9 surprising reasons mindfulness makes you happier, according to psychology

The distinction between “being” happy and “feeling” happy is significant.

Feeling happy comes and goes like the wind. Being happy, however, is a state of mind that you can cultivate. And one of the best ways to cultivate it? Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. And guess what? It turns out, psychology has found some pretty surprising reasons why mindfulness can actually make you happier.

Here are eight unexpected ways mindfulness boosts your happiness, backed by science.

If you’ve been searching for a more reliable route to happiness, read on. You might just find what you’ve been looking for.

1) Live in the Now

We’ve all been there.

Your body is physically present, but your mind is miles away, lost in a sea of worries, regrets, or to-do lists. It’s like you’re living on auto-pilot.

This is where mindfulness comes in.

Mindfulness encourages you to bring your attention back to the present moment, to where life is actually happening. And guess what? This simple shift in focus can increase your happiness.

A study published found that people are significantly happier when they are fully engaged in their current activity, rather than when their mind is wandering.

Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, mindfulness helps you to embrace the present moment. This can lead to a significant boost in your overall happiness.

And this isn’t just some feel-good theory. It’s backed by science.

2) Quieting the Mind

How often do you find yourself caught in a whirlwind of thoughts? I know I have.

I remember a time when my mind was constantly racing with worries about work, family, and the future. It felt like there was no off switch. And it was exhausting.

Then, I discovered mindfulness.

Mindfulness encourages you to consciously quiet your mind and simply observe your thoughts without judgment.

This doesn’t mean ignoring negative thoughts or forcing positivity. It’s about acknowledging thoughts as they come, and then letting them go.

By practicing mindfulness, I learned to break free from the constant chatter in my head. Instead of getting caught up in my worries, I could observe them without feeling overwhelmed.

This shift in perspective brought me a sense of peace and calmness that I hadn’t felt in years. And yes, it made me happier.

Turns out, there’s plenty of research to back this up. Multiple studies have shown that mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety, leading to increased happiness and improved quality of life.

By quieting your mind through mindfulness, you can cultivate a greater sense of happiness and well-being.

3) Improved Relationships

Ever wonder why some people seem to have a natural gift for building strong relationships?

Well, mindfulness might have something to do with it.

When you’re fully present in your interactions with others, you become more empathetic and understanding. You start to really listen, instead of just waiting for your turn to speak.

And people notice this. They feel heard and understood, which can lead to deeper and more meaningful connections.

In fact, a study found that couples who practiced mindfulness saw improvements in their relationships. They reported feeling more satisfied, closer, and less distressed.

So not only can practicing mindfulness make you happier by improving your own state of mind, but it can also enhance your relationships with others. And we all know how important good relationships are to our overall happiness.

4) Boosts Self-Esteem

Ever had one of those days where you’re just not feeling great about yourself? We all have.

Mindfulness can help with that.

Practicing mindfulness means accepting yourself as you are in each moment, without judgment. This can lead to a healthier self-image and improved self-esteem.

By observing your thoughts and feelings without criticism, you begin to realize that you are more than your thoughts. You start to understand that negative thoughts about yourself are just that – thoughts, not facts.

The result? A boost in self-esteem and, consequently, a boost in happiness.

By practicing mindfulness and showing yourself a little kindness, you can help improve your self-esteem and overall happiness.

5) Enhanced Focus

In today’s fast-paced world, distractions are everywhere. It can be hard to stay focused on one task when your phone is buzzing, emails are pouring in, and you have a million things on your to-do list.

Enter mindfulness.

By training your mind to focus on the present moment, mindfulness can significantly improve your ability to concentrate. Instead of getting lost in a sea of distractions, you learn to tune them out and focus on the task at hand.

And when you’re able to focus, you’re more productive, more efficient, and more likely to produce high-quality work. This leads to a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction which, in turn, increases happiness.

A study found that mindfulness training improved attention and focus in individuals with ADHD.

If you’re struggling with focus and feeling overwhelmed by distractions, try incorporating mindfulness into your routine. It could be the key to boosting your productivity and your happiness.

6) Embracing Change

Change is an inevitable part of life. But let’s be honest, it can be really tough to deal with.

Whether it’s a job loss, a break-up, or even just a change in your daily routine, it can shake your world and leave you feeling lost and unhappy.

But here’s where mindfulness comes in.

Mindfulness teaches you to accept change, instead of resisting it. It encourages you to experience the present moment fully, even when that moment is filled with uncertainty or discomfort.

By embracing change rather than resisting it, you learn to adapt more easily. You realize that change isn’t necessarily bad, but simply a part of life.

And that realization can bring a sense of peace and acceptance that significantly increases your happiness.

When change comes knocking, mindfulness could be the tool you need to handle it with grace and positivity.

7) Better Sleep

I used to struggle with sleep. Night after night, I’d lie awake, my mind racing with thoughts and worries. It was frustrating, exhausting, and it definitely didn’t make me happy.

That’s when I stumbled upon mindfulness.

Mindfulness helped me create a bedtime routine that allowed me to wind down and prepare for sleep. It taught me to let go of the day’s stress and quiet my mind. And before I knew it, I was sleeping better.

Good sleep is crucial for our overall well-being and happiness. When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re more likely to be irritable, anxious, and less able to cope with stress.

And the science backs this up. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that practicing mindfulness resulted in significant improvements in sleep quality.

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, mindfulness might just be the solution you’re looking for. Not only can it help you get a better night’s sleep, but it can also make you happier in the process.

8) Reduced Stress

Stress is something we all deal with, and it can take a heavy toll on our happiness.

But mindfulness can be an effective tool for managing it.

Mindfulness teaches you to take a step back and observe your thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them. You learn to recognize stress for what it is – a temporary state, not a permanent condition.

And when you can view stress from this perspective, it becomes much easier to manage.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that mindfulness can significantly reduce stress levels.

By practicing mindfulness, not only can you reduce stress, but you can also increase your happiness. After all, who doesn’t feel happier when they’re less stressed?

9) Greater Appreciation for Life

At its core, mindfulness is about fully experiencing the present moment. It’s about paying attention to the here and now, without getting caught up in thoughts of the past or future.

And when you do this, something amazing happens.

You start to notice and appreciate the little things in life more. The warmth of the sun on your skin. The sound of birds singing. The taste of your morning coffee.

This greater appreciation for life can bring a deep sense of joy and happiness that’s truly transformative.

If you’re looking for a way to boost your happiness, try practicing mindfulness. It could open your eyes to the beauty of everyday life and boost your happiness in ways you never imagined possible.

Final Reflection: Happiness is a Journey

When we talk about happiness, it’s important to remember that it isn’t a destination. It’s a journey, an ongoing process of growth and understanding.

And mindfulness can be an incredibly powerful tool on this journey.

With its roots in ancient Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness has been studied extensively in recent years. Science has shown us just how much it can impact our lives, from reducing stress to improving relationships and boosting self-esteem.

But perhaps the most profound aspect of mindfulness is its ability to bring us into the present moment. To help us appreciate the simple, everyday joys of life that we often overlook.

As Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned mindfulness teacher, once said, “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

So why not give mindfulness a try? You might be surprised at how much happier you feel when you start living in the now.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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