A Recipe for Your Personal Happiness — Start With Gratitude & Be Compassionate!
“I feel the capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest significance”.
Those are the heartfelt words of the Catalan cellist and conductor, Pablo Casals.
The Compassionate You
Your capacity to care for yourself and others and strengthen this through daily Mindfulness Practice and a more Mindful approach to life is a gift you can give yourself starting today.
Resilience & Emotional Intelligence
Also Mindfulness can increase Personal Resilience and Emotional Intelligence, as well as helping you to feel just simply more Grateful and in turn Happier!
So, a question — “Would you like to be 10% happier?”
Not a bad aim and perhaps not that hard to achieve with just a few simple adjustments to your life in general.
But Why Settle for That?
Do you want to feel really happy? Happier than a Happy Thing who’s cornered the market in — Happiness?
That sounds like the deal, so let’s start Right Here, Right Now!
The Great Russian Novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, wrote, “Happiness doesn’t lie in happiness, but in the achievement of it” and herein rests an important and essential truth.
Happiness is actually found in the subjective everyday experience. It isn’t some grand, exotic, mystical, unattainable thing. Nor is it something that only others can experience.
Happiness Is In The Mundane
In fact, it’s found in small things, everyday things, even in the mundane. You just need to know where to look, because in truth everyone can find happiness if she or he looks for it in the right place — &, Yes, that right place is in being Right Here, Right Now.
Happy in the Moment, that’s enough. Each Moment is all we need, no more, no less! (You can Tweet this)
But Be Grateful First
To be able to feel true happiness though, we must first be Grateful — Grateful for Being, &, aware that this is not simply a fact, but also a Gift.
Left to its own devices the Mind — Buddha’s Monkey Mind, or that wee Chimp of the Chimp Paradox — is highly subjective. It will spin how we see things on a very basic level depending on what it’s decided we need from a particular situation.
Whilst our New Brain which is responsible for imagination, planning, rumination and integrating — all the higher order stuff — keeps encouraging our Mind to turn things over and over.
It also questions, revisits and relives the past for us and worries about what the future might be: So, Phew with all this happening in the background before we start anything, no wonder so many of us feel unusually tired and constantly wired which is also something I’m going to talk about in another post for Thrive Global!
So, Try Not to Over Think
It can drive us crazy to over think, but we’re hard wired to do it and then we act impulsively. However, practicing Mindfulness daily brings with it clarity, provides space between thought and action, &, gives us a rather groovy lens through which to view the World afresh.
It enables us to become aware of Awareness, to make it our intention and to pay it our full Attention, moment-by-moment-by-moment-by-moment.
Every New Moment = A New Gift
And every new moment is a new gift — The present moment is really just that — A present!
To become more aware of every moment as it happens is to live gratefully and that is the key to the front door of Happiness.
It isn’t that happy people are grateful, but rather that living gratefully and feeling and expressing gratitude makes us happier and Grateful Living is Mindful Living.
A Gratitude Journal
So, why don’t you start keeping a Gratitude Journal from Today — A wee notebook is all you need and all you need to do is make a note each and every day of three things that you feel particularly grateful for — Do this one, simple thing, and you will be starting your journey to change your Mindset and become Mindful.
We vastly underestimate the power of transforming the Mind, but we can actually begin to do it very easily.
Just A Little Daily Practice
As little as just five minutes a day in fact for eight weeks — can result in measurable changes in the Brain.
And Brain Scans on people who have been practicing Mindfulness on a regular basis have revealed pronounced changes in the Pre Frontal Cortex — particularly to the left side, where the ‘Happiness Bits’ are found.
Positive Emotions Build Resilience
They also build Resourcefulness, turbo charge our Mental Stamina and sharpen our Emotional Intelligence, enabling us to see new possibilities and become Anti-Fragile — A ‘Rubber Ball’ able to bounce back from adversity and set-backs.
And with greater feelings of Gratitude and greater Happiness, comes an increased capacity for compassion, kind curiosity and empathy.
Widen Your Circle of Compassion
Our task must be to free ourselves from the chains of negativity and limited horizons. From thoughtless acts both to our self and others, and from stuckthinking.
We need to “widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty” — & those wise words come from one Albert Einstein, no less.
Compassion is not weakness and to be compassionate is not to be lacking in something. It’s a strength and we need to recognise and accept that compassion towards oneself can lead to an increased sense of Happiness and well Being at all levels.
And Well Being and Wellness is really what it’s all about — For You, For Me, For Society!
Compassion Is Where It’s At
Not only is compassion encouraged as a spiritual and moral pursuit in mass religions, it is also seen as a major healing process for turbulent, or worried minds and our troubled relationships.
Developing compassion is like playing a musical instrument — It’s a skill that can be developed and enhanced with dedicated practice — & Mindful Living and the daily practice of Mindfulness Breathing can put you ahead of the curve here, as you begin to bring to every moment a kind curiosity and acceptance of yourself and others.
Attention In The Moment
Mindfulness will enable you to focus, acknowledge, embrace and really become aware of and pay and give sufficient Attention in the moment, both to the little things and to the much bigger things in your life.
And Well Being and Wellness flows out of that increased sense of individual vitality you will get as you engage in more meaningful activities and feel a heightened sense of relatedness with others.
“Even in the midst of winter, I find within myself invincible summer”
No, unfortunately I can’t take credit for this quote either. In fact, it comes from the French Noble Prize winning author, Albert Camus. Doesn’t it just say it all though!
Sanity & Well Being
And at the end of the day our Sanity means tying our Wellbeing to our own actions — So, choose to act today and free yourself from thoughtless acts, stuck thinking, the chains of negativity and limited horizons. All it takes is a little Mindfulness and I talk much more about Compassion, Empathy, Resilience, Emotional Intelligence, Gratitude and the true nature of Happiness, in my book, ‘Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search Of A Life More Meaningful’.
In other pieces in this occasional series I’ll also be looking at some very practical and easy to do tips for Mindful Living and Mindful Working, including how Mindfulness can help you manage your emotions better in the workplace. So, do look out for these which I hope will also be featured on the new Thrive Global platform that will be launched on 30th November 2016.
And in the meantime you can also follow the continuing journey Uncovering Mindfulness on Twitter @TheMindfulBook.
Paul Mudd is the author of ‘Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search Of A Life More Meaningful’ available on Amazon and www.bookboon.com; the ‘Coffee & A Cup of Mindfulness’ and the ‘Mindful Hacks For Mindful Living & Mindful Working’ series. Through The Mudd Partnership he works with business leaders, organisations and individuals in support of change, leadership excellence and introducingMindfulness. You can find out more about what he does and who he is at www.themuddpartnership.co.uk and he can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org