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How to be happy-learn from the happiest man on earth

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Meet the happiest man in the world Matthieu Ricard. This 69-year-old is a Tibetan Buddhist monk originally from France. He came to be known as the “world’s happiest man” when he participated in a 12-year brain study on meditation and compassion led by a neuroscientist from the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson. Davidson hooked up Ricard’s head to 256 sensors and found that when Ricard was meditating on compassion, his mind was unusually light. Ricard – who says he sometimes meditates for entire days without getting bored – admits he’s a generally happy person although he feels his “happiest man” title is a media-driven overstatement.

He spoke with an international daily at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Here’s his advice for how to be happy. To Ricard, the answer comes down to altruism. The reason is because thinking about yourself, and how to make things better for yourself all the time, is exhausting, stressful, and ultimately leads to unhappiness. “It’s not the moral ground,” Ricard explained. “It’s simply that me, me, me all day long is very stuffy. And it’s quite miserable because you instrumentalize the whole world as a threat, or as a potential sort of interest [to yourself].”

If you want to be happy, Ricard says you should strive to be “benevolent,” which will not only make you feel better, but it will also make others like you better. (That’s not to say you should let other people take advantage of you, Ricard warns, but you should generally strive to be kind within reason.) “If your mind is filled with benevolence, you know – the passion and solidarity.

This is a very healthy state of mind that is conducive to flourishing,” Ricard says. “So you, yourself, are in a much better mental state. Your body will be healthier, so [it] has been shown. And also, people will perceive it as something nice.” That all sounds great in theory, but how does a person actually become altruistic and benevolent and not let selfish thoughts creep in? But, like a marathon runner who needs to train before he or she can run 42 km, people who want to be happier need to train their minds.

Ricard’s preferred way of training his is meditation. “With mental training, we can always bring [our level of happiness] to a different level,” Ricard explains. “It’s like running. If I train, I might run a marathon. I might not become an Olympic champion, but there is a huge difference between training and not training. So why should that not apply to the mind? . There is a view that benevolence, attention, emotional balance and resilience are skills that can be trained. So if you put them all together, you could say that happiness is a skill that can be trained.”

Ok, so how does one train their mind to be happier? Start by thinking happy thoughts for 10 to 15 minutes per day, Ricard says. Typically when we experience feelings of happiness and love, it’s fleeting and then something else happens, and we move on to the next thought. But Ricard says instead, concentrate on not letting your mind get distracted and keep focused on the positive emotions for the next stretch of time.

And if you do that training every day, even just two weeks later you can feel positive mental results. And if you practice that for 50 years like Ricard has, you can become a happiness pro too. That’s backed up by neuroscientists, by the way. Davidson found from his study that even 20 minutes of daily meditation can make people much happier overall.

This article was first published at dailyhunt.in. Image- matthieuricard.org

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Cut Stress At Work Using Meditation And Boost Emotional Intelligence: Study

Emotional intelligence has garnered considerable attention in the workplace because of its positive association with mental and physical health

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Stress, meditation
Meditation can boost emotional intelligence, cut stress at workplace. Pixabay

Finding it hard to cope with work-related stress? Take heart, practicing a silent form of meditation at your workplace can lead to significant improvements in emotional intelligence as well as perceived stress, according to a study.

The study found that those who meditated more regularly scored higher on total emotional quotient and had lower perceived stress, also known as psychological stress — the most common occupational health problems affecting workers worldwide.

They also showed improvements in general mood, stress management, adaptability, intrapersonal awareness and reality testing.

This indicates that emotional intelligence has a moderating effect on psychological well-being and mental health, the researchers said.

Stress
the role of emotional intelligence and perceived stress as important factors associated with organisational effectiveness. Pixabay

“This study demonstrates the benefits of meditation in the workplace,” said Laurent Valosek, Executive Director, Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education — a US-based non-profit organisation.

“And with a growing body of research on the value of emotional intelligence and the harmful effects of psychological stress, organisations are looking to give their employees tools for reducing stress and developing competencies like centeredness, self-awareness, and empathy,” he added.

The study, published in the journal The Permanente Journal, included nearly 100 central office staffs.

The team found that during a four-month period, those practicing the transcendental meditation — a form of silent mantra meditation — experienced significant improvements in emotional intelligence and perceived stress, as compared with controls.

Stress
The Power Of brain: You Get What You Choose To Focus. Pixabay

The research highlighted the role of emotional intelligence and perceived stress as important factors associated with mental and physical health and organisational effectiveness.

According to the World Health Organization, psychological stress adversely affects organisational commitment, work engagement, and productivity, as well as contributes to poor mental and physical health.

Also Read: New Study Shows Link Between Meditation And Greater Focus

Emotional intelligence has garnered considerable attention in the workplace because of its positive association with mental and physical health and its connection to leadership capacity and performance. (IANS)