How To Use Meditation For Happiness [Meditation Techniques That Work]

Published by Paul Harrison on

When you know how to use meditation for happiness, you’ll be able to make yourself feel great time and again. 

When it comes to happiness, meditation is number one. There are so many reasons why meditation makes you happy. And it all begins with happiness itself. 

Have you ever wondered why it’s hard to be happy?

So many people struggle to let themselves be happy.  They fight against happiness, like they actually want to be miserable. 

Maybe you tell yourself you will find happiness when you:

  • Have more money
  • Complete something you told yourself you’re supposed to do
  • Have the perfect body
  • Or some other rubbish demand you put on yourself?

Listen: You deserve to be happy now

The trick is to just allow yourself to experience happiness. Meditation gives you the power to let yourself be happy now, today, in this present moment. 

So let’s make that happen (and while you’re at it, you might like to take a look at my list of hobbies that make you happy. Get a new hobby and find happiness at the same time!)

article continues below...

Why You’ll Love Using Meditation For Happiness

It can be hard to experience happiness. Meditation helps. 

Meditation essentially lets you get out of your own way. When you meditate you will realise that the biggest obstacle between you and happiness is you. When you meditate, happiness will come naturally because you will no longer be stopping it. 

There are many excellent meditations for happiness.  And science proves that they do indeed work (here’s the reason why).  

When you use meditation techniques for happiness you silence all those negative thoughts and worries—you know, all the things that stop you being happy, and you find inner peace. Then, happiness comes easily.  

 The 2016 Happiness Index is sitting at a pathetic 31 out of 100.That’s less than one third optimum happiness. But we can change this. 

Let me show you how to meditate for happiness.    

How To Use Meditation For Happiness  

If you want to know how to meditate for happiness, start by opening your mind. You can do this by focusing on the present moment.  

Here’s how to focus on the present moment:

  • Focus generally on the present moment
  • Focus on one single aspect of the present moment.
  • < >And we can even mindfully observe our thoughts.——

Here are the 5 Best Meditations for Happiness 

1. Vipassana meditation for happiness

Arguably the very best meditation technique for happiness is Vipassana. 

Vipassana is essentially the practice of monitoring and labelling your thoughts and emotions. It’s one of the main Buddhist meditations and it is scientifically proven to make you happier. 

Do you ever find that when you try to be happy you feel anxious or depressed or some other negative feeling? If so, Vipassana will help. It will give you more control over your emotions so you’re less affected by negative feelings.  

Plus, when you practice Vipassana you’ll be more aware of the 16 different types of happiness.

Remember to read the link above to learn this another other meditation techniques. 

2. Loving Kindness Meditation For Happiness

Loving Kindness Meditation is a technique in which we visualize the giving and receiving of compassion.

Neuroimaging scans show that Loving Kindness Meditation changes the structure of the brain and increases arm feelings like kindness, love, compassion, and happiness. 

3. Pratyahara

Pratyahara is actually a type of yoga. It is a method through which we eliminate the negative influence in our lives and increase the positive influences. This tips the scales in favor of happiness and removes causes of unhappiness.

4. Combining CBT With Meditation for Happiness 

Do you experience a lot of negative thoughts? If so you should definitely try Mindfulness-Based-Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. It’s a method used by therapists to target and change problematic thoughts.

5. Mantra meditation techniques for happiness

Mantras are specific words or phrases with spiritual properties (they are similar to affirmations or spells, but are backed by science and have been used for thousands of years).

Meditating on a mantra relaxes the mind and induces specific states of consciousness.

There are specific mantras for happiness. Meditate on these mantra for 10 minutes and you will notice an improvement in mood.

How To Meditate For Happiness By Letting Go

So here’s the problem where most people struggle. How in the hell do you let go?

I mean, it’s not like we’re talking about holding a physical weight now, is it?

If you were holding on to a weight you could just set it down on the table and bingo, problem solved.

But you can’t just let go of mental attachments, can you?

  • You can’t let go of your ex.
  • You can’t let go of your old job.
  • You can’t let go of your past.
  • You can’t let go of your deceased family members (something I had to learn to do myself).
  • You can’t let go because you’re not actually holding on to anything. 

Pop Quiz: How do you let go of something when you’re not actually holding on to anything

You’re holding on to a weight that exists only in your mind. So how on Earth do you let go of that?

Well, let’s think about it in terms of letting go of something that does have a physical existence.

If you were trying to let go of a weight, what would you do? You would loosen your grip. Gravity would take over. And gravity would bring the weight to the floor so you don’t have to carry it anymore.

So when you let go there are two things involved. There’s your grip and there’s reality.

And if you want to let go of something in your mind you also have to let go of your grip and you also have to let gravity take it.

One half of that is a lot easier than the other half. It’s a lot easier to let go of your grip than to let gravity take it, because what on Earth is mental gravity? We’ll deal with that in a sec.

Let me recap.

We know that unhappiness is caused by holding on too tightly. We know that pain / suffering begins when we hold on to something that is changing, because our minds and reality are pulling in opposite directions. And we know that to be happy we should let go and trust life.

There was also something about gravity…? We’ll get to that.

For now we need to let go of our mental grip.

To let go we meditate. All the best meditation techniques for happiness help you to let go of that baggage. 

So let met show you how to let go by meditating.

How To Meditate For Happiness By Letting Go (Stage 1)

This is a quick meditation technique for happiness. It will take five to ten minutes and I promise you that you will be very glad that you did it.

Follow these instructions:

  1. Get comfortable in a relaxing space.
  2. Close your eyes and focus your mind on your breathing for a few minutes (use these breathing meditations for the best experience).
  3. Continue to focus on your breath. Thoughts will arise in your mind. The trick here is to simply observe them. Do not fight them. Do not try to repress them. And do not attach to them. Just observe them and let them go when they go.
  4. Continue observing your thoughts and tell yourself that they are only thoughts. See the true nature of them. See that your thoughts are not real they’re just like little smog clouds that arise in your mind.
  5. This will loosen your grips on your thoughts, which is step one of finding happiness.

 Believe it or not, there is a mental “gravity” and it works in the same way that gravity works.

Gravity works by creating a force to which objects are attracted. Planets create gravity. And because of that we are pull towards the ground.

Your mind is also pulled towards the ground. The ground is reality. Like regular gravity, mental gravity pulls you towards reality. We’re also ways being pulled towards the way things are.

We are mentally pulled towards reality. When you go through bad breakup, for instance, you are pulled towards accepting the breakup.

But (and it is a very big but) we have the power to resist gravity.

Just like your muscles can pull a weight against gravity, your mind can pull against reality. And just like with your muscles, if you pull too hard you will suffer, you will be injured, and you will be unhappy.

And that is the entire nature of unhappiness.

Unhappiness = Your Mind Pulling Against Reality

Does it seem funny that your mind works in the same way that your muscles work?

Your muscles can simply exist in the state they’re naturally meant to be in. When you just let your muscles do what they’re supposed to do you will be healthy and your muscles will be happy. And when you let your mind exist as it should your mind will be healthy and happy too.

But how do you let your mind simply exist in the state it is supposed to be in?

That’s stage two.

How To Meditate For Happiness (Stage 2)

So far we have used meditation to let go of our grip (by loosening our thoughts).

Now we need to let go and let gravity take its course.

Essentially, we need to let things exist in the natural order. This is step 2.

Just like you let gravity take over and pull the weight to the floor, you’re about to let reality take over and take any mental weight in your mind. This will free your mind. And it will make you happy. V

  1. As before, take yourself somewhere peaceful and relaxing.
  2. Close your eyes and relax
  3. Now you are going to let gravity take over. And the way to do this is by being mindful of your senses. So, begin to focus on each of your senses. Meditate on taste, touch, smell, sound, ad sigh. And then meditate on your own body. Pass your focus around your body, being aware of all the sensations you are experiencing.
  4. Continue to meditate in this fashion as you take 108 breaths.
  5. Open your eyes and continue to be mindful (to focus on reality). This will let reality (gravity) take over and it will make you very happy.

If you have performed both those meditations you will be feeling very, very relaxed and incredibly happy. And if you haven’t actually done the meditations yet, go ahead, do them now. I promise you they will make you feel amazing.

One last thing: if it feels like you are putting yourself first by focusing on your own happiness: Good! You should put yourself first. And always remember, you do not need to be happy always.

The 16 Types Of Happiness That Effect Health:

There are 16 different types of happiness that effect health.

They are:

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Interest
  3. Determination
  4. Pride
  5. Attentiveness
  6. Happiness
  7. Cheerfulness
  8. Being at ease
  9. Activeness
  10. Excitement
  11. Amusement
  12. Inspiration
  13. Alertness
  14. Strength
  15. Relaxation
  16. Calmness

Not feeling enough of these types of happiness? Usethese tips for positive thinkingso your mind produces happiness automatically.

WHY Meditation Makes You Happy 

 A study conducted by Harvard showed that people spend 46% of the time focusing on something other than what they’re doing.

They termed this, “Wandering mind”.

Psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard University tell us, “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” Killingsworth and Gilbert write. “The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.” (1)

This wandering mind serves to block out the present moment.

  • Do you think about work while trying to sleep? That’s a wandering mind.
  • Do you think about food while you’re at the gym? Wandering mind.
  • Do you check your phone while having a conversation? Again, that’s wandering mind.

Wandering mind makes it hard to be happy. When you use meditation techniques for happiness you stop wandering mind, hence why you become happy. 

Another way to achieve the same thing is to live in the moment

how to find happiness

 

Why Meditation Makes You Happy Even When You Were Down?

You’ve probably heard the term “mindfulness” before. But you might not have gotten the full picture.

Mindfulness is a specific meditation technique, and it is also a general term referring to living in the present moment (*3). We can use both these types of meditation for happiness.

Let’s begin with the latter.

Mindfulness in this sense meaning living in the moment. It’s about being aware of the world around us. It’s about focusing on the world as it comes to us through our senses.

To do this, we just focus on the present moment. 

Try these mindfulness meditation techniques for happiness:

  • Eat mindfully
  • Take a mindful walk
  • Lie down in bed mindfully
  • Practice mindful art (read Read Wendy Ann Greenhalgh’s excellent Mindfulness & the Art of Drawing: A Creative Path to Awareness [AMAZON] )
  • Take a mindful shower 

These mindfulness meditation techniques make you happy because they give you a chance to just enjoy the moment.  

Numerous scientific studies have proven that these mindful moments create positive feelings and can even help to eliminate anxiety and depression. (*4, *5 *6) 

So mindfulness means happiness. But it also refers to a specific meditation technique: Mindfulness meditation.

In Buddhist tradition, Mindfulness refers to a certain type of meditation in which we practice awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations.

Jon Kabat Zinn [Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School] describes mindfulness this way: “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”. (7)

When we practice mindfulness, we are being present moment mindful but focusing on what is happening in the mind itself.

This titrates what Buddhists call Dukha and Sukha, which is satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The more we live in the moment (the more mindful we are) the more Dukha we have, and the less Sukha.

Most experts advocate practicing for twenty minutes at a time, which can be a challenge when we are suffering. However, research shows that these twenty-minute mindfulness sessions will pay dividends.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and published in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that mindfulness significantly improves mental health and boosts happiness. (*8)

Mindfulness. Two definitions. Both equally beneficial.

 

Both present moment mindfulness and mindfulness (the meditation technique) train the mind to open itself to the present moment, and this brings happiness.

So if you ever wonder why meditation makes you happy: it makes you happy because it stops mind wandering and helps you live in the present moment. 

If you think you could do with letting happiness in, I recommend reading Eli Jackson Bear’s Sudden Awakening: Stop Your Mind, Open Your Heart, and Discover Your True Nature [AMAZON]. 

Both science and spiritual wisdom advocate the use of meditation for happiness.

While research laboratories to this day are continuing to study the affect of meditation on the brain, religiosity and spiritualism centre on the affect meditation has on the spirit.

[bctt tweet=” "To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind,” —Buddha ” username=”t_d_meditation”]

In today’s fast-paced society, however, it can be hard to control the mind.

We’re victims to a constant barrage of over-stimulation. From the pressures of work to the noise of social media, there’s such an overflow of information that the mind rarely get the opportunity it needs to rest.

Over time this leads to mental degradation, the mind becoming tired and worn.

The mind needs a chance to rest.

Sleep does not always work. Oftentimes while we sleep we dream and even then the mind doesn’t truly rest. That’s why it’s a good idea to try using some meditation techniques for happiness too.

[b[bctt tweet=” "In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality,” —Thich Nhat Hanh. ” username=”t_d_meditation”]p>

When we meditate we focus the mind on the present moment.

When meditating, the mind isn’t creating thoughts, nor is it judging reality, nor is it performing any other task than just observing. This state of pure observation, of mindfulness, is of immense value to physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Research into the effects of meditation on happiness and other mental states began in 1960 with Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard University. Dr. Benson discovered that meditation was effective in treating anxiety, depression, and stress, and that at the same time as curing the mind of these negative states meditation also create positive states like happiness, compassion, and love.

A later study showed that meditation can alter a person’s “Set Point.”

Meditation makes you happier by altering your set-point

The “Set-Point” is your baseline of happiness

“The set-point theory of happiness suggests that our level of subjective well-being is determined primarily by heredity and by personality traits ingrained in us early in life and as a result remains relatively constant throughout our lives,” writes Alex Lickerman M.D, Director of Primary Care at the University of Chicago.  This “Set Point” acts as a baseline of our well-being. Though our emotions fluctuate we will return to this set-point over time.

Daniel Goleman, author of “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence,” says, “There’s a bell curve for this ratio, like the one for IQ: most of us are in the middle, with some good days and some bad days. Those who are tipped to the far right are likely to have clinical levels of depression or anxiety. And those whose setpoint tips far to the left are able to bounce back quickly from upsets.”

It is possible to change this set-point. One way to do so is through meditation. A study showed that only eight weeks of meditation for one hour a day raised a person’s happiness set-point. Those participants who had meditated for an hour a day became happier and also more empathetic and compassionate. The researchers also noted that the meditators’ immune systems had improved.

Why Does Meditation Make You Happy? Because it stops “attachment”

So why does meditation make us happy?

It makes sense when you understand what unhappiness is.

Most of the time unhappiness is caused by changes to things you’ve grown attached to (8).

Change and attachment. These are the causes of unhappiness.

People fear change. And they especially fear changes to things they’re attached to.

Let’s take a closer look for one second.

Let’s say that you are in a loving relationship. You’re married. It’s been perfect. You can’t imagine ever getting a divorce because you’re so happy. But then your husband or wife cheats on you. Obviously you’re hurt. But why are you hurt? You’re hurt because something that you have become attached to (your marriage) is being changed (by infidelity).

Another example?

You’re stock broker making millions. Because you like making millions, you become attached to it. You pray it will never end. But then bam!, 2008 recession. Stock market isn’t what it was. You end up losing your job. You’re now working at a grocery store. Happy? I don’t think so.

Those are two examples of things that were positive that changed. But have you ever noticed how even when something changes for the better you still feel a little bit sad? Weird huh? But again, something you had grown attached to changed. And the result is unhappiness.

Meditation Makes You Happy Because It Helps You Let Go

So, we know that when you are too attached to things you risk becoming unhappy.

When you’re too attached to your marriage, for instance, you risk becoming unhappy when things go wrong in the marriage. And also, because you fear change, you become unhappy at the slightest suggestion that something might go wrong. Even the tiniest little hiccup can cause anxiety. And it is all because you are too attached to things.

Meditation helps you to detach. And when you detach you gain control of your emotions.

This is a little blurry. It can be hard to visualise what’s going on here. So let’s take a closer look at why attachment hurts so much.

Example:

  1. You’re in a marriage.
  2. Because this marriage means so much to you, you try to hold on to the marriage in your own mind.
  3. It’s like you are mentally gripping this marriage with your mind. But then something changes.
  4. Your husband / wife has an affair.
  5. This feels like reality is pulling at your marriage.
  6. Your mind is pulling one way. Reality is pulling the other.
  7. This is a fight you won’t win. Your mind can’t defeat reality. The more you resist the more strain you’re going to feel in your mind. The more strain your feel in the mind the more pain there will be.
  8. End result? Unhappiness. Pain.
  9. The solution is to let go.

Meditation helps you to let go. When you let go you find happiness.

The tighter you grip onto your ideas the more painful it is when life pulls the other way. That’s why you need to let go.

There are a million and one quotes and platitudes about letting go.

  • When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” —Lao Tzu
  • “This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.” —Rumi
  • “In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” —Buddha

But what is letting go really all about?

Simple.

Just imagine that your mind and reality are two physical forces. Now imagine if your mind is pulling one way and reality is pulling the other? What’s going to happen? Something will break. And it aint gonna be reality.

Leave a comment and remember to subscribe to our newsletter.

Share This:


Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book: Your Best Meditation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *