Many people overlook mindfulness as a way to generate happiness. Mindfulness is intentionally focusing on the here and now, in this moment. It can also mean a great many things depending on who you ask. Essentially this is a tool and like any tool, it can be used in numerous different ways. Most importantly you can be happier when you incorporate mindfulness into your daily habits.
Specifically, mindfulness can be used to change what we focus on and to change the way we think. Too often we don’t pay attention to what’s going on inside our mind and that makes us victims of our emotions.
We can be in a beautiful place doing fun things with friends, only to find ourselves thinking about work and getting stressed – not actually enjoying the situation we’re in. Likewise, we can have everything we could possibly want in life and not be happier. And it all comes down to what we choose to focus on.
This is why you can use mindfulness as a brilliant tool for making yourself be happier and more at ease with your life. When we catch ourselves venturing into worrying about what might happen or we step back into the past and dig up thoughts that cause sorrow, that snaps us back into the present moment. It’s that awareness that gives us opportunity to make a choice to change our thoughts.
Mindfulness Attitude of Gratitude
Sometimes this is referred to as a ‘attitude of gratitude’. All that effectively means, is that you’re putting yourself in a state of mind where you’re focussing on the things you’re grateful for and you’re happy for. And one very easy way to do that is simply to take a time out at the beginning or end of each day to write down those things and to think about them.
Doing this at the beginning of each day adds a boost of positivity to your day so your off to a good start. You get the day started with a high vibe of energy. Writing three things that you’re thankful for and reflecting on them at the very end of each day will shift your energy to promote a peaceful and restful sleep. Where possible, try to make these different things each day and avoid repetition.
Sometimes these will be obvious things: like your health, like the people you love and like the fact that you have access to food. Focussing on the people you love in particular is a great way to be more grateful to people and this can end up actually improving your relationship with them.
But at the same time, you’re also going to think about those smaller silly things. Maybe you’re grateful for the delicious cereal you’ll have tomorrow? Maybe you’re grateful for the fact that there’s a new film coming out that you’re very excited about? These are all legitimate things!
Now try to carry this over into your daily life. Each time you think of something you don’t have, or that isn’t the way you want it, try to think as well about the things you’re grateful for and what you do have. Don’t have that big flat screen TV? Well just be grateful you have a computer that can watch pretty much any film you can dream of on demand.
Mindfulness Attitude of Generosity
For our purposes, we use the word generosity to refer to the virtue of giving good things to others freely and abundantly. It’s not about just being generous because you have it to give. There is a difference between acts of generosity and creating or cultivating an attitude of generosity. When we embody an attitude of generosity, the good things we share expand out from deep within our hearts as an offering of freedom from fear and harm. There’s no need to fear that I will harm them, or fear that I will cause harm with my words. Generosity doesn’t have any strings attached, such as expectations or reciprocated kindness back.
Cultivating an attitude of generosity can happen in many ways. Certainly, you can give tangible items such as food, clothing, toys, etc. “Paying it forward” at a drive through is a great way to get the energy of generosity flowing. You can also give things such as your talents, time and presence. In today’s environment, being fulling present when someone needs a listening ear can make a difference in so many people’s lives. Remember it’s important to give with respect and humility as we’re equals in the giving relationship.
The benefits of generosity can reach far and wide. In the Greater Science Center White Paper on Generosity, scientists are discovering generosity to be an ally to our health–from positive effects on mortality to physical and emotional wellness. When generosity is extended from a place of compassion, it connects us with others through honest, loving engagements that strengthens relationships and communities.