What makes us feel happy and gives us a sense of accomplishment might change from day to day, year to year. Research has shown that our minds are more naturally drawn to the difficult and unpleasant while ignoring the lovely and pleasant.
What Gets in the Way of Our Well-being
Research has shown that our minds are more naturally drawn to the difficult and unpleasant (such as aches and pains, irritability, sleepiness) while ignoring the lovely and pleasant. A useful way of looking at this is to picture our minds as being like either Teflon or Velcro, where the sticky Velcro mind latches onto the unpleasant and the smooth Teflon mind moves over pleasant experiences without absorbing any of it. Neither the Teflon nor the Velcro mind tends to notice pleasant experiences, which means that we don’t always see that there are good things in our lives.
We tend to follow well-worn grooves of automatic pilot both in our thoughts and feelings, not recognising that our habits have become unhelpful. Mindfulness helps us take back control of our minds and hearts by intentionally bringing our attention back to our immediate experience; we can get better at spotting our automatic unhelpful tendencies (habits and temptations) so that we can choose where to place our focus and make changes to how we respond. This new awareness must come from a place of curiosity, friendliness and compassion. We can ask ourselves: what does this moment need? As we step out of habitual patterns, we can choose how we want to be.