The art of mindfulness: 8 simple ways to be happier in life

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Life can sometimes feel like a crazy whirlwind of tasks, meetings and endless to-do lists.

But what if I told you it doesn’t always have to be this way?

I’m Lachlan Brown, founder of Hack Spirit, and a firm believer in the power of mindfulness and Buddhism.

I’m here to share with you my simple strategies for finding calm amidst the chaos. These are practical steps that you can incorporate into your daily life to become happier and more at peace.

Let’s get started. 

1) Embrace the present moment

We live in a fast-paced world, constantly worrying about the past or planning for the future. But how often do we really live in the present?

As a mindfulness practitioner, I must tell you: not often enough.

This is where mindfulness comes into play. It’s about fully immersing yourself in the present moment, being aware of your senses, your thoughts, and your surroundings.

By embracing the present moment, we can truly enjoy our experiences and reduce anxiety and stress. It’s about acknowledging our thoughts and feelings without judgement.

It’s not about emptying our minds, but rather about paying attention to our experiences as they happen.

Embracing the present moment is one of the simplest ways to be happier in life. And trust me, with practice, it gets easier.

2) Practice daily meditation

Meditation has become a cornerstone of my daily routine and I can’t emphasize enough how transformative it has been.

The beauty of meditation is its simplicity. You don’t need any special equipment or location. All you need is a quiet spot and a few minutes of your time.

Meditation helps us create a space between our thoughts and our reactions. It encourages mindfulness by bringing our focus back to our breath, anchoring us in the present moment.

As the renowned mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn said, “Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.”

In essence, meditation isn’t about changing who we are, but understanding and accepting ourselves better. 

3) Accept impermanence

It’s a hard truth, but everything in life is temporary. Happiness, sadness, success, failure – they all come and go.

Buddhist wisdom teaches us about the concept of impermanence. Nothing in life is permanent, and the sooner we accept this, the easier it becomes to navigate through life’s ups and downs.

We often cling to our happiness, fearing its loss. Similarly, we resist our pain and suffering, hoping it will end soon. But in doing so, we only create more suffering for ourselves.

Impermanence is not a negative concept. In fact, it can be quite liberating. It allows us to let go of our attachment to things, people and even our own emotions.

Knowing that nothing lasts forever can help us appreciate what we have while we have it. It can also provide comfort when we are going through tough times, reminding us that this too shall pass.

Accepting impermanence is a key step towards achieving inner peace and happiness. After all, change is the only constant in life.

4) Cultivate gratitude

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life’s challenges and forget to appreciate the good things we have. It’s even easier to focus on what we lack, rather than what we possess.

This is where mindfulness can truly shine.

Mindfulness teaches us to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. It encourages us to pause, take a breath, and appreciate our blessings, no matter how small they may be.

Gratitude is not just about saying ‘thank you’. It’s about recognizing the good in life and acknowledging its value.

Do you have a roof over your head? Food on the table? People who care about you? These are blessings that we often take for granted.

Cultivating gratitude doesn’t mean ignoring life’s difficulties. But it can help us approach those difficulties from a place of abundance rather than lack.

By acknowledging and appreciating our blessings, we can shift our focus from what’s wrong in our lives to what’s right, leading us to a happier and more fulfilled life.

5) Live with maximum impact and minimum ego

One of the most significant lessons I’ve learned from studying Buddhism is the importance of living with maximum impact and minimum ego.

In our society, we’re often led to believe that success is about personal gain and recognition. But Buddhism teaches us that true success comes from making a positive impact on the world around us, while keeping our ego in check.

This wisdom is something I delve into in-depth in my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego.

In it, I explore the Buddhist concept of ‘Anatta’ or ‘selflessness’, and how moving beyond our ego can lead to a more fulfilling and happier life.

It’s not about diminishing our self-worth but about understanding that we are part of something bigger.

When we contribute to the happiness and well-being of others, we enrich our own lives as well.

6) Let go of judgement

We’re constantly judging – ourselves, others, and our circumstances. And let’s be honest, it’s exhausting.

Both mindfulness and Buddhism encourage us to let go of this constant judgement.

We often label things as good or bad, right or wrong, but these labels only trap us in a cycle of dissatisfaction. They create expectations and when reality doesn’t meet these expectations, we suffer.

Mindfulness teaches us to observe our thoughts and feelings without attaching any labels to them. It’s about accepting things as they are, not as we want them to be.

Similarly, Buddhism encourages us to practice non-judgement. It teaches us that everyone is on their own unique journey and what may be right for one person might not be right for another.

By letting go of judgement, we can reduce our stress levels and enhance our understanding of ourselves and others. It’s a liberating practice that can lead to a more peaceful and happier life.

7) Practice compassion

Compassion is at the heart of both mindfulness and Buddhism. But in our busy lives, it’s easy to forget to be kind – to others and to ourselves.

Compassion isn’t just about feeling pity or sympathy. It’s about understanding and sharing the suffering of others and taking action to alleviate it.

But compassion isn’t just for others. We need to extend it to ourselves too. We’re often our own harshest critics, beating ourselves up over every mistake or perceived failure.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Buddhist monk, once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

Self-compassion is about acknowledging our own pain and shortcomings and responding with understanding rather than judgement.

By practicing compassion, we not only make the world a better place, but we also cultivate inner peace and happiness. After all, kindness never goes unrewarded.

8) Do less, achieve more

This might sound counterintuitive, but sometimes, doing less can actually help us achieve more.

In our quest to be productive, we often end up multitasking and spreading ourselves too thin. But all this does is leave us stressed and overwhelmed.

Mindfulness encourages us to slow down and focus on one task at a time. It’s about fully immersing ourselves in what we’re doing, rather than constantly thinking about the next task on our to-do list.

By doing less, we give ourselves the chance to do things well. We become more efficient, make fewer mistakes, and enjoy what we’re doing.

When you find yourself rushing through your tasks, take a moment to pause. Focus on one task at a time and see the difference it makes.

Doing less isn’t about being lazy. It’s about being mindful and making the most of each moment. After all, quality trumps quantity every time.

Conclusion

Becoming more mindful and embracing Buddhist wisdom isn’t about making a massive life overhaul overnight. It’s about taking small, consistent steps towards a more peaceful and happier life.

The eight points we’ve discussed are a great place to start. Remember, the goal is progress, not perfection. Give yourself permission to be a work in progress.

If you’re interested in exploring these concepts further, 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 tips and insightful wisdom to help you navigate life with more peace and less ego.

Ultimately, the journey towards mindfulness is deeply personal and unique for each one of us.

Be patient, be kind to yourself, and most importantly, enjoy the journey!

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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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