Friday, 15 September 2017

A surprisingly simple routine to increase joy in your life

A friend forwarded an article recently. Here are the excerpts that resonated with me a lot:

Who is the happiest man in the world?

If you Google it, the name "Matthieu Ricard" pops up.

Matthieu Ricard, 69, is a Tibetan Buddhist monk originally from France who has been called "the world's happiest man."…

…To Ricard, the answer comes down to altruism. The reason is because thinking about yourself, and how to make things better for yourself all the time, is exhausting, stressful, and ultimately leads to unhappiness.

"It's not the moral ground," Ricard explained. "It's simply that me, me, me all day long is very stuffy. And it's quite miserable, because you instrumentalize the whole world as a threat, or as a potential sort of interest [to yourself]." 

If you want to be happy, Ricard says you should strive to be "benevolent," which will not only make you feel better, but it will also make others like you better. (That's not to say you should let other people take advantage of you, Ricard warns, but you should generally strive to be kind within reason)…

Ok, so how does one train their mind to be happier?
Just spend 15 continuous minutes a day thinking happy thoughts, Ricard says

Typically when we experience feelings of happiness and love, it's fleeting and then something else happens, and we move on to the next thought. But Ricard says instead, concentrate on not letting your mind get distracted and keep focused on the positive emotions for the next stretch of time. And if you do that training every day, even just two weeks later you can feel positive mental results. And if you practice that for 50 years like Ricard has, you can become a happiness pro too.

I found this advice very practical. Just attempt it. If 15 minutes appear long, start with 5 minutes. Do it with a timer. You can even experiment it with your team, partner, family or another person. You will be surprised how amazing each one feels at the end of it.

This can be built into a habit. Being your work day with just 5 minutes of continuous happy thoughts. And see the magic unfold.