Being Present In A World Of Distractions – Part 2

In my last blog, Being present in a world full of distractions, Part 1, I shared how distractions are a natural part of life. How they are increasingly interfering with our ability of “being present and in the moment” along with the consequences they bring. What you are going to read next is the second blog in a two-part series. If you have not already read Part 1, it would be beneficial for you to read it before proceeding.

According to a Harvard University study, it was shown that almost half of our waking hours are spent NOT living in the moment. Whoa! I guess I found that pretty surprising—and kind of sad. I think we can do better than that!

We’ve all experienced the phenomenon of being somewhere in body but not in mind, right? We humans are so good at that—going throughout our days on autopilot. We think and act unconsciously or habitually without the conscious awareness of what or why we are doing it. The problem with that is we become disconnected from what is happening in our lives at that precise moment. Think about all we are missing out on. What we should do and can do is turn the autopilot off and take the wheel ourselves.

MINDFULNESS – the practice of being present in the moment.

You will find there are times you are present and in the moment where you don’t have to make a conscious decision to do so. But usually it’s because you are doing something that is really important to you so it takes very little to no effort to be completely engaged. Other times, you have to make a concerted effort to stay focused. It’s about choice. Choosing to be present in spite of the many things competing for your attention is a choice you have the ability to make.

Why is Being Present Minded Important?

When you’re not there, you don’t know that you’re not there. Think about that sentence for a minute. Unfortunately, much of our time is spent either in the past or on the future, instead of the present. And while you spend time thinking on what happened yesterday or what could happen tomorrow precious seconds of your life at that moment are slipping by unobserved and appreciated. That’s how life ends up passing us by. Now let’s look at some other reasons why being present is important and then we can move on to the “how to” of being present.

Benefits of Living in The Moment

  • Keeps you grounded and more connected with your thoughts and feelings as well as everything around you.
  • Equips you to have healthier and more successful relationships.
  • Develops an attitude of gratitude. Appreciating each blessing that comes your way that may have been overlooked by not being present.
  • Builds inner peace and strength helping you to handle the thoughts and emotions that otherwise would create anxiety, depression and negative states of mind.
  • Reduces stress which can be harmful to your health.

How To Live In The Present

So, now we just have to figure out how to live in the moment so we can experience all the benefits listed above. It really boils down to five words you know—we have to pay attention! Of course, like with most things, that’s easier said than done, right? With so many distractions out there (both internal and external) the need is there to develop a plan to avoid them. The good news is with intentionality and practice it can be done. 

Tips For Living In The Moment

  • Train your brain to focus on the current activity before you.
  • Do one thing at a time and do it wholeheartedly. Enjoy the process.
  • Bring your mind back each time it tries to sneak off. Take a breath and refocus. 
  • Turn off the mental chatter. By tuning into your senses (sight, sound, smell, feel, and taste) you can become more aware of what is in front of you instead of the thoughts rolling around in your head.
  • When engaged in conversation, listen attentively. Don’t be thinking ahead on how to respond. Just enjoy the time with the person.
  • Turn off technology. It is a huge distraction in todays world. You don’t have to check every notification, read emails while eating, or talk on the phone while driving. Give it a rest!
  • Don’t be afraid of silence. Take five minutes and just sit in silence. Become aware of your thoughts and focus on your breathing. Look around and notice the world around you.
  • Take time to savor the experiences in your life. Whether you’re eating, reading a book, or just listening to the giggles of children, slow down and savor each and every moment.

I know it is impossible to “live in the moment” 24/7. After all, the world we live in doesn’t exactly allow for that. BUT, like I said at the top of this blog, surely we can do better than what the Harvard study showed. 

So, where has your mind been lately?  Have you been distracted? Do you feel disconnected from yourself, your family, your relationships? Do you feel trapped by the past or fearful of the future? You can’t live life fully if your mind is somewhere else. I invite you to give me, (Kris Henderson) a call at 616-516-1570 or schedule an appointment online today and let’s see what’s going on. Life is short. You owe it to yourself to make every moment count—now!