In today’s post, How to Find Happiness In Your Life (Updated 2019) we’ll look at how you can:
- Relieve stress and anxiety.
- Calm your mind.
- Boost your energy
simply by learning how to breathe correctly and meditate.
Everyone is dealing with some type of stress, loss or life challenge, from divorce, bereavement, ill health, anxiety about job security and/or redundancies.
It often feels as if there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything or enough of you to go around.
In fact, most of my regular yoga students come to yoga as a way to relax, to have a space away from the “maddening crowds” where they can let go of tension, unwind and experience a sense of peace and calm and lightness in their minds and body.
How Can You Find Happiness in Your Life When You Are Tired, Stressed and Worn-out?
The pace of life and demands on your time is crazy.
With so many demands on your time it is easy to get swept away rushing around to fit everything in to your packed schedule.
As you intuitively know, the more you care for yourself, the happier you are.
Yet trying to keep on top of the work commitments, housework, worrying whether your children are happy, caring for elder parents or relatives – you don’t have the time and energy left for yourself, stress quickly builds up in your body, which can have a detrimental effect on your physical, emotional and mental well-being.
As you’ll discover through this blog post “How to Find Happiness In Your Life”, learning how to meditate is important because it gives you the mental space and quiet you crave to breathe, rest, reflect and ultimately be happier.
Meditation Helps You To:
1. Reduce Stress and Calm and Clean Your Mind
Everyone has a story going on, something you are not happy about and wish you could change.
When you meditate your mind is cleared of all the clutter going on inside your head.
You feel different, more at ease and aware of what is going on in your body.
This awareness leads to a corresponding shift in how you view your problems and how you can reduce emotional pain and tension in your body.
How to Find Happiness In Your Life Tip:
Try This Simple Body Awareness Exercise
1. Just for one minute, become aware of your feet.
Take a look at your feet and notice the way your feet are positioned.
Are they flat of the floor?
Are both feet pointing in the same direction, or are you leaning to one side, legs crossed, feet tucked around the chair leg, or even tucked up beside you as you sit and read this post on your settee.
2. Next, take a moment now to place both feet flat on the floor, toes pointing forwards.
Make sure the weight is evenly distributed on both feet.
3. Next wiggle and curl and stretch your toes; really stretch and create space between each toe.
4. Next raise your right foot a few inches off the floor and keep your left foot flat on the floor.
5. Make 5-7 small circles in both directions with the right foot.
Stretch and point your toes away from your knees and then point your toes towards your knees as you push your heel away from you.
Do this for a few times then finally shake your right foot and return your foot to the floor.
6. Take a deep breath in and slowly breathe out; notice what you notice about how your right foot feels in relation to your left foot.
Can you feel a difference between the two feet? What do you notice?
You’ll probably notice that your right foot feels lighter, maybe tingly and more alive compared to your left foot. . Maybe your right foots feels flatter/closer to the floor, more stable and spread out.
Now, how would you feel if you could create that sense of lightness, less tension and pain in your whole body or better still, in your mind?
Wouldn’t It Be Cool To Always Feel Relaxed, Happy And Energised?
If you weren’t always distracted or your mind cluttered and full of “little mice gnawing away at your brain” as one student shared, wouldn’t you feel happier, have more time to care for yourself and be less anxious and worried about life?
Why Meditation Works
Your mind is a fascinating place.
My twins daughters studied psychology majors at university.
When they cam home, I often sat and listened in to their conversation when they talked about the topics they cover at uni, especially areas which deal specifically with aspects of the brain and learning behaviours. They like to read psychological thriller novels; and when younger, CSI and Criminal Minds were amongst their favourite TV programmes. When I listened to them analyse the characters they watch on CSI and Criminal Minds and related it to the psychological research literature they covered in lectures, I think “wow”…tell me more!
Unfortunately, I haven’t any of their research papers to hand, however, here’s a video which gives you more information about the scientific power of meditation!
By playing the above video, you consent to YouTube collecting data about you.
Some times in life, you have to accept that you can’t change what has happened or how other people react; you can only be responsible for your own response and emotions. Learning to accept this old-age wisdom helps to relieve stress and contributes to you feeling happier.
What Is Happiness?
Have you noticed how when life flows you glow yet the minute “stuff happens” you panic and your mind goes into over drive.
Often, you feel locked in a position where you struggle to feel happy and peaceful and it feels as if you are stuck between a rock and a hard place?
What Choices Are Open To You When You Feel Unhappy And Overwhelmed?
When you feel disheartened, depressed or low this is the precise moment you need to turn to your meditation practice; to breathe and find a way to seek the higher, more insightful lesson shown.
It isn’t easy as your brain conditions you for survival, and our natural instinct is to seek revenge, strike out and cause harm to someone who upsets you or your loved ones.
The article, Aristotle on Happiness, summarises the philosopher’s view on happiness and states happiness is not a state but an activity …
Yet he maintains that by living our life to the full according to our essential nature as rational beings, we are bound to become happy regardless. For this reason, happiness is more a question of behaviour and of habit—of virtue—than of luck; a person who cultivates such behaviours and habits is able to bear his misfortunes with balance and perspective, and thus can never be said to be truly unhappy.
I believe happiness comes from within.
It is a skill, a habit, choice we have to find the good, the beautiful, the lesson in all situations; and where necessary, to let go of your differences, forgive and move on.
Now, we have a clearer understanding about the power and benefits of meditation, what exactly is meditation and how does it work?
One of the most precise descriptions is offered by the blogger and meditation teacher Giovanni Dienstman of the blog Live and Dare.
In his article, What is Meditation and How to Start, Giovanni states:
“Meditation is a mental exercise of [focusing your] attention.
It is practised either by focusing attention on a single object, internal or external (focused attention meditation) or by paying attention to whatever is predominant in your experience in the present moment, without allowing the attention to get stuck on any particular thing (open monitoring meditation).”
There are many obstacles, approaches and techniques to meditation, which we will cover in later posts.
In essence all meditation practices aim to help you learn how to train your mind to be calm and to let go of your attachment to the outcome of your worries.
For now, I wish you to get a feel of what it is like to experience the contrast between less stress and more happiness by focusing on your breath and trying the following 3 simple breath-based meditations.
Here are 3 Simple Breath-based Meditation You Can Try Today for Less Stress and More Happiness in your Life
Your breath is your link between your mind and your body and as such provides a useful point of reference to help you on your path of happiness through meditation.
Here are 3 breath based meditation exercises I would like you to try.
They will give you an opportunity to get a glimpse of what it is like to let go of stress and worry, and create space, and ultimately a sense of happiness in your life.
WORD OF WARNING
Yoga and meditation are safe, harmless practices, however as with all forms of exercise please exercise respect and patience for your body. Always consult your GP before starting a new exercise programme and any sign of discomfort or pain, please stop, rest and if necessary seek further medical advice.
1. How to Find Happiness in Your Life – Breath-based Meditation #1: Observe Your Breath
- Lying on your back, on your bed; turn your attention to your breath.
- Don’t change your breath;
- Just observe the way you breathe.
- Gradually, take a steady breath in through your nose and slowly exhale through your nose.
- Don’t change or force anything.
- Just lay still and focus on the movement of your breath – from your belly to your ribs and upper chest.
Anytime you notice your attention wandering away from observing your breath, simply acknowledge your thoughts and gently bring your awareness back to the breath. Stay still and continue in this practice for 2-5 minutes.
2. How to Find Happiness in Your Life – Breath-based Meditation #2: Counting Each Breath
- Lay on your back on your bed.
- Spend a few moments tuning into your breath and observe how you are breathing.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose and count “one”.
- Slowly breathe out and count “two”.
- Breathe in and count “three”,
- Breathe out and count “four”….
- Continue counting your breaths up to number 10.
- When you reach number 10, go back to number one.
- Repeat for 2-10 minutes.
- If your mind wanders during the practice and you lose concentration, just return your attention to the breath and begin counting from number one.
3. How to Find Happiness in Your Life – Breath-based Meditation #3: Cleansing Breath Meditation
This meditation helps you to release negative feelings and frustration and replace them with a more positive and uplifting energy.
- Sit upright in a comfortable position, hands resting on your lap.
- Tune into your breath and spend a few moments gently breathing in and out through your nose.
- On the next inhalation breathe in the word “love” and as you breathe out , breathe out the word “love”….
- Continue with breathing in and out the phrase “love” for 5-15 minutes.
- Slowly open your eyes and remain still and be aware of the sensations and energy flowing through your body.
Learning to be happy, to let-go off worry, emotional stress and tension is crucial to your well-being.
Being happy is your birthright.
The demands of daily life wear you down and reduces your ability to handle life’s challenges.
Learning to meditate helps restore your sense of calm and perspective, so that you feel happier and empowered to calm your mind and live happier, healthier,and more fulfilling lives.
Clinical research studies show that regular meditation lowers stress levels, improves creativity and reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.
To encourage you to experience the stress relieving benefits of meditation, I invite you to:
1. Set aside 5-15 minutes over the next 3 days, either first thing in the morning when you wake or anytime during your day when you feel frazzled and your thoughts are scattered.
2. Read through the above breath-based meditations. Get all intimate and familiar with your breath and select one of the 3 meditation techniques and practice it for the next three days.
3. Let me know what your favourite breathing meditation technique is and what difference it makes to how you feel.
Write your thoughts in the comment box below.
And if you know any of your girl-friends or work colleagues who are stressed and tired,and need a boost of happiness in their life, kindly share this post with them. Thank you.
And if you enjoyed this post and want to delve further into the stress-relief benefits of breath-based meditation to help you find more happiness in your life, Here is a free training video: 3 yoga breathing exercises to help you reduce stress and overwhelm, and feel calmer.
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