This is already the third month of the Learning Bites, time is flying by! If you would like to increase your daily minutes of living in the current moment, without stressing what is next and not remembering what you said because you were too distracted, this exercise might help you to do just that.
Simon, the mole, is hoping that you enjoyed the the previous editions! A short reminder for those who have not heard about the Learning Bites (for the rest, please be patient), the Learning Bites are short, concise and straight to the point to increase your learning effect. If you try them out, they only take 5 to 20 minutes to complete.
Enough explanation, this third exercise incentive is focusing on an everyday hurdle, as we have so many distractions around us: to live in the moment.
Today, people are multitasking while driving their car, take their smartphones to the bathroom. So, there is one single recipe which will be addressed here, to “ignore” these distractions.
What will it be like tomorrow (I am in 10 years time when today’s smartphones are outdated?), will there be even more distractions? Less possibility to relax and chill out, because we always want to consume, we want to stay online?
I decided three years ago, to stop zooming by and to start being present more intentionally. I certainly did not change from one day to the next, I changed gradually. And if you are still interested, I am going to share with you how I did it.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” – Henry David Thoreau (American Philosopher, 1817-1862)
Learning Bites #3: Live more minutes in the present moment
I am not presenting to you a magic recipe that will help to live in the present for the rest of your life, this is not the intention. What we can do, however, is to increase again those minutes in the day where we are fully present without thinking of what to cook for dinner that evening. We try to not spoil the moment by thinking about what we have to do next.
Below you will find two options, depending on personal preference decide which short exercise you will complete today and go for it. The main part of the exercise is the same, just the setting is different as there are people who prefer activity to “free their mind” and others need to sit down to unwind and make their time count.
Option 1: The walk (15-20 minutes)
- Decide upon a path (not next to a major road) where you can go for a 20 minutes walk once you have some time spare today
- Put your mobile phone on silence and put it deep inside your bag (somewhat hidden)
- Start walking and think about the things that have happened today. What were the good things that happened today? What have you learned?
- After 5 minutes or so, try to “empty your brain” and ignore your mobile phone for these 20 minutes which you have to yourself.
- Focus on one thing, focus on your surroundings. How many birds to you hear? Is the wind blowing? Is the path steep? How does it smell?
- If a thought of a complete different topic comes along, just let it pass through, try to focus on your walk and your impressions afterwards. Try not to distract yourself.
When you are getting closer to home, did you enjoy this time out?
Option 2: The sofa (15-20 minutes)
- Put your mobile phone on silence, best to turn it off and put it somewhere out of your reach.
- If you are time sensitive, set yourself an alarm in 15 minutes, that avoids you having to look at your watch in between.
- Find a quiet place to sit down on your favorite couch or chair (if it is not quiet in your place, I suggest you follow the first exercise and go for a walk!).
- Try to unwind from the busy day, let the day repass your brain with all its various impressions. What were the good things that happened today? What have you learned? What are you thankful for?
- After a few minutes, try to “empty your brain”. Forget about what you have to do next.
- Focus on one thing, focus on your surroundings. What do you see? Has a picture on the wall been moved? Do you hear the neighbors vacuuming? Is a dog barking outside? Look outside the window.
- If a different thought comes along, just let it pass through, try to focus on yourself and your impressions.
This is not too hard, is it?
When the time is up, are you eager to get back to what you were doing or did you enjoy this time out? Just focusing on what you currently did?
Just find some time in the day to focus on the current moments. Best is to develop some kind of routine to ensure that you mind remains focused in the present moment. People who focus more on the present moment, tend to pay more attention do the things they are doing and they are happier. For instance, they also tend to listen better.
Are you going to give it a try? What do you do to be more present in the now? Share with us in the comment section below.
Photo by Leland Francisco