The pursuit of happiness
The definition of mindfulness by the dictionary is “the practice of maintaining a non-judgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” When you master mindfulness, you indulge yourself in life more thoroughly as opposed to just letting the days pass by. Being present in the now is the most important and will bring you true joy.
Everyone seeks happiness in life and there is no secret to it. Happiness cannot be a constant state of emotion, life will always come with bad days. This balance is what will make every day sustainable and having gratitude for what we have. We all have a perception of who we think we are in our heads but that is your ego telling you who you are. Your identity is made up so don’t let thoughts overtake you and make you believe things that aren’t true. Sometimes you are doing better than you think you are, believe in your path and enjoy the journey instead of chasing the destination.
A Therapists guide
- It is important to breathe and take a moment to not be so harsh on yourself. Acknowledge your emotions and don’t feel guilty for feeling the way you do. This is life, it comes with challenge and joy. Sometimes your thoughts will find a way to sabotage you and think the worst. You are not your thoughts. Find a way to express your emotions, through exercise, creativity, or any other hobby.
- Start your day with a morning meditation or yoga. Breathe and inhale air as your attention comes to the present moment. If you feel as though you are losing focus then bring all of your attention to your breathing. Think about everything you are grateful for and all of your goals as you envision the best version of yourself.
- We always want more no matter what we achieve so embrace the present moment and how you once wanted this too.
- Go for a walk and plan for a productive day ahead even if it is a small task at hand like doing laundry or running errands. I like to take a walk in the park with my morning coffee, I sit down on a bench or on a picnic blanket and admire the beauty of nature.
- Journal your thoughts and emotions. Every little thought you have, don’t be afraid of writing it down and write it with no judgement.
- Eat healthy and frequent meals. I sometimes forget to eat and it gets to a point where I start to get hangry. This affects my mood dramatically so it is important to listen to your body. Studies show that green tea, dark chocolate, and honey all help the brain and body to relieve stress and anxiety. Try to eat at least a fruit a day if you don’t already, more vegetables and foods rich in protein. A balanced diet is the start to a healthy body and mind. Mindfulness is not just about your thoughts and the way you feel, when your body is healthy internally it makes it easier. Eating slowly also allows your food to digest properly to improve stress levels.
- Read mindfulness books such as The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Studies to prove mindfulness and a better quality of life
Mindfulness was shown to improve sleep quality in older adults in a study by Black, at al. Furthermore, according to Davidson, et al, an 8-week mindfulness meditation program resulted in greater antibodies to the influenza vaccine compared with the control group. In 2016, McGill, et al found that “the association between mindfulness and relationship satisfaction is statistically significant. He suggested that when an individual is more mindful, they are more satisfied in their romantic relationship. There are many more research articles and studies that thoroughly test the relationship between mindfulness and health. There is a strong correlation and therefore looking after one’s mind is as important as the body.
Written by Maryam Fazalzadeh