How to live in the moment- little ways to find happiness every day

This weekend someone reminded me of this simple fact

”There are no ordinary moments”.

There are no two moments in life that are alike.

I will never sit here again and hear the birds singing outside my window as I write this.

You will never again be where you are, at this moment you are in right now reading this.

It’s a mind-boggling concept and reminds me how lucky we are to be alive, right here and right now. And although we all inherently know this how often do we live in awareness of the moment we are in.

And I don’t mean just nodding your head and acknowledging the moment you are in. I mean how often are we truly present in our lives. How often do we conscious experience something that we can, later on, recall in HD detail? Living in the moment means being cognizant of what is happening around us and what we are experiencing. Experiencing fully with all of our senses. Living in the moment does not mean that an individual should not consider their goals or make plans. For me living in the moment is taking the opportunity to be in myself, my surroundings and to be consciously part of life. Simply being.

Living in the moment is truly a gift.  It reduces stress, stops worry, increases both happiness and appreciation for life and amazingly in my experience at least, it slows down time. It is easy to get caught up in how we think our lives should be. The never-ending to-do list takes over our consciousness and we slog through from one task to the other. Always thinking ahead. How many of you woke up today and thought how wonderful it is to wake to another day? More likely you woke up thinking ugh its Monday and then half asleep and in a negative mindset you began your day.

Our overthinking mind has a lot to do with not living in the moment. When we are not aware of it we can dwell on the past or the future. However, when we stop and be present where we are, we get out of our thoughts, out of our heads. It allows you to be truly thankful for where you are in life and gives you peace and contentment. And who amongst doesn’t want a peaceful and content life?

I challenge you to make this week, this day, the next hour of your life a time where you choose to be present to live in the moment and enjoy the magic of being. And if you don’t know how here are some of my favorite ways of choosing to be in the moment.

3 deep breaths

Just stopping and taking 3 deep breaths will bring you out of your mind and into your body. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and then open your eyes again. Take in the world around you, the people, the smells, the sounds and appreciate.

Stop judging yourself

We all do this and it is one of the most destructive habits on the planet. I should do this, that. Why didn’t I? The negative catchphrases of negative self-judgment are endless. Now, look at nature. Do you think a cat wonders if it should or shouldn’t do something? What about a tree? Does a tree worry about when it should grow the nest leaf, release its seeds or when it’s sap should rise? No. Nature just it. You just are. When we judge ourselves it is because we are not living up to our expectations (or other peoples). This is one of the biggest tricks that pulls you out of a moment and into your brain. When you feel the negative judge, the ‘you shoulds’ appear I recommend using a trick of Louise Hays. Thank it for its feedback and let it go.

Use your waiting time

Waiting time is the worst right? No, I disagree! All those moments that you feel get wasted. Standing in queues, waiting for a bus, in traffic. These are prime opportunities for you to be in the moment. To observe the world around you. To see the small moments that will never be again. If I am waiting outside one of my favorite things to do is to look up. Just look up and see the sky, feel the air on my face. Looking up at the sky is a great way just to connect with yourself and the world around you. And is much more energizing than scrolling through your Facebook feed.

Slow down

I know it sounds easy to say. But in reality, many of us find it hard to do. I don’t mean you need to completely slow down (it would be so healthy however not always entirely realistic). What I am talking about is slow down certain moments. Take a breath before you speak. Slow down your mouth so your thoughts can catch up. Slow down how you eat, savor the taste sensations. Slow down how you wash in the shower.  Focus on building little rituals in your daily habits that bring you into being present. Just by slowing down and truly experiencing these little moments in the day you will boost both your personal energy and enjoyment of life.

Randomly spread kindness

Being kind brings us ample opportunity to appreciate life. Random acts of kindness are just that — random. They are spontaneous, in the moment, and a great addition to your daily life. They not only support you to be in the moment but also improve the moment for someone else.

Practice gratitude

Take a moment to be grateful. Mentally or physically list a few things you are grateful for every day. And remember to practice gratitude. When you feel it say it. If someone opens the door for you, thank them. By hearing ourselves say thank you we recognize more how much we have to be grateful for every day.

Look for things that make you smile

I used to say that if I saw something beautiful in a day then that day was a perfect day.  It is possible to see something beautiful every day when we look for it. The sunlight hitting a tree, a person’s laugh, a painting, a building, a sleeping cat, people in love, a story in the newspaper. Look for things each day that make you smile and enjoy the contentment the smile brings to you and to others.

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There are many other ways to live in the moment. Mindfulness, meditation, dance, running, creativity the list is endless. One of the best is to get into nature and take a walk. Find ways that fit into your lifestyle and believe me you will reap the benefits. Living in the moment is essential to be happy. The more you practice the happier you will become.  

If nothing else do one thing for yourself today. That is right now. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths and open them again. Listen to the world around you, see the world around you and remember how lucky you are to be here. Here and now and in this unique moment.

Have a beautiful week <3

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Put self development on pause this holiday

So now it’s 14 days until Christmas and it’s at this point every year my own personal development focus used to fly out the window with everything else there is to do.  And although some gurus would disagree with me I have now learnt to say that’s totally ok. My logic is that there is so much else going on that if you added on top of all of that new habits, new goals, new activities you are actually going to set yourself up for a fail and not succeed. This is a seriously busy time of year. Growing and challenging ourselves is already on the cards for most family christmases. You don’t need to pressure yourself even more.  

Yet if you like me are a personal development junkie, how can you press the pause button for a couple of weeks at christmas and allow yourself to slow down on your personal growth, without getting so distracted you forget to continue again after the holidays? From experience I have found there are 3 golden rules to follow at this time of year to help you to do exactly that.

Keep doing what you are doing- within reason

As much as is humanly possible keep doing the good things you are already doing for yourself. Whether it is a self love mantra, or a miracle morning routine keep going. However within reason. If your schedule is so busy in this last run up to the holidays then try and cut back on the unnecessary activities. And that’s all not just your personal development activities but on all activities that you don’t need to do. Strip back your normal routine to the bare essentials and give yourself the time you need.

Self care and hygge

Make self care and hygge (see life lesson 101 on the art of hygge  )a priority in these 14 days. By taking care of yourself, taking time to be cosy and relax you will still be working on your personal development by practising self love. And you will be in harmony with nature’s rhythm, the natural rhythm right now is slowing down and hibernation. When we work in harmony with the season we feel better. So enjoy your duvet on the sofa evenings, a face mask or a night with an old favourite film. Even though you are technically not primarily focused on your personal development right now you will grow naturally by listening to your bodies needs.

Give yourself a Christmas present

Seriously buy yourself a present however I don’t mean any old thing. Give yourself a present of inspiration, to help refocus you on your personal development journey after the holiday. There are many ways to do this from cheap to expensive. The main thing you need to remember is to set a start date after the holidays and clearly define your goal. The idea behind this present to yourself is that it brings you new inspiration for how you would like to continue your personal development journey in the new year.

I have 3 recommendations for your personal development present to yourself this Christmas

  • Set a goal to watch a Ted Talk/ personal development video everyday during the holiday.  (I find collecting them on a pinterest board helps me to store these gems away until after Christmas – here is mine)
  • Give yourself a new personal development book and when reading it over the holidays underline the things you want to begin practising after the holiday. (See my favourite list here)  
  • Book yourself into a personal development workshop or time with a life coach in the new year.  (Re:Root has a gift certificate for a coaching session in the new year- check it out here).

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Two of the most important things we can do in life is to be conscious of our actions and to live in the moment. By allowing yourself to consciously put your personal development on pause for Christmas, focus on self care and by setting a goal for when and how your will restart your development journey again you will be giving yourself the chance to live in your now and appreciate your christmas with the people you love the most, completely refreshed for the new year! And isn’t that the ultimate Christmas present of all.

Have wonderful week <3

Be kind to yourself this Christmas

 

#Lifelessons101 -Living with integrity – staying true to yourself in the middle of drama

Some weeks are amazing. Some are mediocre. And some challenge you to the point of meltdown. Can you guess which type of week I have had! Yep, gold star to you, I had a challenging week. And this time it wasn’t even my fault. I mean seriously. This week I got caught somewhere in the middle of a drama situation and had to fight with myself constantly to not get swept away. And what was the cause of all this ? Well believe it or not it, the challenge was living with integrity.  Or rather maintaining my integrity in a potential exploding“drama” situation.

Life loves to challenge us. It’s how we grow. And the kind of situation I was facing this week gave me many opportunities to do that. It got me thinking that it’s all well and good saying we want a life of integrity. To stay true to our ideals and  internal moral code. However when the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan how do we hold onto to our integrity? For some of us this is easier than it is for other. Mr T is completely black and white when it comes to listening to his internal compass. Where as for me, this week I was surprised to find that in certain situations I find it more challenging. Especially when there is high pressure from my emotions. In fact the emotional rollercoaster was the hardest part. It took me completely off road, in a metaphorical sense; and it was only through a lot of soul searching and good advice that I managed to find my way back to my internal compass. Realign with my moral core and act from a place of integrity.

I wouldn’t say this week has made me an expert on maintaining my integrity amidst  drama. However it has certainly given me a crash course experience on how to do my best to maintain my integrity under emotional pressure. A great teaching and test of my core values.  If you are in a similar crisis and need some guidance on staying true to yourself in the middle of an emotional drama here are the steps I took to rebalance myself. Simple and straightforward actions you can take to be sure you are living your truth and walking your talk when life throws a spanner in the works.

Seperate the emotions and the facts

For me the emotional response was the main distraction from my personal integrity.  It was not until I identified why I was reacting so emotionally that I got clarity into situation and could deal with the facts. Here for me the greatest tool is always free writing. I poured my emotions out on paper, with the goal of finding out why this situation (which was actually not involving me as such), affected me so emotionally. Some people find that talking to a neutral party as I would write to my paper helps. Emotional reactions can often lead us away from our internal truth. The key as always in responding not reacting. Take a mental deep breath. Seperate the emotions and the facts of the situation and you will have more clarity to work out how to respond.

What is your responsibility?

Knowing what is your responsibility is very, very important. In my situation I immediately kicked into fixing mode before I had looked at what actually was my responsibility to fix and what was not. Knowing what is your responsibility allows the brain to shift into black and white thinking. If you are not acting with integrity then it is your responsibility to address that. But don’t do someone else’s job for them. You only need to take action to your responsibilities. Doing the work for someone else deprives them the opportunity of growing and learning. Finding your responsibility will give you the opportunity to step back and be objective. And that is a great way to see if you are inline with your own integrity.

Define your moral standpoint

If things are a little hazy still. Define your moral standpoint. Here a great thing to do is roleplay how you would advise a friend or would want a friend to advise you in your situation? The majority of the human race tends to treat others better than they treat themselves. Use this instinct to your advantage and allow it to guide you to find your moral standpoint. When you know where you stand morally it is easier to act with integrity.

Get support

Still stuck? Then get support. The important thing here is to get the right support. Figure out what help you need and who in your support network is the person that you can trust to support you in this way. Who do you know that will speak and advise from their integrity? Then reach out to them.

Listen to your body

Our body tell us when we are living inline with our truth. Basically we feel uncomfortable if we are not. When I have a knot in my stomach I know something is up and I am not being truthful with myself. I have a trick. I list slowly and out loud (whenever possible), the problems, or the solutions/actions I am thinking of implementing; one at a time. I notice how my body responds to each statement. No reaction or a feeling of calm means I am being honest. A nervous stomach clinch and I know I am not.

Plan a course of action

In every situation in life there are things we can do and things we can’t do. To know what action to take I make a can do /can’t do list. The can do side is the things I can implement. And the can’t do is the side I have to let go of. In my situation a lot of it was about other people, and we all know we can only fix ourselves not others. So as much as I cared I had to let a lot of that go and then I focused on the things I could do.  The can do /can’t do list is a great way of identifying what we need. I discovered that I needed Mr T to take over something I really couldn’t do. By admitting that and talking to him about it I found my stress level lighter and I became more balanced. Once you have figured out what you can do make a plan of action and follow it.

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All of these actions I took and it led me back to a place where I am now responding from integrity, taking responsibility for my part and listening closely to my body to know when I am intune with my integrity and when I am not. It’s been a great teaching. The core of the teaching has been that within a drama situation you need clarity to keep you on course and aligned with your integrity. Take a step back. Realign with yourself and act from your truth and you can’t go wrong.

It is easier to be proud of ourselves when we do what we know to be the right thing to do, and take ownership. Even when doing the right thing is scary, we can be brave and comforted, because we know we are being true to ourselves. And that, at the end of the day is the most important thing.

Have a wonderful weekend <3

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If you want to find out more about living with integrity check out my previous #lifelesson101 Finding your Integrity !

My 6 steps to living a connected, conscious and happy life that you will love

One of the benefits of living abroad is that despite of spending long periods of time away from the people and places we love the most, when we finally get to see them it is possible to see the growth and changes that have taken place in them and ourselves much easier than if we saw them day to day.  Distance gives us the benefit of objective perspective.

This autumn I appreciated the benefit of such perspective when I  visited a place and some of the people I love most in the world after a long break. Not only was it great to catch up, I repeatedly heard “wow you are so strong and grounded now” (something we all though I wouldn’t be when I lived in this community over 11 years ago). I felt my own strength through their observations. I felt grounded. I felt powerful. I realised that I am living a conscious, connected and happy life. I mean that’s what I have been aiming at right, and when I was with these darling people I knew that all my efforts are truly working and that I am blossoming into my own potential. It felt great.

And it got me thinking about how was it I started this change, this evolution inside me? In essence what was it that I shifted in order to allow myself to grow? Big questions which have, as it turns out, fairly simple answers. If you are at the stage right now where you are thinking I want that kind of shift in me, I want to change my life and live a life of power here are some of the initial things I did to begin on this journey of the conscious and connected lifestyle that I love today.

Taking responsibility

The biggest shift I had to make, anyone has to make, to live consciously and powerfully is to take responsibility for themselves. You simply cannot live consciously and powerfully when you live in a victim mindset. Through the eyes of the “poor little me” mindset everything happens to you, nothing is your fault and you are powerless to change your circumstances. Understanding truly that we are responsible for our lives, what happens in them and the way we respond to the events around us is to be empowered. When we understand that we create our experience in life we get the freedom of choice, the choice to create the experience we want.

It took me many years to understand this until the final aha moment where the penny dropped and I got it. So do get put off if takes you too long to get it. Jim Carey gave a great speech on youtube explore this idea further, our intention creating our experience, check it out for inspiration

The past is in the past

We all have a past. Be it good, or bad, or both. However it is simply the past. Unchangeable and over. When moved to a new country I had the horrible experience of discovering that when you leave everything you know your emotional baggage is still there. Sometimes shouting louder than ever before as there is little to distract it and a lot of new uncertainties to stimulate old wounds. It was all down to the way I told my personal narrative. The stories we tell define us, become us if we lt them. If we keep mentioning the past then that makes it part of our present. Reliving past hurts makes them current in your present. Consider the stories you tell about yourself when you meet a stranger, who do you tell yourself, and them, that you are?  

You have to accept your past. And accept that you cannot change it. Logically there is nothing you can do about what has happened only what does happen. When we accept that our past is over and put it in its rightful place behind us, we can begin to live in our now.

Asking questions

Analysing what is happening in your life. Allowing the understanding that everything has a teaching for us if we look for it makes every part of life more conscious. When life hurls something at you ask questions such as “why did I create this?” or “what is the teaching here?” will empower you to respond rather than react. Looking for teachings helps you understand yourself so much better. We have a saying at home with us “if you understand it you can do something about it”. Understanding and learning are both essential parts of maintaining a connected conscious lifestyle.

Daring to fail

Daring to fail, is daring to do. Nothing is more powerful than taking the first step and then the next. If you don’t dare to fail at something you don’t give yourself the opportunity to grow. And the great thing is if you do fail it is not the end of the world, it is another opportunity to grow. Mistakes after all, are teaching gifts. Use those gifts, learn and then dare again.

Knowing,  loving and being true to yourself

This is a HUGE part of the process. In order to live a conscious and connected lifestyle you have to know yourself, know what is truly important to yourself. There is no point in throwing yourself out into a yoga retreat just because it is supposed to be good for you when you inner you prefers to play ice hockey and gets a healthy buzz and connection doing just that.  Walk your own talk, noone elses. Holding your integrity and living your truth is a major part of having a satisfying life where you respect yourself.

And love yourself as you are. (I know massively huge journey for many of us however the principle holds true). If you can’t love a part of yourself see if you can find out why and what you need to do in order to love that part of you. Then do it. Theoretical thinking, soul searching  is all well and good, however without the support of practical action you won’t get much further in your process. Take the time to connect with yourself as often as you can. I know there are kids, career and other things clamoring for your attention however if you can’t take care of yourself and take the time to love yourself, you cannot do your best in all the areas of life.

Loving the journey

There is no end goal in life. Well unless you count the one where you are in a box. Your life is right here, right now. Life is a journey so make sure you enjoy it. Obviously creating your perfect life will help you do that but in the meantime it is equally important to love your life now too. Enjoy the small things. They are the infrastructure of a strong and powerful life. Practise gratitude. Celebrate successes no matter if they are big or small. And make memories as often as you can. After all when we make it into that box who wants to think I didn’t make time to appreciate and enjoy my journey. Cat Stevens summed it up perfectly “We are only dancing on this earth for a short time” so dance and enjoy. Happiness is a choice we get to make and who wouldn’t rather have a happy life.

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Now all of these mindsets and actions don’t come overnight, or even in the short time it has taken you to read this article. They need to be practised over and over again to become natural to us. I still struggle to maintain them. A burnt ruiner lasagna I made for a party was my most recent challenge. However being aware of these choices in our mindset and our actions creates an experience of life that is connected and conscious and mostly rewarding. I love my life, all its ups and downs, small moments and teachings.  Most of all I love the opportunities I have created to continuously blossom and evolve being the strongest Emma I can be. I know that you have the power within you to do just the same.

Have a wonderful week <3

Happiness isa concious choice

 

 

Human being  or human doing? A guide to intentional living (4 min read)

It is easy to get into a rut. We have all been there. It is even easier to get into a non engaged repetitive lifestyle, in short to be human being. A zombie if you like doing the same thing day in day out and not being particularly happy doing it. But what would it look like if you were living a life you loved? Wouldn’t it be great to wake up each day happy with you life, motivated and engaged. A human doing. Intentionally living and getting the most out of life.

This is not a pipe dream living this way, it is possible AND more importantly it is  thousands of people do this every day. Thousands of people live their lives intentionally. And so can you, if you want it. Intentional living is about learning how to make better decisions, so you’re happier and have fewer regrets.  It is choosing to live your life consciously and with purpose. Intentional living gives you the opportunity to step away from simply existing to designing your life. Empowering yourself to  choose and be who you want to be and do what you want to do.

Now do you want a piece of that? OF course you do. Everyone wants an intentional life. Not everyone creates it. Why? Well it’s because intentional living is the beyond the wishing on a star to make your dreams come true. (After all a star is a luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity, how is that supposed to help you with anything.) Remember the wisdom of the late Terry Pratchett,

“If you trust in yourself. . .and believe in your dreams. . .and follow your star. . . you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.”

The point being is that if you want to change your life then it’s up to one person you. And you alone. People can support you, guide you but it’s you that has to do the leg work. It means changing habits and going through the place of discomfort to get to the place of bliss. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your life won’t change overnight. However if you put in the effort to live intentionally then one day all of sudden you will find that you are living a life that inspires you. A happy life.

So if you are still in, if you are ready to commit to yourself then follow this guide to intentional living and experience creating the life you want.

Life inventory

Before you know where you are going you need to know where you are. There are some basic areas that make up the founding roots of a person’s life. These are;

  1. Health – How you treat your body and your current state of health?
  2. Finances/ security – Your home, income and financial status ?
  3. Community – Your state of your relationships, family, friends, co workers ?
  4. Effectiveness (success) – How successful and effective you feel in your life?
  5. Relaxation  – What you do to relax and how often you do it ?
  6. Inspirations and dreams  – What inspires you, how often do you connect with it and are you striving for your dreams?

Take a life inventory. How does your life look in each of these areas right now?

Create the vision

So now you know where you are at you need to know where you want to go. There are many ways to do this. Brainstorming, create a vision board or making your bucket list are all effective and possible ways to focus yourself on your intentional life vision. Try making an overall plan for each area of your life, don’t be too specific just a loose description of that part of your life in its ideal state.

Create Goals

Goal setting focuses us and gives a point reference to know we are succeeding in the way we want to. Make sure your goal is measurable in units of time so if it’s  1 month or one year, it doesn’t matter, the time target makes us accountable for the goal.

Take conscious action every month, week and day

Check in with your goals every week and incorporate them into your daily planning. I use a 3 list system a monthly list which focuses on each goal. A weekly list which keeps me on task. And the daily list which keeps your goals in mind everyday.

Assess and reward your progress every week

Each week just before making your new weekly to do list assess  your progress with your monthly goals. Give yourself a reward for completing tasks each week. Celebrating success is an important part of intentional living.

Keep a work and life balanced

Living intentionally is also about living a balanced life. We need to be good to ourselves. So plan your rest and relaxation as much as your work and career. Keep you a foremost priority, After all without you nothing happens at all. Make the time to re energise

Cultivate a positive atmosphere and attitude to life

Taking charge of your attitude to life and the atmosphere surrounding you is an important part of intentional living. Cultivate positive habits to remind you to live intentionally for example mindfulness be it meditation or mindful eating, or making your bed in the morning. Call positive people into your life and keep a distance from the naysayers and their negative influences. One of the best ways of changing your atmosphere is to create around you an attitude of gratitude and celebrate your life.

Do a life inventory every 6 months

Life is constantly changing and evolving as indeed are you. Every six months do a life inventory and keep yourself aware you are at and where you are going.

Make memories

A great life in my opinion is rich in both experiences and memories. I love to experience new things, new places and honestly if I don’t life becomes boring. Make conscious time each month to make a memory, to have and experience and have fun- life should always be about enjoying the journey!

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Intentional living does take effort but the great part is that once you get past the uncomfortable this is a new habit I don’t like change part of your experience, intentional living becomes well, second nature. Keep yourself engaged in your life. It is a precious gift. You have everything you need to live your perfect life, you just have to want it enough to do something about it and become a human doing.

Enjoy your journey 🙂

 

Live