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How to Make Your Mind Happy: 5 Secrets to Mindfulness by TIME

Stashed in: @bakadesuyo, Interesting Tidbits

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Here’s how to be more mindful and happy:

  • Watch Your Mind For 5 Minutes: Yeah, it’s often a crazy mess of thoughts you take wayyyy too seriously.
  • You Are Not Your Thoughts: If you had a broken arm, you wouldn’t say, “I am broken.”
  • Label Your Thoughts And Feelings: Put a frame around them. This dampens the emotions.
  • Don’t Just React To Thoughts. Decide: Ask yourself, “Is it useful?”
  • Be Compassionate: Only by being able to get close to the pain of others can you really help them.

You’re not gonna be the Mayor of Mindfulness City by tomorrow. It takes time. But you’ll get better. And something that really helps is meditation.

Plenty of research shows the benefits of meditating but what’s its connection to mindfulness, you ask?

Meditation helps you practice the elements of mindfulness in a very controlled setting. It’s like going to the gym for your mindfulness muscles:

  • By quietly focusing on your breath you see those random thoughts bubble up and you learn to let them go.
  • You use “noting” to label troublesome thoughts.
  • You strengthen your attention by continually returning to concentrating on your breathing when you get distracted. Stronger attention means less mind-wandering and more happiness.

But whether you meditate or not, what’s most important is getting some distance from your thoughts, deciding which ones are useful, which ones will make you and others happy, and acting on them.

When you believe you are your thoughts, it can lead to a lot of unhappiness. It’s a mistake. Sharon told me a heartwarming story about a mistake someone else made:

This young woman said to me recently that her whole young life she had thought that the expression was, “It’s a doggy-dog world,” and then someone told her, “No, it’s a dog-eat-dog world,” and she was horrified. She said, “No, I don’t want it to be a dog-eat-dog world! I want it to be a doggy-dog world!”

See the thoughts, don’t be the thoughts. Label’em. And then decide if they’re useful. If they make your life better, if they’re compassionate, then the answer is yes.

If you’re mindful, it can be a doggy-dog world.

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