In the Moment for the Moment
I write about this topic with passion because it’s something I’ve struggled with for as far back as I can remember. I’ve joked in the past about being a bit mentally overstimulated, but it’s true. My mind, like many others, JUST. DOESN’T. STOP. It usually takes something happening, like forgetting my keys or forgetting to respond to a call or email to make me realize I’ve got to put on the brakes for a second, become aware, and reset. One of my favorite quotes by author Anne Lamott is, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.” Amen to that.
Turning off for me means becoming present and mindful in the things I do. One way to do that is to vow to do only one thing at a time. To try to only have the task at hand on your mind while you’re doing it. When your mind wanders to task #168, gently guide yourself back to the moment.
Harvard researcher, Matt Killingsworth, conducted a study on mindfulness and what makes us happy. His research found that what made people happy had far less to do with what they were actually doing, and more to do with whether or not they were fully present while doing it. People who were focused on their present moment experience were happier than those who let their thoughts wander away from the moment, even while doing tasks that aren’t necessarily enjoyable.
Slowing down is tough. It’s There are just so many things to get done. But there will always be things that need to get done. There will always be days where there doesn’t seem to be enough time. Below are some tips on how to be mindful and present.
Make a list. Start with what’s time sensitive and move down from there.
Taking just 10 minutes a day to be still and silent has countless benefits, one of them being the ability to “restart” when you’re flustered.
Take deep breaths.
When you’re trying to be present and you feel your mind wandering, take deep breaths to calm yourself down. Remember the task at hand.
Set a timer.
If there’s a task that you need to do and that you’re often distracted doing, set a timer. Promise yourself that during this allotted time you will only focus on this task, nothing else. Knowing that there’s a window you’re working in can be both helpful and motivating.
Ask for help.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Delegate where you can. If your work must be done by you, then allow yourself space to vent or get support from a loved one. Feeling supported has a way of boosting our drive.
Paint, draw, color, doodle. Anything that shuts off the logic-centric side of the brain is good once in a while. It’s all about balance.
There’s no graduating to a place of forever present. Or maybe there is, but it’s not my end goal, and I hope it’s not yours. One a moment and one task at a time. That’s it.
Happy New Year!