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Try Pausing At Least Once Per Day: Sean Fargo, Founder, Mindfulness Exercises

Sean Fargo is a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a Certified Instructor for the mindfulness program born at Google, and teacher of Mindfulness. He has been teaching mindfulness around the world to executives, large corporate teams, families, kids, prison inmates, and medical patients struggling with chronic pain, anxiety and depression

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As a product of his learnings he founded Mindfulness Exercises, an online resource of more than 1,500 free mindfulness meditations, talks, worksheets and videos. Over the years has come to be known for his teachings on emotional intelligence, neuroscience, mentally healthy habits and mindfulness practices. In a conversation with Nina Kler of BW BusinessWorld he spoke on a variety of topics ranging from mindfulness to the disruption caused by devices and social media.

How important is mindfulness at a personal and organizational level according to you?

As customers, we buy solutions to our challenges. Mindfulness increases our non-judgmental awareness of our challenges, allowing us to more intelligently choose which solutions are the most appropriate for our situation. As organizations, we provide solutions to our customer's challenges. Mindfulness increases our ability to listen to our customer's challenges, helping us to proactively offer the best solutions for them to invest in.

Why do you think mindfulness has failed to permeate the workplace and what are your suggestions?

There is a common misconception that mindfulness is necessarily spiritual, woo-woo or mystical. In reality, it is really simple: mindfulness is merely noticing your moment-to-moment experience without judging it. When we apply this basic principle to how we feel in the body, how we perceive other's situations, and how we react to triggering situations, we will begin to succeed as the leaders we were born to be.

What habits do you recommend to accelerate well-being?

Well-being is the balance between being and doing, between yin and yang. Most professionals are exceptional at the doing, or the yang, until they burn out. Try pausing at least once per day to be. Notice your body. Soften your belly. Relax the muscles of your face. The body feels like this right now. No judgment of good or bad, right or wrong. This is how it is right now. And now. And now. This is how we can balance. This is how we can avoid burnout.

What is EI and what are its benefits with regard to well-being?

Emotional Intelligence is being smart about our emotions within us and within others. Can we notice the subtleties in how they feel and how we react? Can we allow them to be there without trying to automatically fix them or push them away? Can we be present for them with strength, patience and care?

When we cast the spotlight of non-judgmental awareness to emotions, then we process them fully, allowing them to move along in the river of life. Otherwise, they stay trapped in the body, we fail to learn from them, and they come back even stronger when we least expect it. 

Social media and devices were intended to bring people closer. What are your thoughts on them becoming disruptors of “real” connection today?

As with anything we become addicted to, it is helpful to sense into the body while we relate to it. When we use social media or our devices, what happens physically in your stomach, chest and head? Do you feel contraction, heat or heaviness? Does your breathing become shallow? Does your jaw tighten? Does your heart race? These can be symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness, stress or fear. Knowing how we feel physically can alert us to take action, helping us heal ourselves from these unpleasant side-effects.

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