5 Ways a Daily Mindfulness Practice Will Increase Your Happiness
One of the most effective ways to increase your happiness and reduce your stress level is to engage in a daily mindfulness or meditative practice. You don’t have to spend hours a day in order to achieve results, but you do need to do a little research and gather some helpful tools, like a quiet space, perhaps an app or video to guide you through your practice as you learn.
The goal is pretty simple. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that helps you to focus on what you feel or think and accept it without judging. You can do this in really short sessions—as little as two minutes to begin. There are a number of great free apps that offer guides to mindfulness practice. My favorite is CALM.
Before you know it, your daily practice will begin to bring results. Here are 5 ways a daily mindfulness practice will increase your happiness:
1. Reduce Stress Level
Regular mindfulness or meditation practice lowers the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the brain. A regular practice—and this can take just a few minutes each day!—can actually physically change the activity in your brain and alter your hormone levels so you feel less stress and anxiety.
2. Reduce Depression
It may seem counterintuitive to think that spending more time in your head would help reduce depressive thoughts and feelings, but the science doesn’t lie. A study at Johns Hopkins found that the effects of meditation were moderate, about the same as for antidepressants.
3. Reduce Job Burnout
Here’s something exciting to note: the research on mindfulness as a way to reduce workplace stress and burnout is so compelling that some companies are beginning to offer mindfulness training to their employees, such as nursing staff, who routinely experience high stress situations.
4. Increase Attentiveness
Spending a few minutes quieting your body and focusing your thoughts not only has an impact in the hormone levels in your brain, but also helps increase your ability to focus. A mindfulness or meditation practice is a great way to help teach your brain not to rush from thought to thought, but to be able to pause and hold one thought at a time.
5. Grow a Happier Brain
In my book, 21 Days to Happiness, I talk about some exciting studies that show how meditation and mindfulness practices can actually help you grow a happier brain. This is really exciting research, and it means that happiness really is something we can choose to pursue. Just like targeting a particular part of your body in a strength-training workout, you can target the happiness centers in your brain with a meditation or mindfulness practice of your own.
Are you ready to give it a try?
Owner of KCC Positive Business Psychology & Happiness Expert
Try all 21 Days to Happiness in My Book
There’s never been a better time to pursue happiness with my book, 21 Days to Happiness. Each chapter offers tips and research on how to boost happiness in one area of your life. 21 Days to Happiness is available as a paperback, e-book, audiobook, and new interactive online sessions.