does mindfulness make for better people?

What do I mean, “better people?” What constitutes a “better person?”

Here are three ways you could define being a “better” person:

  • Being a person with more empathy who is more engaged in their relationships.
  • Being a more productive person.
  • Being a happier person.

The last one is a little tricky and kind of loaded, but let’s go with the first two.

Empathy: Mindful people have less going on in their mind at one time. They are “all there.” With a “monkey mind,” people are constantly thinking about something else with at least part of their brain.

Have you ever sat with a loved one over dinner and been silent not because you were eating but because you were preoccupied? How valuable was that experience to your relationship?

Mindfulness exercise eliminates that situation so that you can be engaged with the people you wish to be engaged with. It will improve your relationships over time.

Productivity: Everyone gets distracted sometimes when they’re supposed to be working. Sometimes this might not be as overt as clicking around on YouTube videos or news stories for an hour when you’re supposed to be working on a report due at the end of the week. Sometimes it is.

While it’s dangerous to attach your entire self worth to being a productive human being in a monetary sense, it’s also naive to consider it worthless. Every living thing in the world must convert energy to survive. Humanity has found a very efficient way of doing that.  It is a blessing, for the vast majority of people, that we do not have to eat hand to mouth from gathered berries and nuts. The appeal of that is its simplicity, but we are approaching that from a different angle with mindfulness.

With mindfulness, you can get more done and be less miserable while you do it. This improves happiness in the short term and makes you more productive for the long term.

Happiness: What is happiness? There are two ways to define it. I call this moment-to-moment happiness and reflective happiness.

Moment-to-moment happiness is how much you are enjoying life moment to moment. This could be compared to your “mood.”

Reflective happiness is how “satisfied” you are with your life when you think about “how happy am I with my life.”

Moment-to-moment happiness is improved through mindfulness because you’re simply less anxious. That’s positive.

Reflective happiness should improve because you’re more productive, more empathetic, and less anxious. We’ll have more on this going forward.

In conclusion: Does mindfulness make you a better person? As much as someone can be better, yes.

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  • Israel

    Better person…. under or around what criteria….. how does that criteria came to be?
    created by society, others expectations, outside stimuly?
    I really like the mindfulness definition or discussion you are presenting since had never stoped to thing about it. Hopefully through it, reaching equilibrium (balance of the inner self with the outside) will mark the begining of self realization, creation and hence, hapiness.

    • Brian Miles

       Mmm… I think the criteria comes by consensus from a variety of sources including society and myself. I’m totally open to discussion with other ideas of how someone could be better or worse. Clearly people think in terms of being a better or worse self what with the “self improvement” industry being so huge.