Just as I thought that I have become desensitised over articles on how meditation can improve happiness, here’s one that re-ignited my interest.
Have you ever googled “happiness” or “the happiest person”? The original article by Business Insider (found here), suggests that you may find the name Matthieu Ricard popping up. And guess what, he did pop up when I tried to google “happiest person on earth”.
Mr Ricard was coined this term following a 12 year brain study on compassion and meditation. In the study, researchers found that Richard’s brain produces a level of gamma waves when he meditates on compassion, which is associated with consciousness, attention, learning and memory, particularly in the left-front part of the brain. Mr Ricard provided 3 tips on how to “produce” those gamma waves and be happier:
1. Stop thinking about “me, me, me”
Try to think less of yourself or how to make yourself better, which may lead to a sense of threat and unhappiness. Instead, focus on becoming more “benevolent”. When you are filled with compassion, solidarity and less of yourself, you will feel better internally and others can also feel it too. But how can one achieve this?
2. Start training your mind, just like you train your body
Like we always say to our course participants or site followers, your mind is just like another muscle in your body. If you want to be better at something, whether it is remembering things better or becoming more benevolent and resilient, you need to train it as you are training for a upcoming marathon or a local football tournament. One way to train your mind is by practising meditation and mindfulness regularly. If you haven’t done it before or need a bit of help, please see our free Resources section for further assistance.
3. Spend 15 minutes per day thinking happy thoughts
Yep, thinking happy thoughts regularly in a focused manner is part of mindfulness practice, and can actually improve your happiness level. When you first start to do this, your mind will often “wonder-off” during the 15 minutes and think about something else. In that case, you should train your mind to come back to those happy thoughts each time. Over time, you will find this “bringing back” part much easier to do, which is a sign of your mind strengthening. If you have done one of beginner courses, you will remember that we recommend a Pleasant Moments Diary for your to complete. This goes by the same principle but also makes it easier for new practitioners as it facilitates the “bringing back” component.