The holiday season is upon us! Twinkling lights, children’s choirs, delicious food, gathering with loved ones… just some of the many wonderful things that are part of the season. However, for many people the holiday season can be very stressful. Our best intentions are often undermined by last minute shopping, the added expenses of gifts and entertaining, and heightened expectations for creating a “magical” experience for friends and family.

As a result of these stressors people may become overwhelmed and fall into a pattern of merely getting through the tasks at hand. Unfortunately, such a pattern prevents us from focusing on the here and now, from being present. As more things compete for our attention, we become increasingly overwhelmed. As a consequence, our focus is redirected to our task to-do list, rather than being fully engaged in the present moment. This is certainly a common occurrence in the workplace. Workplace stressors, such as competing priorities, the constant stream of emails, and back-to-back meetings, make it difficult for people to focus and be present in the moment.

Being present requires an awareness of the factors that are driving your focus from the present. Are you thinking of past situations with regret and wishing for a better outcome? On the other hand, are you thinking of an upcoming presentation, feeling anxious and worrying about doing poorly? Or, are you simply running through your do-to list over and over?

Such distracted thinking comes at a cost. If we are not present in the here and now we are missing tremendous opportunities to objectively examine our current state, to learn, and to engage with others fully. In turn, being present strengthens our awareness, our relationships, and our engagement with the world around us. The result is enhanced wellbeing, including greater enjoyment of life and work and deeper connections with others.

So, whether you are immersed in holiday activities, or at your workplace, take a step back and allow yourself the opportunity to be fully present in the moment. Enjoy it!

“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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