How Mindfulness Can Help Us Feel Better More Often

The science of neuroplasticity tells us that what we practice grows. Qualities like self-compassion, non-judgmental awareness, and equanimity are pillars of mindfulness that we can nourish with regular practice.

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This story, from an anonymous source, sums up how our minds work:

One evening a Native American elder told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, and superiority. The other is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, and compassion.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The elder simply replied, “The one you feed.”

This story reminds us that the development of positive emotion is rooted in an underlying principle borne out by the science of neuroplasticity: What you practice you will cultivate. 

Four Obstacles to Feeling Good

There are many ways that people feed difficult emotions without knowing they’re doing so. Here are a few common obstacles to feeling good, and how mindfulness can help us work with them:

People tend to limit their belief in themselves. They assume that if they were born a certain way, they will always be that way. So when they attempt to be…