Half the time, we’re so distracted by so many things, we practically let our lives fly past. Sometimes we’re just in our head, opening the portal to the doors in the space-time continuum labelled “Past” and “Future”. Other times, we’re sucked into the Black Hole of the Internet. It’s like we can’t afford to pay attention to our life anymore, and for some, it takes walking right into a glass door with our head hung over our phone to knock some sense into us. Or not.
So what does being present mean? It’s self-explanatory really. It means being present in the present while you work, eat and hang out with people. While it may sound simple but how many times have we rushed our meals while doing something important? How many times do we multi-task per day? And it seems that people spend more time photographing their dinners than talking to the people they go to those dinners with. Here are five practical steps to take control of your life and Be Present:
1.Do not multi-task. I know there’s a rumor going around that women are better at multi-tasking than men but better doesn’t necessarily mean good. “Better” is a relative term while “Good” is an absolute one. One stanford study showed that people who multi-task don’t pay as much attention (or switch from one job to another as well) as single-taskers.
2.Walk in nature. It’s good for you in more ways than one. This LiveScience article talks about a study that shows how walking in nature reduces depressive thoughts. But how does it help you Become Present? First of all, connecting with nature gives you a chance to disconnect from your devices (one that not everybody makes use of). Another thing is, everything about nature is beautiful and inspires awe; the way the trees reach up to the sky, the dried leaves that change colors and fall during autumn, the stars twinkling at night. Breathing in the fresh air, and soaking in the beautiful sights help ground you to your life right now. It’s very hard to dwell on the past or think about the future when you’re watching a glorious display of lively colors painting the canvas of the sky during sunset.
3.Savor your food. This is one habit I struggle with as I’ve always been a fast eater. However, there are a few tricks here; chew twice as long as you would normally, and pause between bites. Also it really helps when you’re not distracted by Youtube while you’re eating.
4. Switch off your phone when you’re with someone. A lot of people I know complain of spouses/family members distracted by their phones during family time. How I personally handle this is by just leaving the sitting room and going to my room. Half the time people don’t even notice I’m gone, and if they do and ask why I’m not there, I mention they were busy with their phone, which makes them put it away. Both ways it’s a win-win situation.
5.Stop yourself occasionally and ask, “What am I doing?” This is particularly useful if you’re on one of those Facebook/Youtube Infinity Spirals.
So do you think Being Present is an important life skill? How present are you in your own life? Tweet me @ahechoes
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