By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Happiness is an overall feeling of contentment, free from anxiety, worry, or unease. It’s not that happy people go through life never experiencing hardship, loss, or other negative emotions. The key is that happy people know how to cope when life gets rough. They know how to get past negativity and focus on the positive. Although it might seem natural to bystanders, happy people actually work to maintain that contentment.
Many people seek outside stimulants and activities to find happiness; some are healthy and some are not. When people look to alcohol, drugs, and other unhealthy activities to release stress, it never results in finding a true contentment with life. Exercise, volunteering, and socializing with friends are often healthy ways to release stress and find happiness. While drugs and alcohol are more like a bandage, covering the pain for a short amount of time – exercise, friends, and volunteering are more positive activities, which result in an inner satisfaction and peace.
Happy Benefits of Meditation
Meditation also allows a person to look within one’s self, to work on what truly makes that person happy. The key to happiness is realizing that it comes not from outside sources, but from within. Meditation forces you to sit with yourself for a while, focusing on one of the most basic necessities of life: breathing. It stills the mind and calms the body by allowing you to focus on your breath and letting go of all thoughts.
A Mindful and Thankful Meditation for Happiness
Close your eyes and relax. Let all thoughts leave your mind. Focus on something for which you are grateful. It might be something as simple as air, water, or earth. Sit with this for as long as you like. It might be five minutes, or it might be much longer. As you progress in your meditations, performing them for longer intervals and more often, it will be easier to experience an enlightened state of mind. Over time, you might find that you can achieve this same state throughout the day, as you experience feelings of anxiety or stress, just by taking a few deep breaths and focusing on the positive.
A Pranayama Technique for Happiness
Here is another Yogic technique for happiness, but it is much more energetic. We all strive to find happiness and balance in our lives. It seems like some people have found that magic key to a peaceful, grateful life, while others keep searching to find a happiness that seems unreachable. The secret lies in the way we are able to cope with negative thoughts and feelings, letting them into our bodies, and then releasing them.
Pranayama refers to the breathing exercises associated with Yoga and meditation. There are many different types of pranayama, each with their own purpose within the body. Purposeful practice of deep breathing exercises can help to calm the mind, ease anxiety, release stress, and promote happiness. Simply breathing will not be a miracle cure for depression or anxiety. However, breathing deeply and deliberately, while visualizing negative thoughts and energy leaving the body, and drawing in positive emotions, can help with overall happiness.
Breath of Fire
Begin by filling up your entire abdomen and chest cavity with air, and then forcefully push the air out through your mouth. Once the air is exhaled out of the body, immediately pull it back in on the inhale through your nose, arching your spine forward a bit to get in touch with the air filling your diaphragm. Continue to pull the air in and force it out, until a rhythm is established.
When practiced on a regular basis, these simple techniques will lead to a calmer mind, free from stress and anxiety, and on the path toward true happiness.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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