Thursday, September 28, 2023

Four Ways to Connect with the Present Moment.

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( If your schedule is like most, you probably have over-the-top multitasking skills. But is your ability to do everything at once causing you to miss the moments that matter? If your mind constantly wanders to what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow, what you need most is to practice focusing on the moment right in front of you.  It is about learning to “be” and not just “do.” Focusing on the present improves your relationships and productivity while lowering your stress levels and boosting happiness. And there are some easy ways to do it in the heat of the moment when you and your thoughts start racing. Your senses are a tool to bring you back into the present moment. Stop and intentionally savor the sounds, touch, smell, sight and flavors around you.

   1. Feel your breath as it comes in and goes out.

Notice your breath right now.  Is it shallow or deep? When we aBlackWomenTalking-2016re stressed, most often our breathing is shallow. In fact, you may have gone all day without stopping to take a nice, deep breath. So justassume your eyes are crossing paths with these words because that’s exactly what you need to do in this moment. More than a hurried breath, actually feel the air as it enters your nose. Notice it breeze through your throat and into your lungs. Feel your diaphragm expand. Conscious breathing is the quickest way to slow down and enter the present moment.

  2. Turn off your electronics and listen to the sounds.

I remember a hike I took in Sedona, Arizona back in 2002. What I remember most isn’t the beauty of those red mountains or the rocks battered and worn by a waterfall that had since evaporated. I stopped and sat right in the middle of that former waterfall to savor my surroundings. What I remember most is the quiet. No cars. No planes overhead. No air conditioners buzzing in the background. Nothing. It was the sound of peace. And until I heard it, I was deaf to the nonstop buzz of modern conveniences that most of us hear every day in our normal environments. Turn off everything you can – the television, your phone, the computer, and just notice the sounds around you. Then intentionally add to your environment what you most want to hear – the music, the people, the sound of outdoors when the window is open – and savor those sounds.

  3. Try to identify the flavors in your meal by taste.

I know, I know. Some days, you feel lucky to get time to eat all three meals. And one of them might be in the car or in front of the TV, or a side note while you scroll Instagram. But how about trying this? Next time you eat, savor each bite. Close your eyes. Taste the flavors. See if you can perceive the ingredients and seasonings. Chew slowly. Take a breath. Then another bite. Mmmm…

  4. Look the person you are talking to in the eye.

Ever notice lately how often we talk to each other without looking at each other? It’s easier to keep typing on the computer or texting or surfing the internet and talk than to give someone our full attention. But breaking this one habit can boost your ability to connect and it can lower your stress level as you fully focus on the person in front of you. You’ll probably notice you don’t have to ask people to repeat themselves quite so often either.

Being present is about how you want to show up in the world. You can be the hurried, stressed out person or you can be the wholehearted, fully-engaged friend/ co-worker/ partner. What will you choose?

My challenge to you:

Show up fully. Be present.

Written by Valorie Burton

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