One particular method I’ve found in my search that truly helps to improve the quality of my life is “Mindfulness.” This has become a hot topic as of late since we have become so “wired” to technology in our lives. Because of all the gadgets we have become more distracted than ever.
Many experts actually believe that we can become addicted to this sense of distraction. Some of us build our lives around this very notion – the main coping mechanism to the chaos in our lives becomes… more chaos. We become so set in our ways that sometimes we may think that change is impossible. Oh sure, circumstances surrounding our lives can change, but can we?
It was once thought that the brain is fully developed by the time we reach adulthood, but now we are seeing that our brains can change through experience. This phenomenon, known as neuroplasticity, suggests there are concrete and provable benefits to exercising the brain. The thought of living a more present or “mindful” life is gaining momentum in rapidly moving world of distraction. In fact, researchers have found that multitasking leads to lower overall productivity. People who are constantly moving from one task to the next are not as mindful as they can be and thus make more mistakes. In his book, Thoughts Become Things, author Mike Dooley suggests that we “become aware of what we are thinking and simply do not allow ourselves to focus any longer on the thoughts that do not serve us well.”
As I looked more into this, I recognized the theory that since our thoughts are real things in our lives, they are the basis for our actions, choices and behaviors. So when we choose thoughts in our lives, they will begin to affect what happens next. This sounds very similar to Neuro Associative Conditioning that Anthony Robbins speaks about in Unlimited Power. I find this to be mostly helpful and true. My only issue is that I don’t want to become robotic in the control of my thoughts and actions. As Joseph Campbell used to point out, be sure to make room for the soul. But being more mindful can certainly begin to make an immediate difference in life.
Researchers say that in any given day, human beings think upwards of about 50,000 thoughts so obviously we can’t give our full mindfulness to all of them. The question then becomes, which thoughts do you choose to give your undivided attention and allegiance too? So I guess we need to take a moment and think about what we think about. Scientists have been able to prove that mindfulness and meditation can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, increase immune response and help us ward off potential sickness. This is why I have fully adopted this mindfulness idea in many facets of my life.
When we wake up to the fact that we can be more present and start acting on that thought, we will. This is profound because it is something we can control. What I like most about this odyssey I am on is when I come to a realization of something that I can do right now to make my experience of life so much better. It is amazing what we can do if we are aware, attentive and proactive.
One constant that I find throughout my work travels is that everyone is seeking happiness. No matter what one’s goals or dreams seem to be, the actual experience or manifestation of the goal is to find that state of happiness. As with anything, to be happy one must understand how happiness comes to be. Researchers have discovered that some of it is just out of our control. About 50% of what makes us happy is built into our genetic code. We all know people who just seem more naturally happy than others. I don’t happen to be one of them, although I’d consider myself a fairly happy person. I have always been intrigued by those who just seem intrinsically happy.
My wife, Diane, is one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. My nickname for her is “Sunshine.” I call her this because of how I feel in her presence – warm & content. From the moment we first spoke on the phone, I truly became happier in her presence. So I guess that sometimes happiness is contagious. Who we choose to surround ourselves with can truly make a difference. Think about it, we’ve all been around negative, complaining people and there mood and demeanor literally do have an affect on us. They can bring us down and suck all the life out of the room. The negativity becomes an experience and thus we suffer. But enthusiastic, passionate, optimistic people can breathe life back into us!