Happiness and Mindfulness

Raise your hand if you wonder what to do with all the extra time in your daily life. Yeah – me neither. For most of us, we spend the bulk of our day at work or in school, rush around to fit in necessary errands and chores, and then we hope to find some time for some things we want to do before we try to get some decent sleep and do it all again. It can be hard to find extra time every day to practice mindfulness but according to this study we should. They studied participants after an eight-week course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and found that the practice resulted in increased gray matter in the sections of the brain in charge of learning and memory as well as perspective-taking and emotion regulation. Mindfulness is basically intentional awareness of what’s going on inside and outside of oneself. It improves our physical and mental health, stress tolerance, sleep, interpersonal relationships, allows us to be more open to learning, more relaxed, more creative, and feel more satisfied with life. It has helped people decrease symptoms of psychological issues like ADHD and medical problems such as cancer. You can make it a formal practice as with structured meditation or work a more informal mindfulness into everyday tasks. There are apps and CDs and audio downloads and books and classes to train and guide you in mindfulness practice. You don’t have to dive in head-first with the plan to become a yogi. You can just dip your feet in a little here and there and do what you can, taking small steps toward greater mindfulness – and happiness – every day.