Practicing “mindfulness” means that you’re actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now, helping you to keep your internal focus. Rather than letting your mind wander, when you’re mindful you’re living in the moment and letting distracting thoughts pass through your mind without getting caught up in their emotional implications. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress-induced inflammation, and it’s a strong example of how you can harness your own sense of power and control to achieve what you want in life, including a more positive, happier mental state. Simple techniques such as the following can help you to become more mindful:
- Pay focused attention to an aspect of sensory experience, such as the sound of your own breathing
- Distinguish between simple thoughts and those that are elaborated with emotion (such as “I have a test tomorrow” versus “What if I fail my test tomorrow and flunk my entire class?”)
- Reframe emotional thoughts as simply “mental projections” so your mind can rest
Still, for many, happiness can be a poorly defined, elusive goal. One way to think about happiness is to define it as “whatever gets you excited.” Once you’ve identified that activity, whatever it is, you can start focusing your mind around that so you can integrate more of it into your daily life. If you feel stuck and don’t know where or how to start, I suggest reviewing these 22 positive habits of happy people.