It’s so easy in our busy world to constantly be thinking about something other than what you’re doing.
To distract yourself with social media or news stories.
To text a friend instead of talking with the person in front of you.
To worry about tomorrow, or that time last week when you did or didn’t do that thing…
It’s all part of the emotional disjointedness of modern living. But when you’re not mentally present in each moment of your life, when your bodies are here but your thoughts are anywhere else, then you’re missing your true potential.
➡️ 𝗬𝗼𝘂’𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗱, 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗻𝗲𝗿, 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗴𝘂𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲.
➡️ 𝗬𝗼𝘂’𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗲𝗻𝗷𝗼𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝗴𝗶𝗳𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂.
➡️ 𝗬𝗼𝘂’𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗱𝗱𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴.
If you realize that you only get today – that yesterday’s gone and tomorrow isn’t promised – then you can try to focus even more narrowly on each present moment. Here are some ways to do it.
✅ 𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆: Nothing brings you back to the here and now like closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths. You don’t have to stop at three.
✅ 𝑮𝒐 𝒅𝒆𝒆𝒑𝒆𝒓. You can meditate, use an app to help you focus, or practice yoga.
✅ 𝑼𝒏𝒑𝒍𝒖𝒈 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒔𝒐𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍 𝒎𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒂. Nothing takes you OUT of the here and now as quickly. Plan times each day to catch up and scroll. Set notifications for anything that’s important. Otherwise, forget it.
✅ 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒏𝒆𝒘𝒔, 𝒕𝒐𝒐. The advent of 24/7 news makes you anxious that you’re missing out on something important. Or that everything’s going to come falling on your head. Like social media, the news business benefits from your continued watching. You do not.
✅ 𝑬𝒙𝒆𝒓𝒄𝒊𝒔𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒈𝒖𝒍𝒂𝒓𝒍𝒚. And purposefully move on those days when you’re not actually exercising. A 15-minute walk on your break can clear your mind and bring you back to the present.
✅ 𝑷𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒕𝒖𝒅𝒆. Write in your journal each day a few things for which you are thankful. Express gratitude every day in some way large or small. Smile at someone; everybody needs that.
✅ 𝑺𝒆𝒕 𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌. That might mean pausing between tasks, turning off your phone at night, or declining to take on more than makes you comfortable.
✅ 𝑭𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒎𝒖𝒍𝒕𝒊-𝒕𝒂𝒔𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈. Some people insist it’s the way to go, but it can also keep you from doing your best on the task at hand.
✅ 𝑭𝒐𝒄𝒖𝒔 𝒐𝒏 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕’𝒔 𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒊𝒏 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒚𝒐𝒖. What do you see? What do you smell? Do you taste anything? Is your mouth moist? Are your feet touching the ground?
Some people say they get frustrated with these kinds of focus techniques because it’s hard to STAY focused. And they’re right. In fact, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to stay focused. Our minds are always wandering – and that’s OK. Don’t fight it or get distressed.
Just do what you can to bring yourself back to right here, right now. Over and over. It’s an endless task, and there’s something profound and reassuring in that, since the next moment inevitably replaces this one. This is an exercise to stay present in your life. And like all practices, it takes time, but it also gets easier to do as you go along.
Just breathe. Take it easy. And pay attention. You’ll get the hang of it in no time.
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