VIDEO: Achieving happiness through mindfulness

| 25th June 2018
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VIDEO: Practicing mindfulness may still be considered awkward, wacky and downright weird to many.

True happiness is about being in harmony with oneself, with other people - and it doesn’t deplete the universe. It doesn’t take anything away. It’s about sacrifice which is the essence of any successful relationship.

Sir Anthony Seldon speaking on mindfulness and happiness.

Who would like to be happier? All of us have elements of our life we'd like to change or improve. Yet many of us fail to realise that happiness is a choice. It's our choice.

And when we ask what or who would make us happier, the answer is always ourselves, says Sir Anthony Seldon.

As co-founder of the 'Action for Happiness' movement, Anthony Seldon has identified ten keys to happier living using the GREAT DREAM acronym: giving, relating, exercising, awareness, trying out, direction, resilience, emotions, acceptance and meaning.

Falling awake

He says we can’t stop the bad stuff happening. The only thing we have the ability to control is ourselves, our attitude, the way we think and the way we respond to events. 

He says this is why mindfulness is essential to our ability to cope in times of crisis. Mindfulness is about being aware of reality. Mindfulness is about "falling awake" - waking up to what is real. 

He said: "We are all as free as we choose to be". And the only thing holding us back from a truly happy existence is our own mind.

He says striving for happiness shouldn't be considered frivolous or superficial. It isn't just about pleasure. He added: "Pleasure is what we get from a nice meal or holiday. It's something about 'me' and 'my consumption'. It’s not shared."

True happiness is about being in harmony with oneself, with other people - and it doesn’t deplete the universe. It doesn’t take anything away. It’s about sacrifice which is the essence of any successful relationship.

Mindfulness in the classroom

And Sir Anthony says the concept of mindfulness needs to be taught in schools from an early age so our children develop grit and resilience to deal with the often harsh realities of life. 

He speaks of the reform required in our education system following an illustrious career in teaching. He says we need to ensure schools aren't just factories churning out robotic students who may be able to pass exams but are ill-equipped emotionally to deal with life.

He argues schools and universities get it wrong because they’re obsessed with metrics as opposed to the quality of the education.

He adds teachers and schools are judged solely on their performances in exams meaning so much of their resources are dedicated to the quantitative rather than the qualitative experience.

He says if you reflect on your greatest teachers they will have made you do well in exams but also woken you up to the subject and given you the sense of discovery and excitement about a topic. 

He concludes by saying mindfulness is ultimately about letting go and says the best description is from the last of TS Eliot's Four Quartets:  “A condition of complete simplicity costing not less than everything.”

This Author

Catherine Harte is a contributing editor to The Ecologist. 

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