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Hi there,

Are you satisfied at the moment with how present and in the moment you are each day?  Do you find you’re enjoying each part of your day, whether it’s at work, at home, with loved ones or on your own?  Or do you feel like some tweaks would make it feel even better and that you could be enjoying each day a little more? If so, it turns out you’re not alone.

When I came back to work in January wanting to be more mindful and in the moment I’d assumed I was part of a minority and that most people were launching into the year with great gusto and goals galore. In fact I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to recently who want the same thing: to be in the moment and present – to be enjoying their life. Sure, we all have our goals, but it turns out that this yearning to be more present, to have a richer experience of our day is sweeping the globe. It was even predicted as one of the trends for 2014 by international consulting firm JWT; they list mindfulness in their top ten movements of the year.

I have good news if this rings true for you - we have two webinars coming up to help you be more in the moment, happier and more satisfied at work, at home and in life.

Mindful living and happiness
Over the last month the media here in New Zealand, UK and US has been full of articles on the benefits of mindfulness and the emerging preference for doing less and enjoying more. Even the cover of this month’s Mindfood magazine leads with a story of actress Emma Thompson talking about ‘having fun and living in the moment.’
Mindfulness has been taught for thousands of years. Its origins are in the teachings of the Buddha, and it is considered one of the steps to enlightenment. Now mindfulness has become a modern phenomenon just as technology and the pace of change is catapulting us into a frenetic 24/7 world of sounds, images and instant communication bombarding us non-stop. Our bodies and minds seem to be catching on to this dilemma and saying Stop. Even organisations are seeing the need to bring more stillness into our day and to help people rest their mind and spirit.
One of my favourite writers at the moment is revered Vietnamese-born Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Naht Hanh, who describes mindfulness as the path to happiness. Thich (pronounced Tic) says “We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.”

Research on the benefits of mindfulness is happening around the world.  According to Time Magazine, in the US alone millions of dollars have been invested exploring its effectiveness in helping military staff increase their resilience, university students handle exams and accountants survive tax season.  US congressman, Tim Ryan, has recently written a book 'A Mindful Nation' and introduced mindfulness classes on Capitol Hill.  The Huffington Post reports that MPs at Westminster in the United Kingdom are taking mindfulness classes, the Bank of England is holding meditation lessons and Google is one of the numerous companies providing meditation rooms.  Google even arranges 'silent mindful lunches'; a beautiful and very Zen practice.

Gateways to mindful living

So why do we find it so hard to be in the moment? How did things get so out of whack? What stops us from being present more often? And how can we start living more mindfully and enjoyably? I’ve noticed several patterns emerging that take us out of the moment and curb our happiness that could be potential gateways to a more enjoyable way of living:
  • Are you trying to fit too much in to your day/week? (Gateway – do less) 
  • Are you spending an exorbitant amount of time online or on social media? (Gateway – put careful boundaries around your relationship with technology and social media)
  • Are you addicted to multi-tasking? (Gateway - do one thing at a time)
  • Are you making other things more important than simply enjoying the moment? (Gateway – translate what matters to you into behaviour).
Doing less
At some point last year, after hearing myself answering the question ‘How are you?’ with ‘Oh, really busy’ for the 400th time, I decided I was totally OVER being busy. I can’t say that being busy was ever a goal of mine, but I did stop to think about what I did want to experience in my day and my week if it wasn’t busy-ness. Besides, what is it about wanting to be booked to the hilt, seeming busy and important, and having no space for anything else that we might actually really want to do such as having a nice long bath or going to movies on our own? Just think: a whole box of popcorn to yourself! I think we’re addicted to doingbusy andnot missing out and I think we’ve inadvertently de-prioritised peace and enjoyment.
Tides are turning. The research is now showing that FOMO (the fear of missing out) is now being taken over by JOMO (the joy of missing out). People are now celebrating saying No to things, staying home and having less on their plate, to then enjoy what they do have planned - which might be doing absolutely nothing. What luxury.
“My actions are my only true belongings"
Thích Nhất Hạnh

The JWT trend report says that while we continue to embrace technology we are also going to start ‘raging against the machine’ and take more charge of how we use technology. How we set up our notifications is actually up to us – do we really need to be beeped at every time someone has invited us to Candy Crush?! Or are we afraid we’ll miss out?
Multi-tasking is a MYTH. Doing one thing is the answer.

Our addiction to multitasking means that we are frequently distracting ourselves while performing a task. We’re typing one thing while we think about the next thing to do. We’re talking to someone as we glance at our phone, diary or computer to see what else is waiting for our attention. We sit in meetings ruminating over the one we just came out of. We sit on a conference call while we type a report for something else, intermittently checking and clearing email. All the while we think we’re doing well and doing the best job we can. It’s highly likely we’re not; our brain is not designed to do this. Not well anyway.
As soon as we split our attention away from the task or situation at hand, we are losing a good chunk of our conscious awareness and diluting our instinct. It’s when we make poor judgments about how to handle a question just fired at us, or fail to recall information later on because we weren’t really ‘there’ in the first place. If we didn’t take the information in well, we’re not likely to recall it easily. All of this leads to a great deal of dissatisfaction because in our heart of hearts we know we could be doing better and truly firing on all cylinders.
And then there are those moments when we’re sitting with our kids or lover, suddenly realising we don’t know what they just said because we were thinking about the meeting/report/squash game/presentation/interview we have tomorrow morning …
We forget to be in the moment, present to life. And life is passing us by.

What is really important?

I believe our behaviour is a true indicator of what is important to us (in that moment). If you’re thinking about the sales you want to make on your calls tomorrow while you’re bathing the kids, in that moment you’re making the sales important. If you’re eating toast in the car to work in the morning to get to a meeting on time (yes, I have done that before, have you?), then the meeting (or the sleep in that made you late) is more important in that moment than enjoying a healthy tranquil breakfast.
None of this is ‘wrong’, it’s just helpful to be aware of. And I realise this is a confronting idea. I can hear you saying, what’s she talking about? My kids are the MOST important thing! And that is true, of course. So then you have to ask yourself - If that is so, how do I want to be behaving in this moment (with the kids) that matches how important they are to me?  
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself,
and you are the easiest person to fool."
Richard P Feynman, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
Getting the happiness factor up
So, how do we grab life by the reins and start experiencing it more fully? What do you do when you’re really stuck in old patterns? The answer lies in small simple strategies (artfully constructed thanks to the brilliance of NLP), and I’d love to give you some of those in my first webinar of the year; Daily Practices for a Happy Life, followed by Six Strategies for Calm and Brilliance at Work – because it turns out if you can be calm and resourceful at work, you will be more successful including earning more money (more on this, including fascinating research, in next month’s article).
Upcoming FREE Webinars
Daily Practices for a Happy Life 
Are you finding yourself getting further and further from that nice calm in-the-moment mode you came back from holiday in?
Would you like to bring more of this into your week, as an everyday way of being?
In this webinar you will learn simple but powerful tools you can put in place straight away, that will help you to:
  • Start your day in the right frame of mind – paving the way
  • Experience more satisfaction in your day
  • Switch off more easily from work
  • Be more present with your loved ones
  • Bring more calmness into your body – at work, at home or anywhere
  • Experience more enjoyment each day of your life.
6.00pm - 7.00pm  Thursday 20 March
Find out more or Register Now

Six Strategies for Calm and Brilliance at Work 
According to research by TalentSmart, our ability to keep cool and handle pressure (what we might call ‘resilience’) is a key factor in high performance and success at work. Learn what not to do, and what strategies you can put in place to be at your best by taking part in this insightful webinar. I will share the research with you and give you practical tools for immediate use.
This webinar is designed to help you:
  • Understand better how to manage your state of mind
  • Take charge of your emotional state
  • Understand how your language affects your resilience
  • Make small practical changes that will change how you experience your day
  • Start lifting your game at work – and in life.
6.00pm - 7.00pm  Thursday 3 April

Find out more or Register now
A webinar is an online training or presentation. It’s very easy to take part – all you need is a computer with sound and an internet connection. If you can watch YouTube clips then you can take part in a webinar. (You can also dial into a local number from your phone and just listen).  Once you register you’ll receive a link, you click on it to be taken to the webinar start screen. Easy!   Plus, if you can’t make the live session, as long as you’re registered you can access the recording later.

So, today, find a mindful moment to just be. Perhaps even right now. Breathe. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel your body in space. Be. And notice that feeling.

This is the nature of your essential self.
Wishing you a wonderful month,
    Submitted At: 26 February 2014 3:33pm | Last Modified At: 5 March 2014 4:56am
    Article Views: 3284

    Karen Ross is a respected coach working with individuals to make sustained meaningful change. Discover fascinating new ways to achieve your goals and create the kind of life you want with transformational coaching. Learn practical strategies and skills that empower you to take control. Don't you owe it to yourself?!

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