Happiness is a complicated and not so easy word to define. Yet we all know what it means to us.
Guiding participants through their happiness is one concept explored in the Mindfulness session at the recent Sport + Spirit Wellness Retreat.
- By Heather Rea, Facilitator, Mindfulness Session
One of the first questions I ask participants at the beginning of a 6-week program is “Why are you here?”
Some seek help with anxiety, insomnia, depression, an addictive disorder, or deep heartache after a breakup. Others come for help with chronic pain, hypertension, skin rashes, or a host of other physical manifestations of the stress in their lives.
Many say “I have too much stress in my life”.
Suffice it to say, I've had a go through more than a few of these emotional states (which have become so prevalent in our society) and what has helped me the most, is practicing Mindfulness. It quite simply helps me to feel more content - or dare I say it - happy.
Happiness is a complicated and not so easy to define word.
Yet we all know what it means to us. I’m not talking about the hyper excited kind of happiness but more the calmer, kinder, and more peaceful happiness. A kind of ‘deep down inside’ happiness and ease.
So how do we feel happier?
One of the mechanisms is through symptom reduction (physically and psychologically), stress elimination, a better quality of life, better coping skills, and a greater sense of connection or enhanced self-acceptance.
Mindfulness helps this happen by experiencing a greater sense of control and ease over how we relate to or cope with what is happening in our life - the joys and the pains.
We also learn to relate to what is happening with more kindness. Research has shown over and over again that this, in turn, will also lower our physiological stress response.(1,2)
I like the metaphor ‘learning to surf life’s waves: You can’t control the waves, but you can learn how to surf’.
And you have to be very mindful and in the present moment to watch each particular wave and then decide if you want to catch it, or let it pass.