LISA LELAS: How to live in the moment right now, this minute

How about this for a New Year’s goal? Looking up from your cell phone more often and being more engaged in the world in front of you.

In this electronic age, a time when life seems to be coming at us 100 miles per hour, we have undoubtedly become masters at juggling many activities every day. It’s a wonder we actually accomplish anything when one eye always seems to be focused on the future, thinking about what we have to do next. Modern buzz-words like “mindfulness” and phrases such as “living in the moment” just fly by us and we don’t really give them much thought. Who has time to listen anyway?

The whole concept of staying in the moment may appear odd and somewhat unattainable until you actually stop for a second and think about it. There is something calming and refreshing about the idea of surrendering your schedule, your stress and worries and giving in to relaxation and enjoyment, even if just for a few minutes. When you are on the floor playing with a toddler, imagine how freeing it would be not to be thinking about what to make for dinner, bills you need to pay, laundry, or a work project you should be doing. Instead, you are totally immersed in the dollhouse or Legos with the child, giving them your undivided attention. What you will discover is that you will walk away a better person, a better parent than you were just moments before. You will feel gratitude and compassion as well as feeling more refreshed when you do begin your next task.

While we are all busy these days, many would argue that time for living in the moment is more of a luxury. We struggle to shut off that inner chaos in our brain telling us to keep moving forward, however, we all can make the time to unplug, especially when we realize how rewarding it can be in such a short amount of time.

Humans are wired to be productive and instinctively on high alert for danger. We have evolved this way for millions of years. It seems impossible to just relax and not think about things because inevitably worrisome thoughts creep back into our minds and cause our hearts to beat faster and we tense up.

Nearly all our stress comes from anxiety about the past or future. We get tense in slow traffic because we think we will be late for work. It takes time to change anxiety-ridden habits, but the good news is that we can change them!

Starting today, take some time, even just 10 minutes, to move away from your desk or computer and find a quiet place for some serenity time. Sit in a favorite chair or bundle up and walk out into your yard to be at one with nature. Focus on your thoughts until you can surrender them to just thoughts about positive goals and dreams and eventually releasing all thoughts and being completely in the moment, aware of your breathing and the sounds around you. In just minutes your body will begin lowering its production of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, and you will feel an inner peace.

A Harvard University study found that people centered on the present are the happiest. While it’s nearly impossible to live in the present every moment of the day, it can easily become a healthy habit you can sprinkle throughout the day to keep stress and anxiety at bay. Living in the moment, quite simply, will open your senses and unlock creativity!

So, the next time you find yourself getting overwhelmed and anxious, take a moment to deflect and distress. Daily serenity time (remember, even 10 minutes counts!) recharges our energy. It allows us time for our imaginations to run free with creativity. It helps us focus on tasks or projects we are working on. It provides better clarity and productivity. We come more creative and intuitive.

Daily serenity time can be soul cleansing. It gives us a quiet moment to look forward to in an otherwise busy day - allowing us time to reflect on the simple pleasures of our life and really appreciate all that we already have. Remember a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.

Lisa Lelas is a lifestyle productivity coach and author/speaker. Lisa Lelas will hold her annual New Year’s Vision Board Breakfast Workshop, Saturday morning, Jan. 25 in Madison. For more info:

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