I have never been religious.
Yes, I went to mass with my parents when I was a young boy.
In primary school I served as an altar boy and made my first communion and confirmation.
But since then, other than attending weddings and funerals, my relationship with religion is non-existent.
I’m simply not a believer, but that hasn’t stopped me from sometimes envying people with faith.
Why the envy? They simply seem to be happier.
Now I’m not talking about the bitter, intolerant, judgemental, closed-minded, type of religious person.
I’m talking about good people with faith who try to lead a good life.
For most of my life I thought that it was their faith alone that made them happy.
And while undoubtedly belief in a higher being plays a role, over the years, as I researched happiness, I came to understand the importance and power of prayer.
Through prayer, they thank their God for the food on their table, for the people in their lives, for their job, their house, their health, the vastness and beauty of the world they live in.
Prayer is used to set intentions, express compassion, empathy and other good feelings.
So when I mention prayer, I’m not talking about the type of praying I did when I was younger- where I rattled off the same things everyday without even thinking about what I was saying.
The praying I’m talking about is when the person connects with the words, the thoughts and the feelings that are being expressed.
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It’s this heartfelt appreciation and recognition of all the good you have in your life, combined with the positive emotions and intentions expressed in prayer that contributes significantly to how happy a person feels.
Anecdotally, we know that thinking about the good you have in your life, feeling and expressing gratitude, joy, love, awe etc has a positive impact on your happiness.
And now we have science-backed research to prove how this happens.
Breakthroughs in the field of neuroscience over the last 20 years shows there is a direct link between taking in the good and happiness.
As the fantastic neuroscientist Risk Hanson shows in his book “Hardwiring Happiness”, by thinking about the good in our lives or even creating good thoughts, and holding onto these good thoughts, absorbing them for a 10 or 20 seconds, and doing this regularly, brain scans show that these good thoughts get converted into neural structure.
This is called experience-dependent neuroplasticity.
In short, the brain can be shaped by whatever we decide to rest the mind upon. So if you keep resting your mind upon negative thoughts and worries, your brain becomes more susceptible to anxiety, depression, anger and a host of other negative feelings.
On the flip side, if you practice resting your mind on good things, like appreciating nature, appreciating the sounds and silence that surround you, tuning into your compassion, empathy, appreciating the people around you, setting intentions- then your brain will be shaped by these positive emotions.
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Now of course one of the problems with prayer is that it can lack variety and as a result you end up thanking God for the same things every day.
This leads to boredom and as a result it significantly reduces the impact of the prayer.
I remember as a child saying the same prayer every day- it was monotonous, repetitive and had zero impact on me.
So for prayer to be truly effective, it needs to be heartfelt, and to bring your heartfelt feelings into any exercise on a regular basis, there needs to be plenty of variety.
I spent years researching happiness, practicing all of the proven happiness techniques like compassion, self compassion, empathy, gratitude journaling, setting intrinsic goals and many more.
One of my main aims was to develop a prayer-like exercise that, when practiced just a few times every week, trains your brain to naturally tune into the good in your everyday life.
The end result is Lite Mind, a breakthrough technique that helps busy people develop a happier and more fulfilled life.
The short, prayer-like exercises form one of the central elements of Lite Mind.
These exercises get you to tune into the good in your everyday life, so that after just a week or 2 of practicing Lite Mind, you become naturally more appreciative and this has a significant impact on your everyday happiness.
There is also a huge amount of variety and this means that every exercise will be fresh, making it much easier for you to feel heartfelt appreciation, gratitude, love or whatever feelings you get from each exercise.
Unlike prayer, I don’t recommend that you do these exercises every single day- that just turns it into a chore. I space out the exercises in a way that leaves you wanting to do them just a few times each week.
Want to see how these exercises work?
Get Lite Mind for free: To show you how amazing the Lite Mind exercises are, simply click here to get a free, breakthrough happiness exercise.
About the author
Caemin O Connor is a business owner, a husband and father to 2 beautiful girls.
After years of practicing and teaching meditation, he got frustrated and a little bored with it.
So he started researching and developing new techniques.
He focused on happiness, as he realized the real reason why people try meditation, or any form of self improvement, is because they simply want to be happier.
Caemin spent years studying happiness and the various techniques involved in harnessing it, from gratitude, to compassion, from mindfulness to savoring nature.
The end result is Lite Mind, a breakthrough technique for developing long term happiness.
Simply click on the button below to get a free Lite Mind exercise.