The Secret to Happiness: How to Practice Mindfulness Every Day

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle. – Thich Nhat Hanh

The secret to happiness: the topic I often discuss with my coaching clients and write about in my articles. 

My journey on seeking for happiness started nine years ago when I hit the rock bottom. I was depressed, I dropped out of college and had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I felt stuck, without the hope of ever meeting the man of my dreams, and my health also started going bad. 

And then it hit me – I knew I had to do something to get unstuck in life and make the change. 

I needed help, and so I reached for it and also signed up for my first yoga program. Wisdom I learned from Indian gurus over the years and practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation, also being coached by life coaches I admire – helped me immensely to turn my life around.

[bctt tweet=”Everything is created twice, first in the #mind and then in #reality 🙂 #RobinSharma” username=”havingtime”]

Nine years later, I got the college degree in the filed I was passionate about, fell in love and flew to Paris to my honeymoon, traveled the world and turned the passion for self-help and spirituality into a calling. I also shifted to India four years ago and wrote over 500 articles which were published in several languages – that helped with spreading the message across the world impacting with advice and personal stories of my journey.

My advice was featured in many international magazines and publications, including COSMOPOLITAN, The Huffington Post, even Mike Dooley’s (one of the teachers in the documentary “Secret”) blog.

Today, I am happier than ever, working while traveling my dream job (life coach!) with people all over the globe via Skype, which made it possible for me to live a laptop lifestyle and work while traveling. I am also giving motivational talks and self development workshops internationally.

While practicing yoga has many benefits, we need to embody the philosophy of mindfulness together with yoga and wisdom that spiritual gurus are teaching if we want to fully increase the happiness level.

The Secret to Happiness: How to Practice Mindfulness Every Day

Here are the key principles of how practicing mindfulness every day can help us live a happier life:

1.  Mindful mornings

Instead of rushing into the day starting with checking your phone, social media feeds and e-mails, exposing the mind to the overload information first thing in the morning, pause. Try starting the morning with mindfulness meditation, prayer, quiet time, and see how it feels. This can help you start the day on the right foot, with the right mindset, and lower stress levels and anxiety.

“Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take the action. Take the action and your feelings will change.” – Barbara Baron

If you are new to meditation, I would suggest that your try guided meditations. Having a daily planner or journal where you will note down the focus of the day, top priorities of the day, affirmations of the day and self-care routine for that day is very helpful (the practice I’m using to make my morning mindful and recommend to all of my coaching clients).

I also recommend listening to a motivational and inspiring podcast while having your coffee or cup of tea in the morning, or while driving to work.

2. Happiness is Here and Now

Here’s a curious story I first heard during my first ever advance yoga program and it goes like this:

There was a small boy who was asked if he is happy. He answered that he will be happy when he starts going to school, as then he will be having friends and will become a BIG boy. Once he started going to school he was asked again if he was happy, and he answered that he will be happy when he will be older, as now older kids are bullying him at school. Once he got older he was asked if he was happy and he said that he will be happy when he starts attending to high-school, as then he will be able to drive, go out, have a girlfriend, and have cool friends. Once he was in high-school, he said he will be happy when he enrolls to college, as he will not live anymore with parents and he will have all the freedom to go anywhere and with whomsoever he wants. Once he enrolled in college,  he was asked again if he was happy, and this time he said that he will be happy once he graduates and gets a job, as now even with all the freedom, he cannot afford all the things he wants. Once he got a job he was asked again if he was happy and he said that he is just at the entry level on a job, a paycheck is small, and he will be happy when he gets a promotion and a raise. Once he got promoted and got the rase, he was asked again if he was happy, and he said that although he is now making good money, and is satisfied with the job, he is feeling lonely, and he will be happy once he gets married. Once he got married he was asked again if he was married, then he said he will be happy once they have kids and buy their own home. Then everything will be perfect. Once he got kids and bought the home he was dreaming of, he said he will be happy once kids get older, as now when they are small, he and his wife do not have any time for each other, and they are sleep deprived. Once his kids got older he said that he will be happy when they graduate from college and become grown-up. Then he and his wife will enjoy life, with their grandchildren, after he gets retired. Everything will be perfect. Once his kids graduated from college and got their jobs, and got married, and had kids of their own… his wife died. He was retired, but he was devastated and lonely, without sense of purpose after the retirement. When he was asked again if he was happy, he said:

“Actually, I was the happiest when I was the small boy!”

The moral of the story is that the biggest illusion about happiness is that we have to wait for the life to be “perfect” and that we will be happy once we achieve something or something happens.

📌 Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.

You wouldn’t believe how many people reach out to me for coaching, who are successful but still not feeling fulfilled. Happiness is not in someday, when something happens. Happiness is in the journey, and happiness is within us. We have to discover what truly makes us happy and we can choose to feel happy, positive, optimistic right now.

Yes, we need to have goals, and dreams, and vision, as it helps us enjoy life more, to grow, and to set the path for the exciting life journey, but without discovering what truly makes us FEEL happy, and aligning with our purpose and soul calling, no matter how long we wait and how “perfect” life we create for ourselves, we will always feel like something is missing.

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

If you need help in discovering what makes you truly happy and get clear on your life’s vision and purpose, noble goals, and what meaningful life means to you, I suggest that you work with a life coach.

Make sure that once you get clear on what makes you feel happy and fulfilled you plan out the time in your day to do the things that bring you joy! Have fun! Explore life! Raise your vibration! Travel. Make happiness your life priority! Do not wait for someday when your life will become “perfect” to enjoy your life and pursue your dreams.

Start today. The only thing we ever have is today, and the present moment, as yesterday is in the past, and tomorrow is future which is uncertain.

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe and mostly live. —Dalai Lama.

3. Practicing Optimism

“Chose to feel optimistic, it feels better!” – Dalai Lama

I have been giving workshops for the last few months on Emotional Intelligence in New Delhi, India, and one of the things EI is teaching us is that practicing optimism improves our overall mental health, happiness levels, and emotional wellbeing.

Whether you are Psychology & Science person, or you are Law Of Attraction type of person, both teach us that the quality of life depends on the quality of our thoughts.

We cannot feel happy if we are feeling stressed, worried, or anxious all the time. Our Ego wants to love to keep us in the drama and in the victim role. But, the truth of this Universe is that we are not our thoughts, We are the consciousness behind our thoughts. Therefore, we can choose how we feel all the time. We can choose to think different thoughts.

Optimistic people are happier, healthier, and have happier relationships as well (who feels empowered and happy with the person who is constantly complaining, nagging,  and always predicts the word case scenarios?)

I suggest reading following books to help you infuse be more mindful with your thoughts:

Awakening” by Erin Fall Haskell

New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle

Universe Has Your Back” and “Judgment Detox” by Gabrielle Bernstein

4. Let’s Talk About the Benefits of Gratitude Journaling ✍ 

Gratitude journaling is a very powerful practice for increasing happiness and incorporating mindfulness into our daily life.

Take 5 minutes each day to note down and reflect what you are grateful for.

Gratitude can help us to instantly feel better and more optimistic. I call it the journey from feeling stressed to feeling blessed. By reflecting on things we feel grateful for, we shift our focus from the things we do not have, to the things we do have, from the things we lack, to the things we are abundant with.

In today’s world of social media, crazy traffic, noise pollution, overcrowded cities, and constant notification alerts on our smartphone… it is very easy to get distracted. We talk with people while checking our phone. We eat while watching TV. We are answering e-mails while listening news in the background. We are reading a magazine while doing a pedicure… and so on.

There is a Zen saying that I love:

“When eating, eat. When talking, talk.”

If we would put down the phone while talking to another human being and mindfully listen what other person is talking about, the quality of our relationships would improve, as well the depth of the connection we share.

If we would eat mindfully while experiencing the full richness of the flavor enjoying each bite, we would not overeat and we would enjoy our meals much more. If we would do one thing at the time, instead of multitasking, we would be much more productive. 

📌 Think of the ways you can practice mindfulness being fully present in each activity throughout the day.

I suggest reading the book “The power of now” by Eckhart Tolle to help you incorporate the practice of being present in the moment.

5. Relaxed Body = Relaxed Mind

Remember the time you have experienced getting a massage and feeling instant relief and relaxation?

We may not be aware how our muscles are stiffed and tensed, as we spend most of the time in our in life (if we are not physically active on a regular basis) in sitting position, without stretching our body, relaxing our muscles, and moving enough.

No amount of meditation and relaxation can help us if we feel the tension in our body. Same goes the other way around – the moment we relax our body and feel the physical relief, we will feel relaxed mentally.

📌Think of lying down on a sandy beach, while sun rays are touching your skin. Think of swimming in the water. Think of massage and a touch of your partner. Think of yoga asanas on the yoga mat. Think of an orgasm… Think of how you feel relaxed physically and mentally in any of these moments.

Yoga and Pilates are great ways of relaxing the body, as they demand a lot of stretching. Stretching the muscles helps us relax and release the tension from our body. Once we relax physically, we can relax mentally, and at the same time, we become more aware of our body, our breath, and the energy moving through our body.

If you are not a “yoga person” yet, chose any activity that relaxes your body or at least, book yourself a massage as many times in the week as you can.

All of these practices will help you to be more mindful and increase the level of happiness on a daily basis. Happiness in not in someday, it is in the things we chose to do today! So, make sure you make the mindful choices and make your happiness a priority!

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