How to Have a Calm Mind and Fighting Spirit

No arrogance. No complacency.

No short-cuts, no tricks, no cheats, no hacks.

Preparation. Careful, thorough warmups.

Visualize yourself doing all the right moves on the course. Visualize again.

Expect, accept and adapt – there will be unforeseeable bumps and ice chunks.


Sleep Is The Master Nutrient That Optimize Absorption of Other Nutrients

It’s more important than many people realize. Some professional athletes even like to joke that they are “professional sleepers” – 9 hours at night every night and a 90-minute nap in the afternoon. It’s their job to be in optimal shape and sleep is absolutely key; great sleep can become a competitive advantage.

Sleep is the central governor – the universal organizing requirement of your body and brain.

Sleep is the master nutrient – when we are deficient in sleep, all other nutrients are less effective.

Other zero calorie nutrients:

• Love

• Physical affection (sexual and non sexual)

• Music

• Dance

• Physical exercise

• Friendships

• Empathic attunement with others

When we have all these – or most of them – in sufficient quantities in our lives, it’s remarkable how we tend to eat food that is healthy for us, and not too much, and we eat a lot less unhealthy food, and we consume less alcohol and fewer toxic substances.


Instant Kindness: Empathy Statements That Don’t Make You Feel Silly

As an alternative to the traditional Buddhist “Loving Kindness” (Metta) practice.

“I wish for myself peace, kindness, and good health.”

 “I wish for (a good, reliable friend) peace, kindness, and good health.”

 “I wish for (a neutral person I often see in my daily life but don’t know well) peace, kindness, and good health.”

“I wish for (someone I am currently having a difficult relationship with) peace, kindness and good health.”

 “I wish for all of us peace, kindness, and good health.”

 #EmpathyMeditation #Metta #LovingKindness


Innovative Thinking In Teams Boosted By Mindfulness

There is a fundamental contradiction when organizations ask employees to maintain a fast pace of work and at the same time to be innovative.

In hectic workplaces, people often resort to autopilot or habitual ways of working. When they don’t have the time or space to incubate clever and innovative ideas, they miss out on opportunities to reframe a problem and see new possibilities for potential solutions, write Ellen Keithline Byrne and Tojo Thatchenkery.

How can you make your team more innovative? New research indicates that a short period of mindfulness meditation training can have a positive impact on creative output. To explore this idea further, Byrne and Thatchenkery conducted a study with a midsize U.S.-based real estate firm.

The study split up a team of 10 people into a meditating group and a control group. To start, all 10 people were give a creative task: to brainstorm as many unusual uses for a brick as they could think of. Ten-minute mindfulness exercise were administered and afterward the subjects resumed brainstorming the creative task. 

Seven out of 10 people increased the number of creative ideas they had in only 10 minutes. With this same group of people over the course of five weeks, the researchers administered a series of innovative tasks and found that the meditating group identified double the number of innovative ideas as the control group. The group process was noticeably different, where the mindfulness group was 121% more able to build on the ideas of others.

Mental training can nurture key areas in the creative process. The burgeoning research suggests that people who practice mindfulness have more cognitive flexibility, are able to see beyond what they’ve already done, and are better at solving problems requiring insight. This facilitates what creativity experts refer to as the incubation and insight stages of the creative process.

Mindfulness requires time and attention, where a person does not get stuck thinking about ideas they have had in the past and observes everything as if they are seeing it for the first time, which contributes to turning off the autopilot driving thoughts and actions.

The research indicates that people are open to more-original ideas after just a brief meditation exercise. And when this is applied across a team of people, the effects are multiplied.

To foster a culture of innovation, leaders need to give greater attention to their employees’ mindsets and consider championing mindfulness practices throughout their organizations. By cultivating milieus where employees are encouraged to be creative, they’re able to move past a mere focus on organizational efficiencies and to develop ways of working and thinking that haven’t been seen before.

What else can companies do to develop mindful teams and cultures?

Connect mindfulness to corporate values

Demonstrate a deliberate intention to develop a mindful culture by linking the mindfulness benefits to the organization’s stated values. For example, if “embrace and drive change” is a value, as it is at Zappos, highlight how mindfulness practice facilitates greater awareness of cognitive and emotional reactions to change. Through this awareness, employees can become aware of their fear of the unknown, see more objectively, and react less habitually, all in order to create greater opportunity for change.

Create corporate-based mindfulness programs

Train employees in mindfulness practices and in how to apply the benefits to daily life. For instance, ask employees to consider: (1) which habits support efficiency and which habits get in the way of considering something new, and (2) how the creative process works and what methods can integrate that process into the workplace.

Supplement in-house leadership development programs

Offer a condensed version of the corporate-based mindfulness program during routine leadership training sessions.

Allow for mindful moments. Offer opportunities for employees to slow down, to incubate, and to see with fresh eyes. In meetings, for example, kick off with a brief settling-in period. Offer people the opportunity to become fully present to the agenda at hand. By taking a deep breath, invite employees to leave past concerns and future worries aside until the meeting is over. This contributes to developing an attentive mindset.

Organizations can also provide quiet places in the office where employees can meditate. We call these “wellness rooms.”

Provide the proper resources. 

Offer employees resources for developing their creativity and mindfulness practice: webinars, meditation aids, lunch and learns, speaker series, retreats, etc.


Companies Increasingly See Mindfulness As a Powerful Tool

At Bridgewater Associates ($160 billion in assets under management) founder Ray Dalio encourages the practice among his employees. “It’s the greatest gift I could give anyone,” he says, “it brings about equanimity, creativity, and peace.” Dalio also considers meditation to be the “single most important reason” for his own success in building the biggest hedge fund in the world.

At ($8.4 billion in annual revenue) founder Marc Benioff installed meditation rooms all over the company’s new offices.

Peter Cooper, founder of Cooper Investors, relies on meditation practice for his decision-making. “Being an investor requires the distillation of large volumes of information into a few relevant insights,” he says, “Meditation has helped me discard interesting but unnecessary information and focus on the few things that make a difference to long-run investment performance.”

At insurance provider Aetna, a meditation program for employees has been credited with improving productivity by 62 minutes per employee per week, which Aetna values at $3,000 per employee per year.

For more information, read:


Sleep Is The Master Nutrient

Sleep is the master nutrient – when we are deficient in sleep, all other nutrients are less effective.

Other zero calorie nutrients:

  • Love
  • Physical affection (sexual and non sexual)
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Physical exercise
  • Friendships
  • Empathic attunement with others

When we have all these – or most of them – in sufficient quantities in our lives, it’s remarkable how we tend to eat food that is healthy for us, and not to much, and we eat a lot less unhealthy food, and we consume less alcohol and fewer toxic substances.


The Two Most Powerful Habits for Almost All of Us

In this order:

  • healthy eating
  • a substantial daily meditation practice

When those two habits are firmly in place, good quality sleep and healthy exercise happen almost automatically.




Employee Mindfulness Leads to Higher Profits at Software Giant SAP

Peter Bostelmann, an industrial engineer at Europe’s software giant SAP, discovered meditation during a personal crisis a decade ago, writes Emma Thomasson at Reuters.

The impact was so profound that he persuaded his employer to start a pilot mindfulness training in 2013.

“It’s the new jogging,” says Bostelmann, who now runs a global mindfulness program at SAP. “Employees are more healthy and more engaged and they can cope better with a changing world.”

Now SAP is rolling out mindfulness training to all 22,000 German staff and offering consulting services to other firms. It teaches them to pay attention to the present moment, and tune in to thoughts, feelings and surroundings.

Of SAP’s 91,000 employees, 6,500 have participated in a two-day program, including several top executives.

After the training, SAP employees often start meetings with a minute of stillness. Groups also get together to practice “mindful” eating and walking in their breaks, slowing down and paying full attention to their chewing or their steps.

The trend for corporate mindfulness started in Silicon Valley at companies such as Google and Intel but SAP says it has gone further than most. It is now advising the likes of Siemens and Deutsche Telekom on mindfulness programs.

Some skeptics question the benefits of firms investing in employee wellbeing, suggesting that many offerings amount to little more than “well-washing” if they only gloss over a stress-inducing corporate culture.

At SAP, mindfulness is part of a broader push to tackle stress and improve employee health that it says is resulting in higher profits.
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How To Improve Mindfulness At Work

Mindfulness enables people to step back and consider alternative ideas rather than reacting to events impulsively, Gautam Gupta writes. When we are in reactive mode, decisions are made using the least intelligent areas of our brains.

Mindfulness helps us toggle to more active and intelligent areas of the brain, enabling us to be in greater control of our emotions and thereby a choice of more appropriate response.

Mindfulness expert, Mirabai Bush, well know for introducing it to Google, says: “Bringing mindfulness into the workplace doesn’t prevent issues from coming up. But whenever they do arise, they can be responded to appropriately after due thought and judgment. Over time with mindfulness, we learn to develop the inner resources that will help us navigate through difficult, trying and stressful situations with more ease, comfort, and grace.”

Becoming aware of one’s emotions as they arise gives an individual more choice in terms of dealing with them. Mindfulness helps become aware of one’s emotion by noticing various sensations in the body. Then one can follow these guidelines: stop doing what you are doing and breathe deeply. Notice how you are experiencing the emotion in your body. Reflect on where the emotion is coming from in your mind (personal history, insecurity etc.). Respond in the most compassionate way.
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When Trying to Avoid Suffering Makes It Worse

We all try to avoid suffering and in the process enlarge it and so make it worse, Malcolm Durham writes.

That’s because we don’t simply accept the thing that is making us suffer — say a complaint from a client — but enlarge it in a four-step process:

1. We ask questions: “How did this happen to me?”

2. We seek explanations: “It’s because I’m not good enough; because the world is against me.”

3. We heap on self-blame: “I really need to perform better.”

4. We end up feeling desperate: “I’m not going to succeed because these bad things keep happening to me.”

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Curing Your Social Media Addiction

Smart-Phone-AddictionJulia Edelstein has written a helpful article. Some highlights:

…Understand that you’re being played by programmers. A heavy social-media habit isn’t entirely your fault. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter — they’ve all been designed to make you repeatedly use them and check back in…When you keep in mind that the technology is designed to hold you hostage, you might be motivated to set time limits. Think of it as buying a snack-size bag of chips instead of the party-size.

Set limits: Vow to stay off social media during meals with others, when you’re in the bathroom or in bed.

Buy an alarm clock: If you use your phone as an alarm, the last and first thing you’ll do each day is stare into that screen.
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Resisting Naysayers, Distractions and Egotistical Tendencies

Stoicism is supposed to be a living, breathing thing. Not just words you look at on a page once, but something you carry with you, something you use to live, says @dailystoic. So that, as Seneca put it, the “words become works.”

Recalling Epictetus’s advice in our daily lives: “Two words should be committed to memory and obeyed by alternatively exhorting and restraining ourselves, words that will ensure we lead a mainly blameless and untroubled life. Those two words were “persist and resist.” So that we persist in our efforts, despite any obstacles we might face, and that we resist naysayers, discouragement, selfish and egotistical tendencies and distractions.

The world is constantly testing us. We set out to do something and it’s more trying than we expect. We face resistance. We get criticized. We run out of options. We experience technical difficulties. What will we do?

Marcus Aurelius would say that the Stoic finds a way to turn every negative into a positive. In this famous line, what he’s suggesting is that no matter how bad or seemingly undesirable a situation becomes we always have the opportunity to practice virtue, to use the situation as an opportunity to be our best selves.

We don’t control when things get hard, but we always control how we respond. We can show patience, courage, humility, resourcefulness, reason, justice, and creativity. The things that test us make us who we are.
The Stoic grows stronger and better with every obstacle they face. They rally to every challenge and thrive as a result. So can you.

As the Haitian proverb puts it: Behind mountains are more mountains. One does not overcome one obstacle only to enter the land of no obstacles. No matter how successful we are or will be, we¹re going to find things that stand in our path. @dailystoic


Brain-Boosting Green Leafy Vegetables Made Easy


It bears repeating (again and again), a healthy mind lives inside a healthy brain, which in turn lives inside a healthy body.

Eat your greens – everyone has heard this but most people just don’t eat much, certainly not more than once per day, unless you count the one or two weeks per year in the summer when they are on holiday in a Mediterranean country.

There’s one relatively easy addition to your daily food routine that could have a big boost to your mental and physical health.

Children are always being forced to eat their greens. Ironically it’s much more important for adults – especially middle-agers – to eat these greens because middle-agers need to combat the effects of oxidization – young children don’t!

Fresh greens are super foods. During autumn and winter months they are best eaten “wilted” (i.e. lightly sautéed or steamed) in soups, curries, stews, etc. The absolute easiest way to “prepare” them is to put some soup in a big bowl, sprinkle two or three handfuls of greens onto the soup and heat in a microwave for about 4 minutes.

Shopping list:

Arrurgula (rocket)





Cilantro (coriander)

Watercress (cress)

Swiss chard

A simple recipe:

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Achieving Happiness Even During Tough Times

autumn_leavesFor some it’s already been a long winter and during these times, many people have to work harder at happiness. Here are nine practical and concise suggestions, as compiled by the Daily Express newspaper.

1- Help others: Humans are hard-wired for altruism, which is why it makes us happy. Our ancestors had to help each other to stay alive, and being kind strengthens our relationships and makes us feel good too.
Try it: Perform an act of kindness every day such as serving a loved one breakfast in bed, letting a stranger have your parking space or calling a sick friend.

2- Reach out: Those with strong relationships are happier, healthier and live longer.
Try it: Ask a friend, relative or colleague about the best part of their day and listen intently to their answer.
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How Mindfulness Can Improve Business Leadership

Business_mindfulness_Bill_GeorgeIt’s very reassuring when someone with serious experience as a senior business leader writes compellingly about the benefits of meditation. Bill George was a senior executive for about two decades, including six years as CEO of medical device company Medtronic. He is now a professor at the Harvard Business School.

Here are some excerpts from a recent article by Bill in the Huffington Post:

“…What is causing this shift to mindful leadership? In the stress-filled 24/7 world in which we live, leaders of all organizations need the opportunity for a “time out” period. It is their opportunity to relax, breathe deeply, de-stress and gain clarity about their work and the decisions they are facing. As I stressed at last week’s summit, mindfulness practices enable leaders to ensure the important issues are taking precedence over immediate pressures.”

“…This practice is the best thing I have done to calm my mind and my emotions, focus on what is most important while releasing trivial worries and think clearly about important decisions. Perhaps even more importantly, my most creative ideas have come from meditation.”

“…Of course, meditation is not for everyone. What is essential for all of us — as I share in my classes and lectures — is having a daily practice of taking twenty minutes to quiet your mind, reflect and be introspective. For you, it may come through prayer, journaling, reflecting in a beautiful place or taking a long walk or jog. The goal? To create more self-aware leaders who understand themselves, their motivations, their values and the purpose of their leadership.”

“…Becoming a mindful leaders requires daily practice. It is easy to say, as I did back in 1974, that you don’t have the time to fit this practice into your busy schedule. In fact, the opposite is true — you don’t have the time not to pursue it.
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Are You Suffering From “Hangxiety”?

woman-headache-hangxietyAre you suffering from “hangxiety”? Top tips for overcoming the post-party blues this holiday season.

The morning after can often bring on anxiety for some – here are five stress busters for beating the blues.


Building Your Character: The Ultimate Success Tool

“Character, what you are, is ultimately more important than competence, what you can do. Primary greatness is, at is base, a matter of character… It is foundational. All else builds on this cornerstone. Even the very best structure, system, style, and skills can’t compensate completely for deficiencies in character.” – Stephen R. Covey, Primary Greatness

There are 12 areas we can focus on to build our character and unleash primary greatness.

1. Integrity. Our first lever of primary greatness: To actually BE that which we aspire to be rather than merely
appear to be. This is the foundation of success.

2. Contribution. This is all about your legacy. How will you make a positive difference?

3. Priority. That which matters most must never be at the mercy of that which matters least. We must, as Covey taught in
7 Habits put “first things first.”
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