Mindfulness and Happiness

You can not imagine how many people I meet looking to reach the same goal. Each person does not describe their problem(s) in the same words, however, the theme of their pain remains the same. Something is missing, something has been forgotten and many things have added up over time; they end up here in my office looking for solutions. The commonality is that there is a lack of fulfillment and happiness.

It’s important to know that happiness is subjective. What makes one person happy may not make another person happy and vise versa. Researchers have found that 40% of happiness lies in intentional activity – things we have control over (Lykken, 1999; Killingsworth 2016). Positive emotions, motivation, effort, commitment, variety, social support, and effective health habits also are important factors in measuring happiness.

Happiness, real, true and unaltered comes from within. It is created in a present moment when our minds are not thinking, judging, or labeling our experiences or individuals in our lives. It is something we create by generating the “right conditions.” We need love, work, and a connection to something larger than ourselves to experience happiness. (Haidt, 2006). We may think that by generating the right conditions we are creating fake happiness. I challenge you to think differently. Instead, think that by having this new found information that you have a more efficient way of being happy. The more complicated part of creating the right conditions is knowing what conditions to create for yourself to experience happiness more often.

Mindfulness has been a proven tool to bring about happiness internationally. The result is the ability to make choices that lead to success, abundance, health on various levels and support positive relationships (Scott, 2015). Sounds magical, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, there isn’t any magic; there is a lot of hard work.

Let’s start with understanding what mindfulness is. The definition of mindfulness, as per google, is a mental state achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, emotions, body sensations or experiences in a non-judgmental way.

There are many mindful activities we can partake in order to lift our spirits. The most important aspect of “creating the right conditions” is that we must consciously and actively participate. Below is a list of 7 activities that will help an individual be mindfully happy through activating the 40% we can control our happiness.

1. Practice gratitude

2. Practicing acts of kindness

3. Developing social connections

4. Managing stress

5. Focusing on the present moment

6. Committing to goals

7. Taking care of our bodies

Through engaging in these activities one will control their actions in a way they never thought possible. Take a look at the list and start with an activity that you believe will be the most realistic to accomplish and move through the list until you’ve hit every aspect. This will be no easy task and it may take years of practice. It will even take a few failed attempts. Do not give up on yourself as you can see you are in more control than you think.

Haidt, J. (2006). The happiness hypothesis: Finding modern truth in ancient wisdom. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Lykken, D. (1999). Happiness: What studies on twins show us about nature, nurture, and the happiness set-point. New York, NY: Golden Books
Scott, E. (2015). The link between happiness and health. Retrieved April 8, 2016 from http://stress.about.com/od/happinessandpositivity/a/happiness_and_health.htm?p=1

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