Happiness: Awareness of the Body and Mind
The Objective of Life: In my opinion, it is to live a fulfilled life free of pain and suffering. Having said that, hardships are often inevitable. However, I do believe that we can sometimes manifest our own problems in our lives, specifically relating to our bodies. Through my own personal experiences, I have recognized my own body concerns as being tied to preoccupations of my mind. The culture of the mind can play a major role in the organization of one’s life, including the perception of the self. Negative thinking pathways in our minds, like negative self-talk, can lead you to feel like a prisoner in your own body, which I experienced before finding the pathway of recovery and happiness. Along this positive path, I have found that it’s important to understand that our bodies do not define us. They are simply tools we use to experience the world. It is also important to maintain a healthy mind and body (referring to the Health at Every Size model) because experience is essential to life; without personal experiences, there is no life. Finding that driving force within, that heightens your experiences in the world is one component that can help keep your fire lit - my life ignitor has been Yoga.
Enhancing Life Through Happiness and Health: I believe that we must gain body, mind, and soul awareness to help achieve happy and healthful states of being; that is, being aware of ourselves and our surroundings while being at peace. As the Dalai Lama said “we can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves”. A state of balance has helped me get through life positively, as opposed to the appearance of my body which society has tried to tell me over the years. Bringing balance to our minds, bodies, and souls can be achieved through practice and concentration. I have been able achieve a more balanced state in my life through my Yoga practice, and I feel as though it has helped me tremendously. I am not endorsing Yoga for all individuals. I am endorsing the exploration of new hobbies and activities as a way to achieve a balanced life. This exploration has allowed me to focus on one thing at a time for my own personal enjoyment.
The Bottom Line: Try something new. It will bring about some type of awareness! You may find something you like, or something you don’t like. Either way that experience will foster an awareness within.
The Social Reality: In a society constantly telling us how we should perform and act, it is very difficult to concentrate for more than two seconds without the mind racing; What if I don’t do it right? What if I fail in their eyes? What I have found is that my level of consciousness is related to my level of awareness, where both act simultaneously to combat socially constructed negative thoughts. Concentration and living in the moment have been key parts of helping me obtain a balanced life and mind, hence my personal growth stemming from my enjoyment of Yoga practice.
Something to Ponder: Our 5 senses require consciousness, and consciousness involves the act of ‘doing’.
The Problem of Consciousness Raising: With all of the distractions and fast-paced norms in society, we are hardly ever fully conscious in our daily lives. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to completely engage ourselves in the moment, including the act of loving ourselves. Concentration requires us to cultivate positive attitudes when living in the moment, as opposed to negative attitudes like destructive self-talk. Positive thoughts can allow all of our senses to be present and the mind to be focused, and can ultimately lead to increased awareness and happiness.
Humble and Forgiving Approaches: To conclude, I have found that in my pursuit of happiness, cultivating humility has helped me thrive and grow as an individual along with the expression of forgiveness. If the ego is in the way, forgiveness and humility become harder to express - therefore, positive thinking is a start!
Personal Growth Observations Throughout My Experiences: Life can be an everyday struggle until we achieve some sort of balance. Balance can help us grow as individuals; spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In the meantime, on the road to seeking balance, awareness, and happiness, I encourage you to try new things (including positive self-talk) and let go of negative thoughts, all while making an effort to be kinder to yourself.
Image Credit: The Daily Quotes
Lindsy is a NEDIC Blog Coordinator and recently completed a Social Work practicum and summer student position at NEDIC as a Direct Client Support worker. Lindsy has a background in Fitness and Lifestyle Management and is a certified Yoga instructor and Personal Trainer. These foundational avenues have helped her advocate for achieving balanced and healthy lifestyles, while adopting the Health at Every Size (HAES) approach. She is currently finishing the last year of her Bachelors of Social Work at the Ryerson University in Toronto, and hopes to complete her Masters of Social Work next year.