In my book, Secular Meditation, I claim that mindfulness can be half the secret to happiness. I cite a paper in which psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Angus Deaton(both Nobel Laureates) discuss happiness in terms of two components—moment to moment emotional well-being and long-term life evaluation.
Mindfulness is commonly described as paying attention to the present moment with a friendly, welcoming attitude. It is a precisely a tool to improve moment-to-moment emotional well-being.
Finding meaning and purpose address the long-term component of happiness. As mindfulness promotes a non-evaluative attitude, it’s not obvious how mindfulness would affect the way you evaluate your life. However, because mindfulness encourages you to pay attention to the choices you make and not operate on “automatic pilot” it does open a space where you can make decisions about where you would like to take your life.
Gleb and I talk about a number of strategies for finding meaning and purpose. About nine minutes into the video above, we discuss similar envisioning exercises we both practice. I call my practice Intentional Daydreaming. Take a listen.