I promise not to go all “Today is a present” on you. The truth is, we can all (almost always) use a reminder to be more present. The book The Power of Now is a fantastic writing on being present. Essentially the objective is to not be so caught up in what is going to happen in the next 10 minutes, hour, day, week, month, etc., but to focus on what is happening in your immediate world right this second. I have found myself working at being more aware of this, especially when I’m surrounded by people with their faces buried in their phones. Wake up People! Look around you and appreciate the people, sights and smells surrounding you this very second. Here are a few tips to try and reign yourself back in to reality.
First of all, stop for a second and count 10 breaths. This is something we can focus on in yoga class fairly easily. With nothing but the instructor’s voice and maybe some background music to focus on, we are more easily able to slow down and focus entirely inside. With a busy day and lots of responsibilities, we tend to find this more difficult. Make the effort and start counting. It is also important not to “scold” yourself when your mind starts to wander on the 4th breath. Acknowledge it and start over again. It happens to us all, but you will get it and you will get to number 10.
Another, slightly more time consuming, activity is to focus solely on something as though you were studying it for the first time. Something as simple as a flower or a tree (of falling snow!) can be perfect. Try not to “judge” the object or think too much about it, just observe it and appreciate its place in your world. A great time for this can be during a walk. Even just making your rounds around the block will be worth it. Leave everything (wallet, phone, etc.) behind and just enjoy the walk. Again, appreciate the surroundings and try to be more aware of everything that is impacting your environment like the sounds, smells, temperature, etc.
We have talked about this before, but take time to show gratitude. We talked about keeping a journal of things we are thankful for, but take it a step back and just focus on your immediate surroundings. Be thankful for everything encompassing your current situation. It is true that “for every thing there is a season”.
I hope you can try a couple of these on a regular basis and perhaps find yourself more “here” and more grounded.