I say this all the time, mindfulness is such an amazing tool to have in your life. It allows you to deal with any situation in a thoughtful manner and not get stressed out by whatever life throws at you. I am always trying to be more mindful in EVERYTHING I do. It is a continual practice which we could all get better at, and the great thing is that it can be applied to every moment in life.
Today I want to talk about using your mindfulness to cultivate happiness in your life. In particular to choose happiness. Choosing happiness is so simple. Every breath we take we have the choice to choose happiness, but often we forget or don’t have time before the moment has passed. This is where mindfulness comes in..
Practicing mindfulness helps us increase the gap between an event and our reaction to the event. Whatever it may be, good or bad, we are always reacting to things. Usually unhappiness and suffering comes from our reaction and not actually the event itself.
By increasing the time for our reaction to occur it gives us a chance to choose what our reaction will be. This is so so important to remember. WE ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE. Think about it for a bit. How do you want to react to any situation in life? I want to react in a positive, understanding and kind way to whatever happens. Whether that is someone shouting at me or giving me a compliment. I always wish to react in the best way.
When we are able to choose our reaction we are also choosing happiness. When we control our reaction we react in the best possible way, that means we are happy with how things went and it usually means everyone else around us is happy to, because we reacted in a way which was considerate of them also.
Practicing mindfulness is easy. All you have to do is remind yourself to bring your awareness back to the present moment and start paying attention. If you forget then setting a reminder on your phone is a good way to remember, or leave notes around the house, whatever works for you! Focus on your breath to anchor yourself to the present and then open your eyes and try to really notice things. The more you do this the more you will be in the habit of being mindful all the time.
As well as helping us to live in the present and react to situations better, mindfulness also helps us change the story we tell ourselves. We begin to see things more clearly and for what they really are. Often we get upset about things which haven’t even happened but we stress about them and can’t stop thinking about all the negative things which surround this one thing. Mindfulness reminds us that what is going on in our brain is not real. It is just a story we tell ourselves.Recognising this story is false and then changing it to a more positive story is choosing happiness. We make ourselves happy by seeing the world around us in a good light. This change comes from within.
Finally, mindfulness teaches us some valuable skills in life, which help make us happy. We learn gratitude, acceptance and have an understanding of ourselves, others and the world around us. We feel more deeply connected to the people in our lives and can start giving to make them happy. By increasing their happiness it makes us happier. We learn that true happiness does not come from objects or money, but the people around us. We cherish these people and our relationships with them. We hold them sacred and start to live in the present moment so we can give people our time and attention. Eventually we really start living our lives and every day we choose happiness. We choose happiness for ourselves, for others and for the planet.
It is a choice. And mindfulness is the beginning.