If you really want to live a mindful and happy life, say goodbye to these 8 habits

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In the pursuit of a mindful and happy life, some habits might be holding you back more than you realize.

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit, and I’ve spent years studying mindfulness and Buddhism. In my journey, I’ve discovered that sometimes it’s what we let go of that truly sets us free.

If you’re ready to fully embrace a more mindful and happy life, it’s time to say goodbye to these 8 habits.

Letting go isn’t always easy, but the rewards are absolutely worth it.

1) Overthinking

One of the biggest hurdles to mindfulness and happiness is the habit of overthinking.

In my study of Buddhism and mindfulness, I’ve found that our minds can often be our own worst enemies. We can spend hours, days, even years, lost in our thoughts, worrying about the future or regretting the past.

The problem with overthinking is that it pulls us out of the present moment. It takes us away from the here and now, and into a world of ‘what ifs’ and ‘should haves’.

And this isn’t just a Buddhist perspective. Science backs this up too. Studies have shown that overthinking can lead to serious emotional distress.

So if you want to truly embrace a mindful and happy life, it’s time to break free from the chains of overthinking. This doesn’t mean ignoring your thoughts or feelings, but rather acknowledging them without judgement and then letting them go.

Mindfulness is about being fully present in each moment. And each moment is an opportunity for happiness that overthinking can steal away from us.

2) Unhealthy Comparisons

Another habit that can hinder our journey towards a mindful and happy life is the constant comparison with others.

In my own experience, I’ve found that comparing myself to others often led to feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction. It’s a trap many of us fall into, especially in this age of social media where everyone’s highlight reel is on display.

Buddhist teachings remind us that each of us is on our own unique journey. Comparing ourselves to others is like comparing apples to oranges – it’s simply not a fair comparison.

As the famous mindfulness expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn once said, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

The waves in this case are the inevitable comparisons we’ll find ourselves making. Instead of fighting against them, we can learn to ride them without letting them knock us down. This involves acknowledging the comparison without judgement, then gently bringing our attention back to our own path.

By focusing on our own journey, we free ourselves up to experience true mindfulness and happiness.

3) Clinging to the Past

Perhaps one of the most destructive habits we can have is clinging to the past. It’s human nature to hold on to memories, both good and bad. But when we allow these memories to dictate our present, it becomes a problem.

Buddhist wisdom teaches us about the concept of impermanence. Everything changes, nothing is permanent. This includes our past. Holding onto it is like trying to grasp water; you’re only left with empty hands and a wet mess.

The past can be a great teacher, but it’s a cruel master. When we dwell in it, we lose sight of the present moment, the only moment where life truly happens.

Let’s be brutally honest – none of us can change the past. No amount of regret or nostalgia will alter a single moment that has passed. The more we cling to it, the more we rob ourselves of the joy and peace that can be found in the present.

It’s not an easy habit to break, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to live a mindful and happy life.

4) Ignoring Your Needs

One habit that can seriously undermine our pursuit of a mindful and happy life is ignoring our own needs. This may be physical needs like rest and nutrition, or emotional needs like connection and self-expression.

In the practice of mindfulness, we learn to tune in to our body and mind, to really listen to what they’re telling us. Ignoring your needs is the exact opposite of this.

Let’s get real here – we can’t pour from an empty cup. If we continually neglect our own needs, eventually we’ll have nothing left to give. And that’s not a recipe for a happy life.

Being mindful means being aware of our needs and taking steps to meet them. It’s not about being selfish or self-indulgent. It’s about self-care, which is crucial for our overall wellbeing.

Let’s make a conscious effort to say goodbye to ignoring our needs. It might mean making some changes in our lives, but it’s a vital step towards living a more mindful and happy life.

5) Living in Autopilot

We’ve all been there. You get home from work, but you don’t remember the drive. Or you finish a meal without really tasting it. This is known as living on autopilot, and it’s a habit that can seriously hinder our ability to live mindfully.

I used to find myself falling into this trap regularly. Days would pass in a blur, and I’d feel like I was just going through the motions. It wasn’t until I started practicing mindfulness that I realized how much of my life I was missing out on.

In my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego, I delve into the concept of mindfulness, and how it can help us break free from the autopilot mode.

Being mindful means being fully present in each moment, fully engaged in whatever we’re doing. It’s about savouring the taste of your food, enjoying the feel of the sun on your skin, truly listening when someone talks to you.

6) Resisting Change

Change is an inevitable part of life. Yet, so many of us resist it with all our might. We cling to our routines, our comfort zones, our known realities, even when they no longer serve us.

In the realm of mindfulness and Buddhism, resistance to change is recognized as a major barrier to growth and happiness.

Mindfulness teaches us to embrace the present moment, and that includes accepting change as it comes. Buddhist wisdom, on the other hand, reminds us of the impermanence of all things. Clinging to the way things are is a futile exercise.

Let’s not mince words here – change can be scary. The unknown can seem daunting. But resisting change only leads to stagnation and suffering.

It’s time to say goodbye to resisting change. When we learn to flow with life, rather than against it, we open ourselves up to new experiences, growth, and ultimately, a more mindful and happy life.

7) Neglecting Self-Compassion

Often, we are our own harshest critics. We berate ourselves for our mistakes, dwell on our shortcomings, and neglect to show ourselves the compassion we readily extend to others.

In the practice of mindfulness and Buddhism, self-compassion is a crucial element. It’s about treating ourselves with kindness and understanding, acknowledging our flaws without judgment, and recognizing that failure and imperfection are part of the human experience.

As renowned Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön once said, “Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.”

The truth is brutal but necessary – we can’t truly love others until we learn to love ourselves. And part of loving ourselves involves showing compassion towards our own mistakes and failures.

It may be a journey, not a destination, but every step we take towards being kinder to ourselves is a step towards a more mindful and happy life.

8) Seeking Constant Happiness

This might seem counterintuitive in an article about living a mindful and happy life, but bear with me. The pursuit of constant happiness can actually be a hindrance.

In the practice of mindfulness, we learn to accept all emotions as they come, without judgment. That includes the uncomfortable ones like sadness, anger, or fear. By seeking constant happiness, we are essentially trying to escape these ‘negative’ emotions.

But here’s the twist – emotions are not inherently negative or positive. They just are. And each one has something to teach us.

If we’re always chasing happiness, we’re likely to end up feeling disappointed and frustrated because life simply isn’t always happy. And that’s okay. It’s the ups and downs that make life rich and meaningful.

Let’s say goodbye to seeking constant happiness. Instead, let’s aim for a life of authenticity, where all emotions are acknowledged and accepted. That’s the true essence of living a mindful life.

Conclusion

Living a mindful and happy life isn’t about perfection. It’s about making conscious choices, recognizing our habits, and having the courage to let go of those that no longer serve us.

Saying goodbye to these habits might not be easy, but the rewards are immeasurable. You’ll find yourself living a more authentic, fulfilling life, fully present in each moment.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into these concepts, I invite you to check out my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego. It’s packed with practical advice and insights drawn from years of studying and practicing mindfulness and Buddhism.

Every moment is a new opportunity for mindfulness and happiness. So let’s embrace it, one habit at a time.

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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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