I first heard about the Happyness Center about a year ago when I saw an advertisement for a First Responders Recovery program for front line workers that worked with mental health, disabilities and addictions. As a front line responder in the line of work, I was desperate to get help - I was completely burnt out and wanted to quit my job. I had gotten to the point where both my work and personal life were non-productive and I wanted to be productive and dynamic again. (continues below)
After attending the program, I learned that I was the stone in the water rather than the ripple. Every step had a decision. I learned that every choice, whether how or when to react to a situation, has the exact same weight and importance as the seemingly large, complicated decisions. I realized that my choices are mine alone and the Centre helped me define what I was responsible for. It can be difficult not to assume responsibility for every outcome but the program taught me that this leads to an unhealthy perspective, and unfair expectations of myself and others.
Through the First Responders Program I learned that my work needs an ability to analyze and use intuitive problem-solving techniques to assist others in achieving their goals; but that I had defaulted to over-analyzing and ignoring the intuitive and inclusive aspects of my work. This led to the deterioration of relational strengths and my productivity, as work became difficult and exhausting. I also learned what the ebb and flow of energy is, where growth happens, where decline is and the critical point of how and why energy is affected.
The most significant concept I learned, and I am still working on, is that what I perceive can affect the natural ebb and flow of my energy. That letting go of unhealthy self-expectations boosts energy. I learned to replenish energy in a healthy, non-judgmental way. It is easier to criticize, self-judge and constantly nag oneself, but this mode drains energy. Thus, all of the energy I require to intuitively assist others is not forthcoming. I learned what I had control over and what I was responsible for. A person needs energy to get up, eat, move, play, interact with others and work. I learned that I had destroyed my energy reserves in all these areas due to: constant self-criticisms, self-recriminations, vicious self judgement, terrible eating habits, poor self-awareness, inconstant movement, no fun, no laughter, and accepting what I believed to be truths (about myself and others) without seeking to first know whether they were actually true.
The program’s focus got me to let go of the negative that I accept from others and put on myself, and to put truth and curiosity in its place. I learned what a healthier approach is and how to incorporate it into the every day. Thanks to the program, I am now open to possibilities of growth; I have a desire to learn and I accept that I will make mistakes; I eat more intentionally and healthily; I move more; I laugh more; I practice the boundaries in work and personal life that I learned during the program and I am aware and practice where and what I am accountable for. My practice requires flexibility, intuition, and the ability to challenge rigid habits to a healthy option rich environment, but the First Responders Program taught me the tools and skills I need to have this practice and to make it a lifestyle.
I would absolutely recommend the program to anyone who feels crushed, useless, worthless and powerless. If you feel one or more of those listed above, invest in yourself, invest in your health and learn to live and love again. I feel grateful and understand gratitude in its magnificence thanks to the Happyness Center and it's practitioners and teachers.
At the Happyness Center, our main aim is to help you develop mindfulness and deeper awareness of your inner self. We learn about ourselves more in silent observation rather than noisy activity outside, but it can be difficult to teach ourselves to do this, which is why we provide many opportunities to teach and guide you in this journey of practice.
Meditation is a powerful tool for being aware of what is happening inside us at each moment. Our minds are busy all the time - looking for outward solutions to our inner challenges or placing our efforts in trying to change another person rather than ourselves. When we’re having a conversation with our family, friends, or colleagues; driving from one place to another; cleaning vessels; doing laundry; watching TV or any other general life activity, it is very important that we observe our thoughts, feelings, and expressions. This regular observation will develop an awareness that will help us gain deeper insights of ourselves, our relationships and surroundings, as well as provide us with the answers that we have been seeking to our struggling questions.
Observation, awareness, and attention are the three important pillars on which we can build our mindfulness practice. Through mindfulness, we learn that we can resolve our differences from inside out rather, than looking outward, always expecting or depending on others or things to solve our inner struggles. Research has shown that observation and awareness can help us figure out the meaning of what we observe and what the right action must be. Observation can provide important information about the other (person or situation) on which we learn to base our actions.
This process is similar to using a camera to take a picture. The camera is the pure awareness of perception and the lens is the attention that focusses on what is there. The observer is observing into the camera of awareness and the lens brings into focus what is directly in front of us. The resulting picture can be seen clearly.
Come join us at the Happyness Center for our Monthly Meditation, Sunday October 27th, as we explore and discuss how to build inner awareness and attention through observation.
We all lead busy lives, and meditation can help us relax and renew. We will share, learn, and practice together. Group meditations has many advantages that can reinforce our desires of daily practice that inspires us and others.
The Happyness Centre is just that...a happy place. It’s a place where you can find support for both physical and mental health.
I first learned of it in early April of 2018 after only running in RUNClub for a few weeks. During this 3rd week with RUNClub I wanted to quit; I felt so physically unhealthy and mentally overwhelmed. I was complaining about excruciating shin pain and this person named Mahdu Sai started to run beside me. We talked A LOT about how mental health impacts our physical health. Afterwards he invited me to come to the Happyness Centre for yoga the next evening. He says, “Yoga is the best thing for running.” Where is this place? I never heard of it? Naturally curious, I attended a session even though I had a fear of yoga. To my surprise I wasn’t leaving in an ambulance, literally this had happened! I was so surprised that the yoga could simultaneously give me energy and relaxation. I was excited with the almost immediate impact on my mental health. A few sessions into yoga I learned about the meditation sessions that follow. Why not I asked myself....because this was yoga for the mind. Through running, yoga and meditation I was learning to trust my mind and have faith in my body. Fear is strong but if I was going to get healthier I had to be stronger and face all of it. One of my favourite quotes I reflect on when I’m faced with fear is by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you CAN or you think you CAN’T, you’re RIGHT.”
After 17 months I have transformed my life from living in pain and loneliness to completing my first 1/2 Marathon in August 2019. The Happyness Centre is the safest place to get healthy.
Your Happyness Team