The Google techno weeny Chade-Meng Tan, led a set of mindfulness classes which became a mindfulness institute. Tan says he was “constantly miserable” until he discovered that such a temperament of self-loathing is malleable – we can reshape our mindsets.
He says in his latest book, Joy on Demand, this has less to do with hours of therapy, but more to do with developing mental exercises, including one that helps you recognise “thin slices of joy”.
I can really relate to this concept. While life can bring us great highs and lows (especially when we are young) as we get older we tend to enjoy the simple, unremarkable things – a blooming flower in the garden; a splash of water on the face; a morsel of chocolate; the laughter of a child. Although they may only last seconds, these moments seem more precious and add up.
It’s a matter of recognising these events and training the mind to give them more attention. Through this we become more familiar with joy. Our reward is that our minds connect us with a more joyful space. And it gets better with practice.
I must say that this is not an antidote to clinical depression but refocusing the mind as a way to lift our spirits in daily life.