Want to Be More Mindful and Live More in the Present?
My mother always complained that my attention was never on what I was doing. While I can be highly focused and mindful when I’m working in a flow state, my life is lived 5 minutes ahead of where I am now. Always planning what’s next and what’s after that — I’m rarely in the here and now.
I also don’t do “downtime” very well. I meditate daily to tame my wandering mind, but when I find myself with nothing to do until it’s time for the next thing I’ve planned, I usually reach for my phone. Checking email, texts, messages, news headlines, FB groups, or playing Scrabble or sudoku easily chews up an hour.
Since I’m self-employed, those hours represent time that I could have been generating income-producing work. Worse, this aimless digital doodling has a become habit that I do on the bus heading to an appointment, waiting for a lunch or dinner companion to arrive, during gaps in conversations, and so on. Each moment I’m planning and preparing and anticipating what’s next and how will I handle whatever it may be. I’m unable to be present and enjoy the moments of my life. Sometimes, I want to scream, “Just stop!” but I’ve lost the ability to be still.
In stillness is peace
According to clinical health psychologist Amy Sullivan, PsyD, ABPP, “When we’re frazzled, our fight-or-flight response is on overload causing a host of problems We can use calm, quiet moments to tap into a different part of the nervous system that helps shut down our bodies’ physical response to stress.” In addition to moderating and relieving stress, stillness can deepen our thinking, strengthen our relationships, increase our creativity, and improve communication. — Clevelandclinic.org
Stillness is a way of being. It’s a quieting of body, mind, and spirit, so action and thinking are unnecessary, but it’s hard to be still when our modern lives are bombarded with distractions and frenetic activity. It takes effort to create even a moment of stillness in our hectic, demanding days. Yet, it is possible.
We can actively seek stillness if we are willing to turn off external distractions, set an intention to be still for a period of…