Can you start your day by looking in the mirror and say, “Good morning, I love you.”? It might sound simple, but for many of us, showing kindness to ourselves is a real challenge. Ashish and I addressed this topic in the HAPPINESS SQUAD Podcast with our special guest Shauna Shapiro, a big-time expert on being mindful and self-compassionate. Shauna is a best selling author, clinical psychologist, and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness and self compassion.
In our conversation with Shauna, I found a treasure trove of mind-altering insights around why being mindful and kind to ourselves matters so much, and how the ripples of our own little acts of self-love and kindness can spread out, touching the people in our lives, our communities, and hey, maybe even the world. Let’s delve into this across three areas:
- Finding Peace Within Through Mindfulness
- How to Practice Self-compassion
- Embracing Gratitude and Appreciation
“The essence of mindfulness is not just about paying attention; it’s actually about paying attention with kindness.”Shauna Shapiro
Finding Peace Within Through Mindfulness
Imagine being a teenager, facing a life-altering surgery, and having your dreams of being a volleyball player dashed. That’s Shauna’s story as a teen, when she faced a severe case of scoliosis endangering her lungs. But instead of sinking into her pain and disappointment, she discovered a deeper form of mindfulness: paying attention with heartfelt kindness to herself.
The power of mindfulness transformed Shauna, allowing her to find clarity in her life and see that happiness is not in external achievements, but in self-compassion. And this is so in line with what we believe at HAPPINESS SQUAD – that true peace comes from how we gently speak to and treat ourselves, shaping our inner landscape and allowing us to cultivate happiness from within.
“We don’t have a shot at controlling the world out there, but if we individually start to master our inner worlds, that effect ripples.“Ashish Kothari
The 3 Pillars of Mindfulness
Choosing mindfulness can be the best decision you could ever make. And it’s those tiny, everyday choices that shape our happiness and peace. When Dr. Shauna Shapiro shared her insights on mindfulness, she spoke of the three pillars or the IAA, which harmonized with our mission:
- Intention – This is your personal “why” or the reason behind your actions and practices. Setting an intention gives you a clear direction and purpose. It must come from our hearts and align with our personal values to be effective. I set this each week (or each day!) and reflect on it at the end of the week. Take a look at our wheel below and try this yourself.
- Attention – This is the act of focusing your mind and being fully present in the moment. Attention is your mental spotlight, which brings you awareness to your actions, thoughts, and feelings. It helps you stay anchored in the present moment. Take a few deep breaths if you feel your mind getting away from you. Be where your feet are…in the present.
- Attitude – This is the kind and compassionate way you approach your mindfulness practices. As per Shauna, being compassionate to yourself carves out neural pathways of kindness, and then you’re able to bring them to other people. For example, if you’re being harsh to yourself, make peace with your inner critic by taking a pause, reflect, give yourself space, a hug and identify your strengths as you seek to improve
My own journey has shown me that our daily practices can touch not just our lives, but also those around us. Every day, we have a choice: to approach life with a clear intention, focused attention, and a kind attitude. This, my friends, is the essence of true happiness.
How to practice self-compassion
While many believe that self-compassion is a weakness, whereas at HAPPINESS SQUAD, we understand that it can be a strength that ignites your happiness from within. Shauna’s “Good Morning, I Love You” practice is a beautiful example of this. This practice is a mindfulness and self-compassion exercise where you start each day by greeting yourself with kindness and love.
Upon waking, you place your hand on your heart, take a breath, and say, “Good morning,” followed by “I love you,” and your name. What’s really special is how this practice doesn’t just stop with us. It ripples out into the world, touching everyone we interact with. Our language, when we speak out loud, can be powerful. It took Shauna time to speak this out loud, find a path that suits you.
“The practices that we do not only change us, but it also has the opportunity and the power to change others around us.” – Anil Ramjiani.Anil Ramjiani
As Shauna pointed out, self-compassion means learning how to name, with mindfulness, what you’re feeling in the moment, and bring kindness to it, and sometimes it takes strength to practice this. Both self-compassion and happiness share a profound truth: they’re choices we make and habits we cultivate, with the power to reshape the course of our lives.
Embracing Gratitude and Appreciation
Cultivating inner positivity and happiness often begins with a little thing called gratitude. We often get stuck in this loop of spotting what’s wrong around us or in other people. But we should all understand the waves of positivity we can send if we voice our appreciation and recognize the goodness in others. If we make an effort to see the good stuff and actually tell people about it, it can actually make a huge difference!
Also, while jotting down our own moments of gratitude is great, the act of receiving gratitude can actually supercharge our positive feelings threefold, according to a Stanford research. We might not always get thanked, but we sure can be the ones giving out those good vibes. So, let’s make it a habit– spot the good, say it out loud, and watch the magic happen.
When Dr. Shauna Shapiro spoke to us, she shared a simple yet powerful message: “what you practice grows stronger,” and wow, that hit home! At HAPPINESS SQUAD, we always say happiness is an inner game, not from external stuff or achievements, and it’s a CHOICE. When we choose to integrate happiness, gratitude, self-compassion, and mindfulness, we make them a bigger part of who we are, eventually bringing out the best version of ourselves.
Prof. Shauna Shapiro is a professor at Santa Clara University and has published over 150 papers and three critically acclaimed books, translated in over 16 languages. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Oprah, and NPR. Her TEDx talk, The Power of Mindfulness, has been viewed over 3 million times.
Learn more about Shauna at her website and LinkedIn.
Listen to the podcast with Ashish, Anil and Shauna below.
Access and subscribe to the all of the episodes of the Happiness Squad Podcast here.
Cultivate your Self-Awareness, Gratitude, Purpose and Community and personal growth more through the 9 Hardwired for Happiness practices. Integrate simple and proven micro-practices grounded in the science of happiness and neuroscience of habit formation in a 5 minutes a day. Visit the REWIRE Program powered up by the HAPPINESS SQUAD Community and experience your shift within your 30 day risk-free trial today. Make Happiness Your Competitive Edge.