This past week, with the passing of the singer Prince at the relatively young age of 57, we were reminded of how short life can be. I hear time and time again “I can’t believe how fast this year is going by”, and it often feels that each year goes by even faster than the last. When we hear about death, it can make us look at our own lives and question our own direction and paths we are on. The fear that many people experience is not necessarily of death, but rather having regrets of not truly living.
Feelings of fear, doubt, helplessness, vulnerability, and loss of control can rob us from being able to live our lives to the fullest, or to take the risks that could lead us to fulfilling our dreams. Being able to be fully present in our lives and not just go through the motions can help us to not only become more productive, but also enjoy life to the fullest.
These four steps can help you become mindful and live life in the present:
Do One Thing at a Time
With the quick pace of the world, multitasking has become a societal norm. It may seem as if we need to multitask in order to get everything done that we need to accomplish in our day. Multitasking does come at a cost though. Research suggests that when people are interrupted and are dividing their attention, it takes them 50% longer to accomplish a task, and they are 50% more likely to make errors. When we focus on one task at a time, we tend to be better at what we do, and are more likely to remember the details of what we have done.
Stop Worrying About the Future – Focus on the Here and Now
Focus on becoming aware of your thinking, and take notice if you are constantly worrying about the future. Learn to recognize when you are stressing about the future, and then practice bringing yourself back to the present. The more you focus on what you are doing right now, the more you can enjoy the present moment. We may not have control over all of the things that happen around us; however, we do have control over how we react to them and handle them.
Be Fully Present in Conversations
Often when we are having a conversation with someone, we are thinking about what we need to do in the future. For example, we can end up worrying about what we are going to say next rather than really listening to the other person. When we focus on being mentally present, and not just physically present, we can truly enjoy our time with that person. In addition, turning off your cellphone, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help to reduce distractions and can help to be fully engaged in the conversation.
Take Pleasure in Your Life
Slow down and savor each and every moment in your life. Take notice of the sights and sounds around you. Listen to the sound of the breeze as you are walking into work, take in the aroma of the coffee, and/or admire the sunset while you are headed home. Mindfulness can be incorporated in everything we do by just paying a little more attention to our daily activities as we are doing them.
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Author: Stephanie Booth, MS a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at Total Life Counseling Center in Orlando. Total Life Counseling Center specializes in depression & anxiety and our experts can be reached at (407) 248-0030.