BEING present in the moment is harder than ever. Technology has advanced our lives to the point where we can do almost anything on our smartphones, and in a matter of seconds. We no longer have to think about connecting with old friends because social media allows us to track every aspect of their lives.
Going to the supermarket, mall, movies and even doctor’s appointments are no longer necessary. They can all now be done online, with the click of a button. While this is convenient, our society has advanced to a point where our minds are on sensory overload.
Stress and depression are higher than ever because people are having trouble coping with all the daily tasks that are being thrown at them at once. The ability to connect online is disconnecting us from ourselves. Practicing mindfulness is important, and it can easily be incorporated into our routines throughout the day.
1. Visualize positive outcomes first thing in the morning
Upon waking, don’t immediately lean over to check your cell phone. Close your eyes for a moment, and visualize yourself having a productive day filled with ease. Repeat daily affirmations that can facilitate this. They can be as easy as “Today will be a productive day” or “I will remain positive today, despite daily challenges.” Find something that works for you, and actually visualize how you will be met with challenges. Realize that you’ll be able to deal with them efficiently without getting emotional. Then, take deep breaths and stretch.
2. Pay attention to your thoughts with mindfulness
We process thousands of thoughts every day. Most people let their thoughts affect their feelings. Slow down and think about what’s going through your mind. Have you been fuming about someone who mistreated you? Maybe you have too much work to do, and feel stressed about how you will finish it.
Pay attention to your thoughts, and remind yourself to stay present in the moment. Worrying or getting angry about someone or something will not change the situation, it will only affect your mind negatively.
Try to change your mood by thinking about something positive and listing ways in which you can relate to the people who are affecting you. Give the person you’re mad at the benefit of the doubt.
3. Appreciate what you have
It’s easy to think about what we don’t have and what we want. But if you appreciate what you do have, you’ll become aware of what others lack.
Remember: There’s always someone who has much less than you do. He or she would be happy to live your life. Just think about that for a moment.
4. Take a walk without your phone
Ever leave your house without your phone and freak out? We all do. We feel the need to be connected at all times. We’re afraid we might miss out on something.
Try to use your lunch hour to get outdoors, and take a walk by yourself. There will be no need to worry about checking your phone if you don’t have it.
Pay attention to nature or the beautiful surroundings as you walk, and think about nothing else but what you’re seeing in the present moment. Consider how you’re using all your senses on your walk.
5. Help someone every day
Our purpose for living is not to make money. We are here to help others. Life is hard, and we can all help each other in different ways.
This can be as small as giving a compliment to a friend, smiling at a stranger or giving your change to the homeless man you see on the on the street every day. Spreading love helps initiate gratitude for all aspects of your life. This leads you to feel happy and fulfilled. (Erika Mariel Gines)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 20, 2016.
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