Nicknamed as “The Greatest”, Muhammed Ali died at age 74 in Phoenix, Arizona. He died from complications of a respiratory illness. As the world mourns the loss of one of the world’s greatest boxer, he is also remembered for his positive words of encouragement and charisma. Ali was a civil rights campaigner and a poet, whose quotes have floored the internet worldwide. Once he was asked how he would like to be remembered, his response “I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous and who treated everyone right…..” The life of Muhammed Ali is a positive illustration of how to be present in the moment. As we read the latest tribute from different people, we can easily see how his charisma impacted so many people. How his presence was felt and noticeable wherever he was.
It is so common to rush through life and focus ONLY on our goals and our plans for the future. The amount of times we put all of our efforts on a specific goal and once it’s achieved we quickly move to the next one. Now, did we take a moment and enjoy the achievement? Did we sit there and allowed ourself to truly take in what we just achieved? You see, we are wired to thrive and to conquer. However, it takes a lot more work to sit still and take it all in. It takes less work to go through a funeral process than to allow ourselves to mourn the loss. To be mindful of our emotions sometimes can feel like trying to live under the water. Some of us rather believe we are strong and tapping into emotions is seen as a sign of weakness. In reality, all it takes is a bit of mindfulness to live a better (less stressful) life.
What is mindfulness? According to Psychology Today, it is a state of active attention to the present. When you are mindful you are consciously aware of your present thoughts, feelings and your surroundings. Practicing mindfulness is something that does not require much. It can be incorporated in your regular activities. Mindfulness is a state of mind. It is allowing yourself to take a moment and live in the present.
Here are 4 tips on how to live in the present:
- Practice a mindful exercise. When we engage in mindful exercises it teaches us how to be aware of our surrounding. One easy quick practice is to take at least 5 minutes during the day and cross examine your senses. Pay close attention to what do you see around you, what do you smell, what can you feel, what can you hear around you and are you able to taste. During this practice we can learn how to notice where we are and what is happening at the moment. Also, we can learn how to DO nothing for just 5 minutes.
- Take your time. Life can become hectic and slowing down turns into a foreign act of kindness to ourselves. When we slow down we become mindful about our breathing. Learn how to pace yourself throughout the day. Although it may not always be possible to do this, it will be rewarding for your body and mind to just slowdown at times. When creating schedules, give yourself time to decompress and breathe. When we are constantly on the go, we miss out on many moments which we cannot get back.
- Don’t be afraid to let go. It is impossible to live in the present if we continue to hold on to the past. Letting go of the past is not so easy. Sometimes it may require to forgive or learn how to redirect your thought process. Even though it may not be easy, it does not mean it is impossible. Excessive worries leads to anxiety, therefore letting go worries and focusing on your current situation can eliminate possible anxiety.
- Pay attention to the people you are with. Be present around friends and family. In today’s world we are consumed by our smartphones. We tend to “multitask” during business meetings, conversations with friends and playtime with our children. When we choose to only pay attention to that person in front of you, we choose to be present in the moment. We can then enjoy the context of the conversation, appreciate the laughter of our children and the tenderness of that significant other.
Life is stressful and we can easily get lost in our routines. So why not try something new. Let’s take a moment and be mindful. If you are a planner then schedule a session of some mindfulness!!!!
NOTE: you can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.
Author: Mayeling Angelastro, MA, CPP is an Orlando Winter Park Bilingual (Espanol) Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern providing help to couples, families, couples, children and teenagers with offices in Winter Park and East Orlando. She is a Certified Child Parent Psychotherapist (CPP) helping to heal children from the trauma of going into Foster Care and reestablishing their attachment to their new families. Contact May for a Complimentary 15 Minute Phone Call (407) 248-0030!