Despite the persistent rain in the UK, I am revelling in the current party atmosphere in London, which I know that Brighter Thinking Tips readers across the globe are also aware of! Enjoying all the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the capital last month, it was great to be part of something bigger than ourselves and unwittingly experiencing true happiness in the moment. My friend, Dawn remarked how she felt totally present watching the concert in Hyde Park and was not thinking about anything else. Neuroscience calls this ‘direct experience’ where your narrative circuitry (ruminating about you did or might do etc) is switched off.

Numerous research indicates that being more mindful increases perception and in noticing real-time information you will be more flexible in how you respond to the world. You become less enslaved by habits, expectations or assumptions and better able to regulate your emotions. In other words, you fully focus on the here and now (children do this brilliantly) and are more aware of what is going on for others. A positive impact for all then!

Another enduring memory was the joy felt sharing food and drink with total strangers in the crowds – and their surprise! We can get so caught up in our own lives that we can forget that frequently it is the simplest pleasures that contribute to overall happiness and satisfaction. Plus, by focusing on others we create additional purpose and motivation. Think what all this extra positive energy can create, as exemplified by the WSLA winners (see below).

“We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.” – H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama