Your brain is robbing you of happiness

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”-Bruce Lee

I bet you are very busy.

Hell, we are all busy. Society is busy.

School, work, kids, job, groceries, food, exercise, friends, meetings, and then we fill any leftover time with other things we deem “important” (which usually aren’t).

We pack all these “to dos” into our head to a point of bursting. This “overfull” brain creates a chaotic always distracted mind that has trouble focusing, sleeping, and enjoying the moment. It weighs us down. We develop ADD.

Make no mistake about it: This is a nation-wide epidemic. It is the by-product of our over-connected and always on-demand society and almost everyone in our Western culture is afflicted some way or another.

I’m not preaching… I’m as guilty as the next guy.

Sure, I meditate and would consider myself a “self-aware” person, but I still find myself fighting what the Buddhists call “monkey mind.”

I lose control. My mind wanders. I worry and stress. Sometimes I’m better, sometimes it’s bad.

It’s a never-ending battle.

But at least I am conscious of it and trying to get better...

And what about you?

Did you know how damaging it is to let your mind wander? Do you realize how much enjoyment you are robbing yourself of when you are living in the past or future or when you are obsessing over your long “to do” list?

Did you know that you can find happiness in life, reduce suffering, and get more done by coming to the present and quieting your overactive mind?

You can, and it’s amazing.

I’m not going to go into a long explanation of meditation and mindfulness here, but I will say this: You have to start somewhere.

Try the Headspace app or search “how to meditate” in Google. Start meditating or being mindful a few minutes here and there as you go about your day when you running errands, driving, and waiting in line.

Meditation and mindfulness isn’t the only way you can reduce the stress that comes from a hyper-active mind. You can also start eliminating stuff from your life.

Less is more.

Life is more enjoyable and fulfilling and less stressful when you are doing and thinking about less. The same is true when you give more attention to fewer things—you will be more effective and get more enjoyment out of what you do.

More than ever we are bombarded by distractions in the form of the Internet, TV, movies, books, podcasts, YouTube, social media, apps, games, etc. The more we pile on, the less effective and enjoyable life becomes because the more distracted we become. This distraction creates a constantly stimulated mind that can’t focus or be still. And this puts on loads of strain to the conscious and subconscious mind.

It weakens your mind.

A distracted mind causes you to worry about things that don’t matter. It makes you short-tempered. You make a big deal about things that aren’t a big deal. It makes you always feel impatient, rushed or hurried, and like you are never “doing enough” in life.

In fact, your distracted mind is probably ruining your life!

Listen: Don’t take this lightly. This is important stuff. If you feel like something is “off” in your life, or if you have a feeling of “discontent” stirring beneath the surface, then you should take that as a sign that you need to start working on your mind.

Simple breathing and focus exercises like meditation and mindfulness can strengthen your control of your mind. They can eliminate stress and calm you down. But before you can start implementing techniques like this, you have to first recognizing that you have a problem.

Trust me, you do. One way or another, you do. So accept it and make it a goal to get better. If you want some reasons why you should make it a goal, Google these topics:

  • “Distractions and mental health”
  • “Meditation benefits”
  • “Mindfulness benefits”
  • “Cell phone and mental health”
  • “Multitasking and mental health”

Get started

Start eliminating distractions from your life. Spend more time in stillness. Take a walk and be in the moment with friends and family. Take your time. Stop feeling rushed. Breathe.

Instead of adding more, subtract. Do less.

Life is better when it’s simpler, and you’ll be better at it. When you know how to focus, you’ll get more done and feel better doing so.

Action: Look at your “to do" list and start deleting. Then, if something keeps coming up, you know it’s worth doing. But until that happens, hit "delete" and forget about it.

Start enjoying the moment. Look around and see everything—notice the smallest details. Quiet your racing mind. Listen to people. Engage with them. Be fully in the moment. Put your freaking cell phone away.

Focus on doing fewer things better instead or a lot of things average.

Less is more. The less floating around your head, the better.

This stuff can change your life.