Think Like a Monk Exercises to Find Happiness & Calm

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Think Like a Monk" by Jay Shetty. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you sometimes feel like you’d like to get away from it all? Do you then realize that you can’t actually do that?

Former Vedic monk and award-winning content creator Jay Shetty claims that the route to happiness and fulfillment is to Think Like a Monk. According to him, monks are the calmest and happiest people in the world because they live with a sense of purpose that aligns with their true, inner selves.

Continue reading for two Think Like a Monk exercises that will help you apply the principles in the book.

Think Like a Monk Exercises

Fortunately, you don’t need to cut yourself off from the modern world or shave your head to benefit from a monk’s mindset. Shetty draws from his experiences as a monk, ancient spiritual texts, and the latest psychological research to transform abstract concepts into actionable methods you can easily incorporate into your life.

We’ve put together two Think Like a Monk exercises that you can go through on your own or in a group.

Exercise #1: Define Your Values

According to Shetty, defining the values you want to live by is vital to experiencing satisfaction and happiness in your life.

  1. Describe two types of experiences that feel most meaningful to you. Consider moments during which you feel satisfaction, joy, or at peace with yourself. For example, you may feel satisfied when you’re making use of your creative talents or at peace with yourself when you’re walking your dog early in the morning and seeing the sun rise.
  2. What values do you think these experiences point toward? For example, if seeing the sun rise feels meaningful to you, it might be because you value experiencing the inherent beauty within nature.
  3. Think of someone who inspires you. Name the specific qualities about them that you admire. For example, it could be their generosity, warmth, or their ability to always know the right thing to say.
  4. What values do you think guide this person? For example, if they are always warm and generous, they might be guided by compassion or kindness.

Exercise #2: Practice Gratitude & Focus on What’s Going Well

Shetty claims that the more you practice feeling gratitude, the easier you find it to remain positive and take advantage of opportunities that align with your values.

  1. Consider your experiences over this past week and write down five things that you have to be grateful for. For example, you might feel thankful for the affection you got from your kids, the coffee your colleague brought to your desk, or the smile from your bus driver on a rainy day.
  2. Think of an experience in your life that you initially thought of as a problem or a failure. List all of the ways this experience benefitted you. For example, perhaps you lost your job but eventually moved on to a role that felt more satisfying to you.
  3. Now think of a current problem or fear in your life. Imagine how you might feel grateful for this challenge once it has passed. For example, if you’re having a difficult time with your partner, you may strengthen your relationship once you work through your problems.
  4. List several reminders you’ll use to take the time to practice gratitude every day. For example, making space for thankful thoughts in your daily journal or setting an alarm on your phone to stop and acknowledge the good things in your life.
Think Like a Monk Exercises to Find Happiness & Calm

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Jay Shetty's "Think Like a Monk" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Think Like a Monk summary :

  • Tips from a former Vedic monk on how to find happiness and fulfillment in life
  • The three stages to adopting the monk mindset
  • How to positively influence the world around you

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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