Can mindfulness lead to happiness?

It’s been an amazing month of mindfulness. I’m back from a week in Mexico City teaching Whole Life Mindfulness at the American School Foundation for 300+ amazing people. People committed to changing their lives and the way they reach fulfillment in every area. I am still over the moon from the experience.

Here on the west coast of Canada, amazing organizations like Mountain Equipment Co-op and The Next Big Thing have brought me in to teach mindfulness to their people. To witness people sitting still together, breathing together, and making space to be more alive, productive and impactful together – I am humbled, grateful and happy.

Can mindfulness lead to happiness?

That word, happy. It’s been coming up a lot lately when I lead mindfulness workshops. I get asked questions like Will mindfulness make me happy? and How can I be happier with the people in my life?” When I asked a new coaching client recently what their vision was for coaching, they said I want to be happy.

There’s a deep desire for happiness within us. That’s human. You are human and it is only natural that you want to feel joy. How does mindfulness relate to happiness? While leading a mindfulness workshop at The Next Big Thing this week someone asked me if the goal of mindfulness was to “get on the joy train and ride it no matter what.”

I paused and took a breath.

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The goal of mindfulness

The goal of mindfulness, or any self development, from my lens is to feel everything you are feeling, without the judgement we place. To feel fully sad, happy, afraid, tired. Whatever it is. And then to make a conscious choice.

Mindfulness gives you the ability to choose intentionally and responsively. Not from the reactive place that sometimes we do when we feel deeply.

I think the lack of presence we give the things and people in our lives is directly related to our level of happiness. Matthew Killingsworth, a psychologist from Harvard University studied human behaviour and they found that “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” When you are thinking about something other than what you are doing you are significantly less happy than if you were present. So if you’re stuck in traffic and present to the moment, you will be happier than if you are thinking of all the things you’d rather be doing. Amazing.

A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.
~ Matthew Killingsworth

Get on the life train

Where can you be more present in your life? What feelings are you not feeling in your pursuit of happiness?

There’s no joy train. There’s a life train. Your whole life. You get to choose where it goes by how present you can be to what you are experiencing. In the moment.