The extraordinary moments of life are outbalanced by the more frequent ordinary moments, such as working at the computer, going to the store, or sitting in traffic. The good news is that 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 or under stress. So there is no need to wait for the next time you go on vacation, go to a yoga class, or have a couple of drinks to improve your state of mind.
When you relax while focusing on the present moment, you can learn to be at ease, quick and on task without rushing. If you learn to be “in the zone” even in ordinary moments, life will flow more easily and your feelings of fulfillment will be enhanced.
We can consider life as a precious gift or a strenuous chore. To a large degree, it is our choice because we filter life through our mind. Here are some ways in which we can improve our state of mind, make the ordinary extraordinary, and be more enjoyable to be around:
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 that many situations present.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD