Are you stuck in the past, beating yourself up for something you did wrong, worried about things you have no control over in the future or working on someone else's task list? Focus too much on others, the past, or the future and you are missing out on what is going on in your life right now. Here are a few ways to strengthen your awareness of the present moment.
- How smart is your phone? Take any object that is within arm's reach and hold it in your hand (for example, your phone). Do not think about calls you have to make or email that has to be checked, but rather, see it for what it is, metal, glass, electronics. Feel it in your hands, touching the surfaces and corners. See it for what it is, instead of what you use it for.
- "No" is not a four letter word. Do not let someone else's urgency constitute an emergency on your behalf. While it is human nature to want to help someone you know or love, you have responsibilities of your own. Unless you scheduled crisis management as a line item on your calendar, learn to gently say no to others that have packed their schedules too tight and are looking for a relief valve.
- What's up with that? Without looking at your schedule or your task list, think about what is really important in your life right now. Are you where you want to be with your priorities and your goals? Now, grab your schedule or your to do list for the next few days (if you don't have one, write one down before continuing), and ask yourself the following question, "Does this really matter right now?" We tend to lose touch with the present moment when we spend too much time focused on things that will never help us achieve our future goals. It's much easier to focus on the present moment if we feel like there is absolute purpose to the tasks we are presently working on.
- Photographic memory. Put your phone down and resist the urge to take a picture when something eye catching crosses your path. Staging the perfect picture or styling the model shot will only remove you from the present moment. Let your memory of the event be your image. Be fully present and you will enjoy the moment even more. There will be many more perfect plates of food to photograph to take pictures of in the future. In the meantime, put your phone down and enjoy your pancakes before they get cold.
- Head games. People, pick up your head. When walking from your car to your next appointment, spend time looking at your surroundings, the beautiful sky, the other people walking by you. Take a moment to breathe, to smile at someone and to say a pleasant, "Good morning."
Life is fleeting and not to sound macabre but no one gets out of this place alive, so why not live a little while you are here, in the present moment. Worry will do nothing for your future, remorse will do nothing for your past, the greatest gift you can give yourself is the present.