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How Meditation 
Increases Happiness

Happiness is a state of being that many strive to achieve but often find elusive or fleeting. The desire for increased happiness and life satisfaction is very human and a common reason that people start meditating. It should be noted that while meditation is most often practiced in a seated position, it can also be done laying down, walking or even eating.

People often wonder how the practice of quieting the mind can improve physical and emotional health issues, as research suggests. The answer is that a mindfulness meditation practice actually trains the brain for health. This is done by focusing attention on the experience of the moment along with acceptance of whatever shows up in that moment. Although it sounds simple, training the brain is just like training in any other discipline. It takes practice, persistence and proper form.

During meditation and mindfulness, one consciously lets go of the static of continuous thoughts, which strengthens the ability to focus. According to an article posted on Harvard.edu, a 2011 study led by a team of Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital shows that, after 8 weeks of mindful meditation, different parts of the brain are integrated and the brain matter associated with overall well-being is increased. This, quite simply, helps one to feel more connected to their life, which translates into being calmer and happier.

So, yes, there is a connection between meditation and happiness. For those seeking confirmation, all it takes is to try it. Learning in groups or individually with a qualified teacher is recommended, especially for beginners. The results may be happily surprising.

Ann Marie Arvoy, MA, LPC, is the owner of Dragonfly Meditation Studio and Mosaic Counseling, in Mequon, WI. Arvoy has been meditating and studying the mind-body connection for over 25 years. To learn more about meditation, contact Arvoy at AnnMarie@DragonflyMeditation.com or visit DragonflyMeditation.com. To read the article mentioned, visit News.Harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain. For the study itself, visit TinyURL.com/meno58v.

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