This Los Angeles Times article on happiness and focus brings up several interesting points and ideas about the connection between the mind and happiness. It discusses the impact that our perceptions have on our experiences and levels of happiness. The authors stuggest that how we feel or think (about what we are doing) may be better predictors of happiness than what we are actually doing.
The research in this article offers us an empowering twist. It speaks to the opportunities we have to create more happiness in our lives by staying focused and making a conscious effort to think positively about what we are doing. For example, grocery shopping is an activity that may seem like a burden, annoyance or errand that we have to run. However, while we are grocery shopping, we have the opportunity to feel burdened and think that we are burdened OR reframe the negativity about grocery shopping into something more positive. Here it is beneficial to view grocery shopping as a method to eat healthy, cook delicious meals or share a meal with a loved one or friend and focus on gratitude about the food we are able to buy.
The article also speaks to the fact that a “wandering mind” may not be helpful in terms of happiness. Happiness comes from feeling good about what we are doing in the present moment. We feel happier when we are mindful and focus on the now and not on the anxieties, assumptions, worries (such as the I should have…., But….., What if?…) and negative thoughts that our minds can easily trap us in. It is important to refocus our minds back to our present moment realities and experiences and avoid getting caught up in the other stuff.
We each have a brave choice to make. In many ways, it all comes down to perception and what we decide to focus on. Do you want to focus your mind on happiness and on the present moment or let a wandering, unfocused mind dictate how you perceive the world? What will you decide to focus on?