Updated: Jun 23
© Copyright 2021 Artwork by Cordi Neckermann
As a yoga teacher, I’ve been practicing meditation for about 15 years. And yes, mediating has helped me to calm my mind, listen to my thoughts and shift my thoughts from unhelpful to helpful ones. Although I have to admit that spending all those hours on my meditation pillow, just visualising my goals and what it would look like when they are achieved hasn’t really paid off. Most of the time, the shift in mindset would last for a little while and then I’d fall right back into old patterns and habits. The change I was trying to create didn’t seem to last. Does that sound familiar?
On a little side note. I’ve also spent quite some time laughing about the millions of dramatic outcomes my mind can conjure up from one single situation. Drama queen gene at its best. All drama queens give me a cheer, whoop whoop!
Mind set changed, now what?
I had done my research on how changing your mindset and your thoughts works in improving your life, but after trying for a decade, I started to wonder if there was perhaps something I was missing to create more lasting change. I had been visualising my goals playing out and how that would make me feel, but how much of it was actually happening in my life? Did I feel happier? Just changing my mindset didn’t seem to help me out so much, so I decided to go on a real-life adventure to find out what I need to do so I could feel happier in life off the mediation pillow.
Going on an adventure to find the holy grail of what makes you happy, is nothing short of awesome. I made it my mission to try out different things and no, in case you are wondering, getting drunk or eating was not part of the DOING! My focus was on activities like hobbies, visiting certain places and spending time with people that matter to me. I created my own happiness-meter which funnily enough, started out as a 'not-happy-meter'. Somehow, it was easier to notice and record what didn’t make me happy, rather than what did. Doing dishes, laundry and cooking definitely didn’t score highly on my happiness-meter. But what did made me happy, without fail, was dancing and I really thought I had found the holy grail! No matter how I felt on my way to my dance classes (it may have been the worst day ever!), I always felt a-maaaa-zing afterwards. Even my kids realised that if they wanted something, if they asked be straight after a dance class, they were more likely to get it!
More listening, less transcending
During my happiness adventures, my meditation practice changed from transcending meditation practices to engaging in more basic meditations. I was mostly tuning into what my mind was babbling on about, rather than trying to clear and cleanse it. I used more mindfulness mediation techniques to put myself into a calm state, one in which I could figure out what it actually is that brings me joy.
LOVE - DO - HAPPY
Following my little trail of doing things that make me happy, I realised that the best happiness formula for me is: Finding something I LOVE and then DOING it as often as possible as that makes me feel HAPPY. Aaaaand, feeling happy and energised actually allows the 'non-happy stuff' to get done more easily and quickly, so naturally producing a positive mindset.
Sounds easy enough, right? So easy and quick that I thought it must be magic. But no, it’s not magic and there is actual scientific proof behind it. Completely by accident, an article titled “Rip it Up” * landed in my Amazon recommended list, containing all the scientific proof behind my little LOVE - DO - HAPPY formula! In addition to this (which is incredibly exciting!), was also the proof and science behind the fact that dancing really does make us humans happy.
The 'As If' Principle
Professor Wiseman explains in his book “Rip it Up” that just thinking differently, i.e. to think yourself thin or imagine a richer self or visualise the perfect YOU is just difficult, time-consuming and often doesn’t work.
Yup, been there, done that.
His approach is that simple physical actions represent the quickest, easiest and most powerful way to instantly change how you think and feel. So, don't just think about changing your life, DO IT!
This finally proved why simply sitting on my meditation pillow didn’t make me feel any happier, or resulted in created lasting change. Just thinking and visualising didn’t create results, however finding something I love DOING and DOING IT, created lasting change, with a whole lot more positivity and motivation to work hard to achieve my goals.
Professor Wiseman’s research showed that acting out scenarios as if something has already happened can wire us to create lasting change. Playing pretend can improve your life.
Dancing in particular, plays a really important role in this because when we dance, we act as if we are carefree, happy and living in the moment, so guess what? There is a really, really big chance that at the end of a dance fitness class, you actually feel happier than you did before.
Want to enagage with the science? Fancy doing a experiment? Click here to book a dance fitness class with me and let’s see if I can make you smile and make you happy!
Looking for a new creative hobby? Then pop by my beginner drawing class here. It is absolutely FREE for you to get started!
See you soon,
Love Cordi x