Life is made up of many more ordinary moments than extraordinary ones, like working at the computer, going to the store, or sitting in traffic. Yet, brain research shows that happiness is related more to your state of mind than the state of your current external circumstances.
One way to improve every moment is by learning to have a relaxed, mindful attitude, even when you might be bored, busy, or under stress. There’s no need to simply wait for the next vacation, the next yoga class, or a couple of drinks after work.
When you can be in the present moment and relax, you can learn to be at ease, quick and on task without rushing. When an athlete is in the zone, there is a feeling of time slowing down even though his or her movements and reactions may be very quick.
We can consider life as a precious gift or a strenuous bore. It’s our choice, regardless of external circumstances, because we filter life through our mind. Thus, here are some ways in which we can improve life’s ordinary moments and enjoy the journey by improving our state of mind, making the ordinary extraordinary:
1. Notice sensations, the air, the view, and the environment around you. This puts you in the present moment and mitigates anxiety and fear.
2. Observe your own energy and that of those around you. Intentionally transform your energy, whether you decide to focus on being peaceful, excited, appreciative, or ready for action.
3. Be mindful of your body. Correct your posture and reposition yourself to feel strong and relaxed.
4. Notice your facial expression and decide if you you’d like to change a frown into a more pleasant expression. Smiling alone will improve your day.
5. Focus on your breath. Breathe more slowly and deeply.
6. Be ready to handle anything that comes your way in a positive way. View every challenge as an opportunity for growth.
7. Focus on others, that is, engage others with wit, intellect, or a compassionate attitude. This takes the focus off of one’s own complaints. And most important,
8. Be happy to be alive.
IF things get rough, then breathe deeply, think about what you can be grateful for, and if possible, look for the irony, humor, or philosophical insight in any situation.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD