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How can we find happiness in the saddle, more of the time?

Updated: Nov 9, 2020


I can’t read enough about this subject as I am a passionate believer in the power of the mind. It’s so absorbing and literally ‘mind blowing’. New research in neuroscience has proved that we can actively alter the way our brains work. In this way, we can transform our lives! I think many of us work hard at making physical changes e.g. going to gym, eating a healthier diet, but do we address exercise for our minds? …….. the mind is so powerful and that means it can work with us or against us. Step 1 is to know that we can alter our mindset and Step 2 is to exercise our minds to support positivity and ultimately our happiness.

I’ll keep this short and sweet, just to whet your appetite..

Here are a few areas I have become fascinated with, so have a read through and pick any that resonate with you and I urge you to find out more.

Positive Psychology – coined by a few including Martin Seligman. This focusses on the positive aspects of human experience rather than the medical model of fixing what is wrong. Think of it as a reflection of ‘good life’ – factors that contribute to feeling fulfilled. Ask yourself the question “what is going well for me at the moment” and build on these aspects. Take your energy to this area of your life as frequently as possible.

Mindset – coined by Carol Dweck. Part of the Positive Psychology movement with a focus on changing the way you think in order to fulfil your potential. She talks about ‘growth mindset’ versus ‘fixed mindset’. The fixed mindset belief is characterised by believing we are innately ‘intelligent’ or ‘sporty’, therefore no amount of effort will make a difference, a feeling of being judged in a negative way. Think of the term ‘glass half empty’. Growth mindset attitude is characterised by an attitude of being able to learn from ‘failures’ and an enjoyment in being able to improve, noticing and celebrating small wins and a belief in effort improving achievement. Think of ‘glass half full’ attitude.

Flow coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihayli. This area highlights ‘finding our state of flow’ and its relationship to happiness. It takes place when an individual is so involved with an activity that nothing else seems to matter, time passes quickly and a state of euphoria is as a result of the activity. Crucial elements to this state include a high perceived challenge of something almost within reach and that keen focus to remain engaged and undistracted.

I don’t know about you but I have definitely found myself in ‘states of flow’ during riding and yoga ……….I feel these both release happy hormones for me, and its why I keep getting drawn back to them. This is about finding happiness within yourself, find what makes you happy and focus on that, with all your energy, as often as you can. We can’t do happy things all the time but you know what I mean. We, as a world, have so much more than previous generations, abundant food, abundant entertainment, abundance of items, but research shows we are unhappier than ever, because these items we purchase provide only a temporary happy state, look deeper inside and find what makes you truly deeply happy. Just do it more often J

I dip in and out of all the books below:

“Positive Psychology in a nutshell – the science of happiness” llona Boniwell

“Mindset” Carole Dweck

“Finding Flow” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“The Source” Tara Swart

"Think like a monk' Jay Shetty

Have a great day and see you on the mat, or the in the saddle, soon

Positively yours,

Annabel

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