Jon Kabat-Zinn

7 Steps to a Happier You; Part Three

Step Six: Hobbies and leisure pursuits

 

Having hobbies and ways to creatively express ourselves can also significantly boost our feelings of happiness. Why not try taking a class of something you have always wanted to do? When we creatively express ourselves we experience a deep sense of personal satisfaction, pride and achievement which all work to boost our happiness. Check out Tasterlab for an extensive directory of hobby taster classes.

 

Likewise, having leisure pursuits is essential as they serve to both reduce stress, relax us and are a valuable source of fun and enjoyment. I have an unlimited cinema card which I pay for monthly so when I need to relax I can get lost in a movie. Other fun leisure pursuits include bowling, a meal at a restaurant, fishing, roller-skating, exhibitions and museums and even karaoke with friends.

More

7 Steps to a Happier You; Part Two

 

Step Three: Live for the moment

 

In all of my happiest memories I was totally absorbed and engaged in the moment. These moments were so crystal clear it is as if I had experienced them with eyes which were seeing for the very first time. Amazingly, we can all learn to develop this close relationship to the present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the man responsible for bringing mindfulness meditation into the mainstream medical arena, defines mindfulness as ‘The awareness that emerges when we learn to pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally to things as they are.’ Mindfulness has been found to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and to help us better deal with pain. It also serves to help us fully immerse ourselves in the moment and allows us to develop a sense of appreciation and gratitude, both essential components of a happier life.

  More

7 Steps to a Happier You; Part One

 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary happiness can be defined as ‘A state of well being and contentment’. We all want to be happy but is it something we can actively pursue? For years I struggled with depression and so I began questioning whether I could reduce the possibility of further bouts by proactively seeking happiness. I was fortunate that I began my research into happiness at a time when the area of positive psychology had exploded and was grateful to discover that there was extensive information and findings surrounding the field of happiness. In fact there are many things we can all do if we want to increase our happiness and live more contented lives. These changes may be small and manageable, like keeping a daily gratitude journal, or could be fundamental changes like integrating meditation into our daily lives.

More

How to stop operating on auto-pilot and live for the moment; Part Three

If after practising these mindfulness exercises you find you would like to integrate mindfulness into your weekly routine, you can explore the field of mindfulness further by purchasing a more in-depth CD. One of the best audio CD’s available is from Jon Kabat-Zinn, whose teachings have led to the Western worlds recognition of mindfulness as a beneficial practice in helping patients to cope with stress, anxiety, pain and depression. As an introduction, his ‘Guided Mindfulness Meditation’ series is excellent, with each exercise typically lasting forty-five minutes. Each CD in the series comes with a full programme that helps you to structure your mindful practise and is designed to assist you in integrating mindfulness into your life.

More

How to stop operating on auto-pilot and live for the moment; Part Two

Last week we looked at the vast array of benefits mindfulness brings. Now you can try these simple and quick mindful exercises as your very own introduction into mindfulness:

 

The Three Minute Breathing Space

 

Sit in an upright position with a straight posture. Breath in and out slowly, your belly rising on the in-breath. Examine your body sensations from your toes to your head. What emotions are present? What thoughts are you aware of?

 

Return your focus to your breathing. Feel your stomach rise slowly on the in-breath and fall on the out breath.

 

Become aware of the entirety of your body and the sensations within it whilst slowly inhaling and exhaling.

More

How to stop operating on auto-pilot and live for the moment; Part One

According to the Office for National Statistics last year one in five UK citizens rated their anxiety levels as being at six or more out of ten. In today’s world, where calls and emails flood our phones, appointments are crammed into tight schedules and our workplace constantly micro-manages us, it is natural to feel as if we are going through the motions when we go about our day. However, when I think back to my happiest memories they all have one thing in common. In each and every one I was completely immersed in the moment. I was fully absorbed to the point that I lost all self-consciousness. Without even thinking I was left utterly engaged in the here and now. Just to be clear, these weren’t childhood memories but they did have a childlike quality to them, because I was so consumed, it was as if I was experiencing things for the very first time.

 

Whilst at one of the worlds best facilities in 2009, I was introduced to something called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation which has gained great medical recognition and is designed to cultivate an experience of living in the moment. However, to stop there would be to sell mindfulness short.

More