October Happiness Project: Mindfulness

This is one in a series of monthly articles from Gretchen Rubin’s book:   The Happiness Project.

October Happiness Project is Mindfulness: An admonishment, in western culture, to pay attention.  In the spiritual realm, living in the present moment! Or is it? Keep on reading to find some interesting thoughts and answers from Gretchen Rubin.October Happiness Project: Mindfulness

Mindfulness brings many benefits:  scientists point to that it calms the mind and elevates brain function, it gives clarity and vividness to present experience, it may help people break unhealthy habits, and it can soothe troubled spirits and life people’s moods.  It reduces stress and chronic pain.  It makes people happier, less defensive, and more engaged with others.

Gretchen picked some areas where she wanted to pursue more of her passions to create happiness.  I am paraphrasing them here:

  • Meditate on Koans.  In other words, meditate on a “question or statement that can’t be understood logically.”  I find this practice challenges a person to think and to focus on what they think about!
  • Examine true rules. Although Gretchen called these ‘true rules’, they looked very similar to affirmations.  Her examples:  “My children are my most important priority. Get some exercise every day.”  The purpose behind the true rules is to use them when making decisions or setting priorities.
  • Stimulate the mind in new ways. Some of the ways suggested to stimulate your mind is through creating gratitude sticky notes, using hypnosis, taking laughter yoga classes, learning a new skill like drawing, or develop a music appreciation.
  • Keep a food diary. Keeping a food diary is eye-opening when you realize how much junk food you consume in a day.  Taking control of this area in your life gives you control of your health, weight and sense of well being.

While reading Gretchen’s October Happiness Project: Mindfulness practices, I was a bit surprised.  I expected a deep spiritual explanation of the merits of living in the moment, finding peace in the now, etc.  Instead, I discovered some simple ways to practice mindfulness.

Naturally, her first two practices were very similar to the spiritual tools I practice every day as a Spiritual Practitioner.  Meditation on positive affirmations does focus your mind on the positive side of life.

Stimulating your mind is something I would never have thought about before reading Gretchen’s thoughts.  I suspect that I stimulate my mind while reading and writing, but learning a new skill?  I will need to think about that suggestion.

Since both my husband and myself engage in healthy eating, I know that keeping a food diary is a good idea.  But I have never keep a daily diary of what I eat!!  But, after being so strict with my food intake for such a long time, I decided to loosen up a bit on my eating.  And for the moment, that makes me happy!

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