8 mindful habits that are hard to adopt but will make you much happier

There’s a stark contrast between adopting habits mindlessly and doing so with intention.

The differences boil down to impact. Mindless habits often lead us on autopilot, offering no real benefit to our happiness.

Mindful habits, though, require conscious effort. They’re not always easy to adopt but they’re designed to increase your joy in life.

As Lachlan Brown, founder of Hack Spirit and a passionate advocate of mindfulness and Buddhism, I’ve learned a thing or two about the profound effects of these practices on our happiness. And I’ve discovered certain habits that can bring about significant improvement.

Here are eight mindful habits that might challenge you at first, but trust me, they are totally worth it for the happiness they’ll bring your way.

1) Mindful breathing

Breathing is the most natural thing we do, yet we often forget its power in our busy lives.

But as a passionate advocate for mindfulness, I can tell you that mindful breathing is the cornerstone of all mindfulness practices.

It’s a simple concept – focusing on each inhale and exhale, letting go of other thoughts and just being in the moment. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.

The challenge lies in our tendency to get caught up in our thoughts, worries, and to-do lists.

However, once you start to consciously bring your attention back to your breath throughout the day, you begin to cultivate a sense of calm and clarity.

It’s not about controlling your thoughts or forcing relaxation. It’s about noticing your breath, again and again, no matter how many times your mind wanders off.

This habit might take some time to adopt, but the increase in happiness and peace it brings is definitely worth the effort.

When you find yourself getting overwhelmed or stressed, remember to breathe mindfully. It might just be the key to unlocking a much happier state of mind.

2) Daily meditation

If I had to pick one mindfulness habit that’s been truly transformative for me, it would have to be daily meditation.

Meditating every day is undoubtedly challenging. It can be tricky to find the time, and even when you do, it’s not always easy to quieten your mind. But the benefits are immense.

Daily meditation helps us become more present in our lives, reduces stress, and increases our overall happiness. It’s a practice that brings us closer to our true selves.

Thích Nhất Hạnh, the globally revered Buddhist monk, once said: “Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.”

That quote has always resonated with me. Through regular meditation, we learn to accept our feelings instead of resisting them. We become more aware of what’s going on in our minds and bodies – and that’s the first step towards healing and happiness.

Even though it’s tough to adopt, I encourage you to try adding daily meditation into your routine. You might just find it becomes the best part of your day.

3) Embracing impermanence

This one’s not an easy pill to swallow. In fact, it’s probably one of the hardest mindfulness habits to adopt. But it’s also one of the most liberating.

Embracing impermanence is a core tenet of Buddhist wisdom. It’s the understanding that everything in life – good or bad – is temporary.

Our feelings, our circumstances, our relationships, even we ourselves are constantly changing. Nothing stays the same forever.

It can be a tough concept to grasp, especially in a world where we’re taught to cling to things, to chase permanence. But in reality, clinging only leads to suffering.

By accepting that everything is fleeting, we learn to appreciate our experiences more deeply – even the difficult ones. We stop resisting change and start flowing with it.

It’s a raw and honest approach to life. And while it might feel uncomfortable at first, in time, it brings a deep sense of peace and contentment.

Challenge yourself to embrace impermanence in your daily life. It may be hard, but it’s a step towards true happiness and freedom.

4) Practicing non-judgment

We all have an inner critic. You know, that little voice in your head that judges you, criticises you, and generally makes you feel less than worthy. It’s a constant battle to silence it.

But here’s the thing: mindfulness teaches us not to silence our inner critic, but to listen to it without judgment.

Practicing non-judgment is one of the most challenging yet impactful habits we can cultivate. It means observing our thoughts and feelings as they are, without labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

It’s not about denying or suppressing our thoughts and emotions. It’s about acknowledging them with openness and curiosity.

This habit can be raw and uncomfortable at times. It involves facing our fears, insecurities, and self-doubts head-on. But it also paves the way for self-acceptance and self-love.

Strive to observe your thoughts with non-judgment. It’s a tough habit to adopt, but it’s a crucial step towards true mindfulness and happiness.

5) Living with minimal ego

Living with minimal ego is a habit that’s quite close to my heart. It’s a concept I’ve explored in-depth in my book, “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego”.

Our ego often gets the best of us. It makes us defensive when we’re criticized, crave validation, and leads us to compare ourselves with others.

But the practice of mindfulness teaches us to let go of these ego-driven behaviors. It encourages us to release our need for control, approval, and recognition.

Adopting this habit is challenging because it goes against our innate desire to protect and promote ourselves. But when we manage to minimize our ego, we start living more authentically and compassionately.

So, try to catch yourself next time your ego is driving your actions. Shift your focus from ‘me’ to ‘we’. It’s a tough habit to cultivate, but it’s one that will make you much happier in the long run.

For more on this topic, do check out my book. It’s packed with insights on how to live a fulfilling life by embracing Buddhist wisdom and reducing the influence of our ego.

6) Letting go of attachment

Attachment can be a tricky thing. It’s natural to become attached to people, things, and even ideas or beliefs. But when we cling too tightly, it can lead to suffering.

Buddhist wisdom teaches us to let go of our attachments. This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy or appreciate things in our life. It simply means not being overly dependent on them for our happiness.

This habit can be raw and hard to implement. It requires us to honestly assess what we’re holding onto too tightly and then consciously work on loosening our grip.

Whether it’s a relationship, a job, or a certain lifestyle, letting go of attachments allows us to experience life more freely and authentically.

Try to identify one thing you’re overly attached to and practice letting go. It’s a tough habit to adopt, but the peace and freedom it brings are truly liberating.

7) Cultivating compassion

Compassion is at the heart of Buddhist teachings, but it’s often easier said than done. We live in a world that sometimes seems to reward self-interest over empathy.

Cultivating compassion means extending kindness, understanding, and love to others— and most importantly, to ourselves. It’s about recognizing the shared human experience in all of us, the shared suffering and joy.

The Dalai Lama once said: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

This quote reflects the deep truth that our happiness is intrinsically linked to the happiness of others. When we cultivate compassion, we not only help others but also nourish our own happiness.

But let’s be honest—it’s hard. It’s hard to stay compassionate when we’re hurt or angry. It’s hard to show kindness when we’re faced with hostility.

However, this challenge shouldn’t deter us from trying. The ability to remain compassionate even in difficult situations is a true testament to our inner strength and wisdom.

Let’s strive to cultivate compassion—in our thoughts, words, and actions. It’s a tough habit to adopt, but it’s one that will bring us closer to true happiness.

8) Doing nothing

In a world that places a high value on productivity and busyness, the idea of doing nothing seems counterintuitive, even lazy. But in terms of mindfulness, it’s a crucial habit to adopt.

‘Doing nothing’ doesn’t mean being idle or unproductive. Instead, it refers to taking conscious breaks from our busy lives to just be. It’s about creating moments of stillness where we can connect with our inner selves and just observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment.

Mindfulness teaches us that it’s okay to slow down, to not always be doing something. These quiet moments can be incredibly healing and refreshing for our minds and bodies.

Adopting this habit might feel strange at first, especially if you’re used to constantly being on the go. But the more you practice ‘doing nothing’, the more you’ll appreciate its value.

So next time you find yourself with a free moment, resist the urge to fill it with tasks or distractions. Just breathe, observe, and be. It’s a surprisingly tough habit to cultivate, but trust me, the peace and clarity it brings are well worth the effort.

Adopting new habits, especially ones that push us out of our comfort zones, can be challenging. But as we’ve explored, these eight mindfulness and Buddhist habits have the potential to significantly increase our happiness.

Remember, it’s not about perfection, but progress. Even small steps towards these habits can lead to big changes.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into these practices and understanding more about living with maximum impact and minimum ego, I invite you to check out my book, “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego”.

In it, I share more insights and practical tips on how to effectively incorporate Buddhist wisdom into your daily life.

Through mindfulness and Buddhism, we can navigate life with more peace, clarity, and joy. Here’s to your journey towards a happier you!

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.