be regarded as an inevitable part of one’s life. The science of meditation is very interesting. It has the ability to relax and soothe our nerves. It helps in keeping our worries and cares aside for sometime. During meditation, the heart rate slows down, the mind calms down and as a whole the thinking power becomes rational. Meditation, in turn, helps in maintaining the blood pressure, blood sugar level and fighting back the heart diseases. If meditation helps you to keep yourself healthy and wise , don’t you think it helps in achieving happiness? Thus meditation is good for your health.

Meditation is the only remedy which does not have a side affect on your body. It can be used for multipurpose. It is all about the mental process which drives away all the negativism and allows the inflow the positivism. When you feel stressed it is really urgent to remove the stress because it hampers your performance, your health and mental state. The weapon that helps you to fight with is none other than meditation.

Meditation and yoga should be practiced as a relaxation technique in a world perpetually short of time. It is one of the most effective ways to adapt ourselves to the changes in life. If we can accept the changes in life then there would be nothing to stop us from being happy. In this sense, meditation may be seen as a means to achieve happiness.

About the Author

Andrew James offers a no cost video showing you step-by-step how to overcome negative thinking patterns. please visit www.stopthenegativewaves.com

20 Minute Yoga Workout for Beginners, Home Exercise Fitness Training Routine, Total Wellness Austin

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The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit

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The remarkable benefits of yoga, which include improved flexibility, balance, muscle tone, endurance, and vitality, only hint at the extraordinary power of this deeply spiritual practice. When adhered to and practiced mindfully, yoga can unlock readers’ full creative potential, their capacity for love and compassion, and ability to find success in all areas of their lives. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga brings spirituality back to yoga. It shows how the Seven Spiritual Laws play a crucial role in yoga’s path to enlightenment while providing readers with a wealth of meditation techniques, mantras, breathing exercises, and yoga poses. Whether a newcomer to yoga or an experienced practitioner, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga is a portal to yoga’s deeper spiritual dimension and a beautiful step to a happier, more harmonious, and more abundant life.

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