This article is part of a series of Seattle Yoga News articles focused on interviewing local yoga experts in the Seattle area on a variety of yoga topics that are relevant to our readers. This week’s article is focused on finding happiness and features Silvia Mordini.
With contagious enthusiasm, Silvia Mordini encourages everyone she meets to love their life. She has been inspiring happiness, global awareness, and joyful living in students for 20 years. Seattle Yoga News asked her a few questions about finding happiness. Here’s what she said:
Seattle Yoga News: What does the word happiness mean to you?
Silvia Mordini: Happiness is a continuous state of quiet joy that exists in the moment from the inside out.
Happiness is what love looks like. It is the manifestation of what it means to love ourselves, love our day, love our lives.
“Contentment is about falling in love with your life.” – Swami Rama
Seattle Yoga News: How did you decide to become a happiness coach?
Silvia Mordini: The work I do is my svadharma (or duty). It chose me. We teach what we know.
My desire to encourage everyone I meet to love their life is an intrinsic part of me. Over the last 15 years, I’ve used my expert passion to connect people to their own joyful potential. My most important client is myself. I live my happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave my classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted! Happiness is contagious. And my enthusiasm is very convincing.
Seattle Yoga News: What are the common misconceptions people tend to have about finding happiness?
Silvia Mordini: “Happiness depends on ourselves.” – Aristotle.
Misconception 1: It’s not my job.
How to be happy starts with taking responsibility for the quality of your life. When we are willing to accept accountability, it gets easier to authentically describe what we want our happiest life to feel like. From there, the whole world opens up!
“Happy people avoid blame in all its incarnations. They don’t blame other people, they don’t blame circumstances and they don’t blame themselves. To happy people, blame serves no purpose. It doesn’t ever get us what we truly desire. In fact happy people not only avoid blame but they also avoid its family members envy, greed and jealousy – which are among the key indicators of unhappiness.” -The Choices Happy People Make
Misconception 2: Stop procrastinating by coming up with excuses to not be happy.
The act of waiting for happiness to be happy, or “happiness procrastination” as I refer to it, can be paralyzing. If we have a prerequisite of a certain condition taking place to facilitate happiness then we’ll always be waiting as opposed to being happy in the moment. If we fool ourselves into believing that we have to understand the reasons why we’re unhappy, the result will be getting stuck in that state of unhappiness. Instead, focus on forgiving the past without over intellectualizing it and live in the present.
Seattle Yoga News: How much does happiness depend on internal vs. external factors?
Silvia Mordini: Based on her research in her 2007 book “The How of Happiness,” positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky has concluded that roughly 50 percent of happiness is determined by our genes and 10 percent by our life circumstance, but 40 percent depends on our daily activities.
This 50 percent is what is commonly known as our Happiness Set Point. The great news is that we have the power to influence 40 percent of our happiness.
The yogic philosophy of Santosha is often translated to mean contentment is about choosing to live with what life is offering us from moment to moment. Finding the peaceful joy that is our natural state no matter what is happening outside of us. Spiritual happiness moves beyond the yearnings we have to want more or something different but instead appreciate the now.
Seattle Yoga News: What are some actionable tips one can follow to get on the right path in the pursuit of happiness?
The best way to be happy is to make kindness the main theme in your life.
You are not too busy. You can’t do it wrong. It is not difficult. If you have time to shower, drink a cup of coffee/tea, eat breakfast then you have five to ten minutes to meditate each morning. It gives us a new baseline, it returns us to being present and happiness only ever occurs in the moment. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is an illusion. When you grow still you naturally become more conscious of the love that is possible for yourself. You no longer “need” something outside yourself to be happy.
3. Be Here Now
Reduce your daily distractions. Close some windows. Reduce the tendency to multi task.
Studies show that multitasking reduces our focus, increases stress and reduces productivity. It can lead to increased mental and physical fatigue.
Do something that requires total concentration. For instance, knit, meditate, practice yoga, cycle, cook, read a book. Use this to build back your ability to pay attention for a sustained amount of time. Think of attention and awareness as the intelligence of the soul. Even if you decide to spend some time in front of the TV, then just do that.
Reducing distraction is the ultimate act of self-compassion. If you stay on the distraction track, you will burn out faster, be less happy and remain disconnected from good things that are happening.
What’s so important about being in the moment? Spiritual practice teaches us that the present moment is the source of healing, love, inspiration, and happiness. In fact, the purest form of happiness is found in the present moment. The yogis call this power of presence, shakti. But to reap these benefits, we can’t just have fleeting moments of presence. We have to stay long enough in the present moment to really soak in the happiness.
Apply this Happiness Rx (Prescription):
- Each day take time away from your electronics and have a face-to-face conversation (instead of Face-to-book)
- Each week take one Media Detox day without technology (tv, laptop, cell phones, ect)
- Each month plan a nature trip whether it’s hiking in the mountains or walking the beach.
- Each year go on retreat where you can unplug from your business life for a week.
- At the end of the year, take a business “savasana” where you celebrate all that you attempted and accomplished and find pleasure in resting in that knowledge.
“We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow.” ~Fulton Oursler
Take time every day to be grateful.
5. Stoke Your Passion!
Happiness is a direct experience of enthusiasm. Remember, it is not how or when we accomplish something that matters most – it is the sense of enthusiasm during the process that demonstrates our quality of life. Enthusiasm gives us the chance to go beyond our happiness set point. The foundational teachings of yoga tell us that joy is our birthright. That doesn’t mean it comes easy: It takes real effort. However, this exertion is well worth it and we should never let a day go by without putting forth our best effort to live with passion.
Practice my Rebel Spirit Mantra: I love myself, I love my day, I love my life!
6. Be around Positive People.
Be mindful of who you let into your closest energy field. Many researchers in cognitive neuroscience propose in human brain activity we have a system of imitating by way of “mirror” neurons. This means the behavior of others impacts how we act and feel as if we are doing the action
Negative influences will impact even the most positive people. You are empowered to edit wisely those that are not a healthy influence to have around you. Foster friendships where you feel a balance between giving and receiving. High vibe friends will support your intentions to elevate yourself and the world.
7. Maintain Balance
Set strong self-love boundaries whereby you make the sensitive adjustments to maintain balance in your life. If you are addicted to overworking, address it now. Balance is easy to find but difficult to maintain because you have to remain actively invested in prioritizing your own happiness.
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Published on Feb 24, 2016