Awareness Leads to Happiness

“Mindfulness quite simply means awareness,” says Dr Denny Penman. “Becoming more mindful, more aware of what’s going on in your mind and body, dissolves anxiety, stress and unhappiness. It works by broadening your awareness of what’s going on around you. It puts everything in context so that all of your worries simply lose their hold over you.”

Woman and Home

Here is a simple exercise for putting things in context and gaining perspective. It is like taking a step back and really becoming aware of what is happening, as well as what is happening in your mind and body at that moment. From this point of mindfulness, it is easier to respond rather than just react along the lines of old habit.

“Imagine for a moment that you are walking along an unfamiliar busy street during rush hour. Cars are going in both directions, some hooting at each other.On the pavement you are bumped and hustled and swept along in the crowd; in the confusion, you begin to lose your bearings.

You retreat into a doorway. There you have a better chance of taking cognisance of your surroundings, but the noise and frenetic movement still threaten to overwhelm you.

However, if you enter the building, take the lift to the third floor and go out onto the balcony, your perspective is considerably altered. You can look down  onto the busy street without its having an overpowering effect on you. You become more detached from it, so to speak.

Now think of that busy street during rush hour as your thoughts and emotions rushing around in your head, particularly if an event has triggered a painful emotion. If you are on the pavement, you will be overwhelmed and stand no chance of seeing things in proportion. In the doorway, you may be able to create some perspective, but you’re in danger of being swept back into the street.If you stand on the third floor balcony, you can watch the thoughts and emotions swirling beneath you and be less affected by them. this does not mean they will disappear – it’s more like taking a step back from the situation and lending a little distance to your view.

Use this image of yourself on the third-floor balcony whenever you feel you are in danger of being overwhelmed by emotions.” (Chapt 3: Creating distance)

Be kind and gentle to yourself always.

The full book can be downloaded as an e-book from Amazon on  or, Search by typing in: Living in the Now by Jill Jacques 


About Jill M Jacques

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and have spent most of my life here doing the usual things - marrying, having children and caring for an array of pets ranging from dogs to silkworms and chameleons. I first became interested in philosphy and its practical application in everyday life in my early 20s and spent many years as part of a group that pursued this goal. Drawing on this experience, I have been running "How to live in the Now" programmes for over 10 years. I wrote this book in response to requests from group members for something "simple and practical". I tend to see the funny side of life situations and enjoy writing humorous back pages as well as short stories and some poetry. Some of these have been published. Being here now is what really matters.
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