It seems that leaders across the world are now deciding to tell us that happiness is a state of mind, and of course it is. Bhutan is thought of as a place where happiness is described as their “gross domestic product“. This is a level of enlightenment that the rest of us can only observe with envy (or discount as nonsense).
All that we now know about the brain and neuroscience tells us that this idea is really on the money, and that we all do create our own experience, in the sense that we do have choices as to how we respond to any event in life. It is hard to decide whether the political drive behind publishing such an idea as happiness for all is real concern for our welfare or a way of making the difficult decisions about economic cuts more palatable.
we do have choices as to how we respond to any event in life
The Action for Happiness website has used many of the great and good to publicise this idea (well worth a look) and Andy Puddicombe at Headspace is actively attempting to change the way that we all think and feel with his ‘Take 10’ meditation course that is also available as an app on iTunes.
My own area of work at Mindful Managers works with managers in both the private and public sector to develop a coaching style of management that improves the morale of staff because, surprise, surprise, a happy workforce is a more productive workforce.
Check out this article via The Guardian, it explains why a positive workforce might actually save money and even make money.
In my own work, I know that when an organisation decides that their customers are more important than their staff, they have missed the point. The principle is simple: if you look after your staff, they will always look after your customers because it is in the ethos. Just go into an Apple Store or a branch of John Lewis and you will realise what I mean, and of course, check out my blog about the amazing staff at Carlucios.
When I first started my training in psychotherapy, my teacher said very clearly, “What you hold in your bindi will come to pass”. In Western psycho speak, we would say, “Thoughts become things”. Now neuropsychology tells us the same thing. Once we understand that we are in control of what we do and think, we do have choice. The biggest realisation is that we are also in control of what we feel. Mindful managers, politicians and leaders who understand this encourage others to feel positive and good.
If we take the politics out of the idea, then it is exactly and completely true. The only reason that anyone is unhappy is that they have learned to be that way. When you are in a miserable or unhappy state, it can feel that the task of being happy is impossible and that the idea of having a choice is ridiculous or even demeaning.
It may be hard, but one thing that I have to tell you is that if you are not living a happy life, then you have learned ways of being, thinking and feeling, probably from the moment of birth, that do not serve you well, and, whatever your situation, you can change it to create the life that you want. It may sound farfetched, it may sound ridiculous, but over the years I have worked with thousands and thousands of people who have done exactly that, including me.
So, how about we forget the politicians and their vested interests, and concentrate on ourselves. How do you feel today? If your response is anything other than, “I’m doing ok” or at a pinch, “It’s tough, but I’m getting there”, you need some help to the get your head on the right way around. There are plenty of books and ideas that will help you in your task and of course, my free morning and evening meditation recordings. If you want some direct help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the inventor of transcendental meditation, had one simple aim: if he could get six million people meditating at the same time, then the bio-energetic mindbank would be great enough to affect the course of human destiny for the good.