Respond to personal emails and texts on your own timetable. Don’t be manipulated into answering someone right away when you’re not in the mood because it’s a social convention. Most of the emails and texts we receive are not critical and responses to them can wait. (I’m not suggesting you ignore critical messages!) Just because it is easy to be connected, doesn’t mean we should be. We all feel more serene and less pulled in multiple directions when we’re not constantly monitoring our phones and email.
Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way available on Amazon, Amazon UK and Amazon DE. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here. © 2014 Sara Weston
How you experience your day-to-day life is based on your state of mind. This concept is illustrated perfectly in the movie Groundhog Day, where the protagonist Phil (played by Bill Murray) experiences the exact same day over and over again. In this day where he encounters the same people and events repeatedly, the only thing that changes in the day is his state of mind. He experiences the exact same day in many different ways, from cynical to amazed to suicidal to supremely content, with the changes arising only from his mind state and consequent actions.
In the beginning when he realizes that he is stuck living the same day over and over again (a metaphor for reincarnation and being stuck on the wheel of life, death and rebirth), he is exhilarated at the perceived lack of consequences for his actions. He pursues his desires, stealing money from the armored car, tricking women into dating him, and most especially, manipulating Rita (played by Andie MacDowell) into liking him. But when he becomes bored with the money and dates and is rejected by Rita, his state of mind turns suicidal and he futilely kills himself over and over again, always waking up again in the same day.
When he finally decides to stop being self-destructive and indulgent, he begins to use his day to improve himself and help others, and in the process becomes content. Rita is then naturally attracted to his more authentic self and, without even having to try, he finally gets the girl (becomes enlightened) and wakes up in a new day (exits off the wheel of life, death and rebirth). So like Phil, you too have the opportunity to choose the outcome of your day and thus your life, by choosing your state of mind.
Sara is the author of the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way available on Amazon, Amazon UK and Amazon DE. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here. © 2014 Sara Weston
Mindfulness is the process of watching what is passing through your mind and stopping the thoughts that are draining or unhealthy. Most things only need to be thought through once. The rest of the thinking, the mulling over and obsessing, is not only draining, it actually makes it harder to objectively see what is best. When you keep your mind quiet and don’t play your worries, schemes and dreams over and over again, you create space for inner knowledge to bubble up and be heard.
Mindfulness isn’t limited to stopping negative or repetitive thoughts, it also includes not holding conversations in your mind with people you know. A lot of people talk to other people in their minds, explaining their beliefs and defending their positions. Not only is this a waste of energy, again it prevents your mind from being still. When your mind is still you can more clearly see the pointers in the universe. The universe gives us all kinds of information, but you have to be still to see it. When your mind is going round and round defending your ego, you miss these pointers, not to mention the relaxation and brightness that comes from being still.
The good news is that after practicing mindfulness for a while it becomes automatic, so as negative or repetitive thoughts and inner conversations arise, you naturally stop them and redirect your mind to higher, calmer thoughts or no thoughts at all.
Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way available on Amazon, Amazon UK and Amazon DE © 2013 Sara Weston. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.