Mindfulness is the key to happiness because it helps us detach ourselves from negativity and focus on the moment instead. And if we’re too preoccupied with what shouldn’t be happening in our lives then happiness will never happen.
Mindfulness is also a practice that can help you relieve stress and anxiety in your daily life by focusing on your breath or body movements, which are things that you have control over. Plus, mindfulness has been shown to improve sleep quality as well as reduce chronic pain and depression symptoms and overall improve your psychological health – all without any side effects! In other words, mindfulness offers many benefits for physical and mental health while simultaneously helping people achieve more happiness.
In this post, I want to show you how when you practice mindfulness and mindful thinking improves both mental and physical health outcomes as well as why it’s worth practicing. The benefits of a mindfulness practice are numerous so what are you waiting for?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice of a mental processes that focuses on being acutely aware of the present moment, without judgement or criticism. In other words, mindfulness teaches you to focus on the current situation instead of your preconceived ideas about it. However, this isn’t as easy as it seems because humans have been taught from a young age to think about their past mistakes, which are rooted in fear.
For instance, if you failed a math quiz then your instinctual response might be to cringe because you’re afraid of failing another one or being judged by your peers. And when in comes in the present moment, this type of thinking prevents us from experiencing happiness in its most raw form.
In another example, let’s say that you’re having a good time with your friends at the bar on Friday night when suddenly they all decide to leave. Of course, it can be irritating because you might have wanted to stay out longer – but instead of thinking about how much fun you could have had or what your plans were before you went out, your mind must focus on the negative. And this type of thinking prevents us from being truly present in the moment because our minds are constantly conjuring up past or future scenarios.
On the other hand, when you practice mindfulness, you’ll be able to fully appreciate all of life’s moments because it forces your mind not to wander and make assumptions. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on the here and now which is present in everything we do. And this is because mindfulness means maintaining your connection to the present, you to establish that present-time mental state where there’s no fear of judgement or failure – instead life becomes about enjoying all aspects of it.
Why Does Mindfulness Reduce our Stress and Anxiety?
Practicing mindfulness helps with stress reduction because it helps us detach ourselves from our bodily sensations and our negative emotions, focusing on the moment instead. And, if we’re too preoccupied with what shouldn’t be happening in our lives, then happiness will never happen. Mindfulness practices are about being in the moment and focusing on one thing.
When we focus on something, we become more attuned to it. We tune out everything else and only focus on that one thing until we need to refocus somewhere else. For example: If you’re eating a yummy pie (like apple) and decide to focus on the taste, texture, and scent in your mouth, in what other ways can you describe the pie? If you’re driving, focus on how it feels to turn the steering wheel or press down on the gas pedal.
Basically, being mindful is training ourselves to have moment to moment awareness and be less distracted by surrounding factors that are irrelevant to what we are currently doing. This is also why it is often part of Cognitive behavioral therapy.
Here are some other mindfulness techniques to add to your mindfulness practice:
- Focus on the sensations you’re feeling at this very moment – do a body scan. Notice your body sensations – where you can feel your breath- in your lungs, chest, or nose? If you can’t notice it right away, try saying “breathe” to yourself over and over again until you do. Then, try and tune into your breath as often as you can throughout the day.
- Observe yourself and others without judgment. Instead of making judgements about how we should be feeling or what we think is right, simply observe everything as it is- not good or bad; just different streams of consciousness flowing together. (If we judge everything as good or bad, we miss out on the opportunity to form a deeper connection with whatever we’re looking at.)
- Keep your focus when you walk. Don’t move your body in fast or stiff motions- instead of trying to do something, simply try and stop doing things like making noise with every step you take. (This is important because it helps us tune into ourselves and everything else. We start to realize that we like the things around us, but instead of using them to get what we want, we can use them for something better.)
- Try eating with your eyes closed; this mindful awareness makes you focus on how food feels (texture) or tastes (fragrance) instead of making it about your next meal.
- Look at yourself in the mirror and don’t say anything for five minutes. Just look, listen to the noise in your head, and notice how many times you think, “I should or shouldn’t be feeling this.” (This is an important reminder that we’re all just people, and we’re constantly having random thoughts that don’t mean anything.)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a Tool to Become Happier
To become happier, deal with anxiety symptoms, physical pain or reap mental health benefits, we need to connect with our own emotions and be aware of them. It’s not about denying and hiding from how we feel but acknowledging and feeling it.
We all tend to feel embarrassed, angry or even heartbroken at the time – but how we deal with these feelings can determine if we will ever heal and move on from them or if they will stay with us forever. In order to bring happiness into our lives as a permanent fixture, it is vital that we take some time out for ourselves each day to focus on all those positive things that make us happy and to be in the present moment.
Bringing yourself into the present moment could include meditating, taking a bath or cooking an elaborate meal. We must also learn to reframe negative thoughts as positive, or as a challenge rather than a problem.
We may not be living the life we planned for, but it is our life. And if we’re too preoccupied with what shouldn’t be happening in our lives, then happiness will never happen. Mindfulness is the key to attaining a happy and fulfilling life. It helps us detach ourselves from negativity, focusing on the moment instead. When you let go of all your expectations and enjoy each day as it comes without fear or judgment, you can find peace and contentment in your everyday experience.
Practicing mindfulness is something that anyone can do anywhere at any time and is a great way to improve the time you do have. All you need to do is take a few minutes out of your day to focus on something different than what’s going on around you: breathe deeply; listen intently to the world around you; smell your favorite scent. When you return to your daily activities, you’re going to find that life is just a little bit better than before.
5 Easy Ways to Get Started with Mindfulness
1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
There are many ways to be mindful, but it always boils down to two things: being in the present moment and paying attention. To achieve these goals, people often turn to mindfulness meditation or breath work as a way of calming the mind and entering into a meditative state. However, there is an important difference between the two practices that can lead some people astray.
Meditation does not require any physical movement – in fact, they discourage it because one might find themselves unable to focus on anything else if they do so – whereas with breathwork you must consciously control your breathing patterns over time which may cause distraction from the task at hand. The idea behind both methods is essentially the same: clearing out thoughts and focusing on just one thing for a period of time for that present centered awareness. The premise is solid, but the execution may vary based on what type of mindfulness exercises you are doing.
2. Yoga and Tai Chi are Great for Improving Mindfulness
A recent trend in mindfulness training and suggested by top mindfulness practitioner has been to combine it with physical exercises such as yoga or Tai Chi, where breathing patterns are just another part of the movement that is being created during the course of each activity. This method can be beneficial because it appeals to a wider audience of people, but the essence is still that of meditation.
In fact, one could just as easily do yoga or Tai Chi without thinking about their breathing at all and still perform the exercise correctly. On the other hand, with formal meditation you are trying to control your breathing in order to signal a change in mental awareness which is what really makes those activities into a mindfulness meditation in your everyday life.
3. Do Breath Work as Part of Your Mindfulness Practice
When you practice a breathing technique, the goal is to focus on inhaling and exhaling, so if you find yourself distracted by movements in your body or any thoughts that enter your mind then it may be time to deepen your focus. However, there are some breathing techniques where it can help to breathe in a specific pattern, such as breathing in for four seconds and out for six. In those instances, it may be helpful to count your breaths or focus on a meditative object which you can use to track how long the exercise has been going on.
When counting breaths, five is a good number because it creates a rhythm that you can work with in terms of inhaling and exhaling. If you breathe in for four seconds then hold your breath for six, that means with every exhale you will be holding it in for two seconds, so the count would go like this: “one thousand, two one thousand…three one thousand” and so on until you reach five.
4. Take Mindfulness walks
As you walk, pay attention to the sensations in your body and your present moment awareness. How do your feet feel? How does the rest of the body compensate for changes in balance? Note how your arms swing as you walk. Become more aware of your surrounding environment, not just practically (avoiding puddles is important), but also with an open mind, enjoy the immediacy of sights, sounds and smells. Open up your senses, breathe and take it all in.
Mindful walking gets its benefit from its simplicity and is most successful when you are in the engaged. It is free and you don’t need anything equipment to do it, only somewhere to walk. And it can easily fit into your daily routine and lead you to a more mindful life and increased well being.
5. Mindful Eating
With this mindfulness practice one is able to become more conscious awareness of their physical self and body, which in turn allows for the experience of physical sensations to be interpreted through a non-judgmental attitude. This type of mindful eating can lead to an increased awareness of emotions, moods, and thoughts.
With mindful eating one might find that they will enjoy food more because they are savoring the flavors before swallowing. By being more mindful throughout the day people may also find that they are living with increased quality, which can lead to increased happiness.
“Eating Mindfully” is a new phrase used by researchers to promote mindful eating as a way of preventing obesity and increasing positive body awareness. They say it’s an “easy-to-learn but difficult-to-master” skill, but it’s the easiest way to lose weight.
The idea is that when you eat while watching television or working at your computer, for example, you end up wolfing down your food. You don’t even notice the taste because of the distractions. Eating while distracted can result in obesity, type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of heart disease.
You may be thinking that you do not need to lose weight, but mindfulness can help you eat healthier by making sure your mind is with your body when you are eating. This means being aware of the food on your plate and what it tastes like, rather than focusing on other things while you eat. When you are not practicing mindfulness during mealtime, you tend to eat more, and it can have a negative affect on your digestion.
Practicing Mindfulness Will Reap Many Rewards
So, you see that practicing mindfulness is all about focusing on the present – when you walk, when you eat and when you just are. It is practiced by combining meditation with yoga to train people how to focus, relax and build better concentration skills. Using mantras can help as well.
Mindfulness has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression and stress in people with these conditions. It can also improve your physical well being by reducing physical and psychological symptoms which leads them having a better attitude towards themselves and is a great self improvement too!
When mindfulness is practiced consistently it helps an individual detach themselves from negativity, instead of focusing on what shouldn’t be happening in their life. If you are too preoccupied with things that are NOT happening right now, happiness will never happen for you! So be present, be mindful and you will be happier as a result.