The Happiness Connection  

Being mindful of your own mind

Importance of awareness

My partner called me outside on the weekend to see where he’d hung our fuchsia. My first reaction wasn’t supportive. I told him I didn’t like it and suggested an alternative place.

As he went to move it, I realized I was falling into a familiar pattern. When a new idea is presented out of the blue, I tend to have a negative first reaction. Through personal growth and self-discovery, I’ve come to understand I need a little time to get used to whatever is being suggested.

Because I noticed what was happening, I asked him to leave the plant where it was so I could see if its placement grew on me. I see this as a sign of growth.

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of mindfulness is: “The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”

This has been a popular topic in the health and happiness space for some time. You’re probably aware of the positive effect that mindfulness has on your wellbeing. However, have you tried being mindful of your mind? Unsurprisingly, being aware of your thought patterns can make a huge difference to your quality of life.

I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again, awareness is the first step to transformation. If you don’t know you’re in a hole, you won’t take the necessary steps to climb out of it so you can move towards your desired destination.

Emotions are internal mental experiences. They’re about how you react, not the event or situation itself. It isn’t the stuff that makes you miserable, but the meaning you attach to it. Recognizing thought patterns, emotional reactions, and behaviours allows you to examine them and then change them if something else serves you more.

It’s important to know that mindfulness is about awareness not insight, and certainly not judgement. That means you don’t have to figure out why you react the way you do or feel bad about it. Recognize, accept, and then if appropriate, make a different choice. It’s possible to change something you don’t’ understand.

Of course, if you keep falling into holes, it might be useful to understand why, so you can stop doing it. In my case, knowing the origin of this habitual pattern doesn’t make a difference. It might be an interesting exploratory exercise, but not a necessary one.

I’m working towards mental mindfulness. I’m trying to observe my thoughts when they appear and then pausing to consider whether they’re serving me. If they aren’t, I’m trying to consciously choose different ones that are less emotional and triggering.

In the case of the placement of the fuchsia, I noticed the old pattern as it emerged and chose to react differently. I didn’t dig in my heels or buy into the first story my brain presented me with. That’s what allowed me to shift and view the situation less emphatically and less emotionally.

Being aware of traditional thought patterns and choosing to change them isn’t a process that’ll you’ll adjust to overnight. It’ll require some effort and continuous monitoring. But if you try this and your experience is like mine, you’ll feel more contented with life, create healthier relationships, and make better decisions.

It’s important to realize that you’re in control of your mind and your emotions. When thoughts and feelings arise, it’s up to you to decide whether they serve your highest good.

If they don’t, choose to be mindful of your mind and shift or replace them with something that does.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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