By Jan Bruce
If you can wish someone well, you will feel happier yourself. This is one of the most powerful lessons Chade-Meng Tan, Google engineer and mindfulness expert and author of Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace).
Carolyn Gregoire, who wrote about it in a recent post, points out one of the exercises Tan does during his lectures: Tells the audience to imagine two people, and do nothing but wish them happiness. He then says to spend 10 seconds each hour the next day wishing two different people well.
It's a very simple act, seconds of an attention shift, that can make all the difference in the world. That's because, as we teach at meQ, your attention, and thus your thoughts, determine your peace of mind. (Read more on how your thoughts affect your stress level.)
Take 10 seconds out of every hour during an eight-hour day, and that's 80 seconds -- less than two minutes -- spent in an entirely different frame of mind. It might not seem like much, but it is.
What I love about this exercise is the simplicity, the focus, the way in which it makes you change the channel and in so doing, creates a burst of warmth, energy, and peace -- which happens when we turn our attention toward a) someone besides ourselves, and b) a positive thought.
Change Your Channel
Here are a few more ways to change your mental channel -- and your whole day -- by tuning in to a better mood.
- Give someone your undivided attention. Doesn't seem like much -- but we're not as good at listening as we think. That's because it's so easy to be distracted, we feel rushed, and often, we interrupt in an effort to "fix" the situation. But sometimes all that person needs you to do is listen to her. That kind of nonjudgmental ear can do a lot for that person, and make you a better communicator. (More on how this reduces stress.)
Jan Bruce is CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium, www.mequilibrium.com, the new digital coaching system for stress, which helps both individuals and corporations achieve measurable results in stress management and wellness.
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