Have you ever been someplace; the gym, coffee shop, vacation, etc and just couldn’t focus? You just could not get into the moment, whatever it was? You failed to live in the present. This happens to everyone at some point and time. It is what you do to overcome those challenges that is important.
I got to thinking about “the moment” after watching my dog. He lives in the moment, whatever it is, moment to moment to the next. He never holds grudges or thinks about the past or worries about the future. He is just here, here and now. How can I be like my dog and enjoy where I am at that given moment?
We are connected to the world through our senses; touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing. By activating these senses you are able to overcome the inner monologue that is often times keeping you from enjoying the small things like the gym, coffee, vacation, etc. Sometimes you just have to turn your mind off and enjoy what is in front of you.
Here are a few simple tricks to get into the moment.
White noise is defined as random noise with a uniform frequency spectrum over a wide range of frequencies. Basically white noise is all that background sound you hear all day that doesn’t really mean anything, yet. Find a noise in the background of wherever you are and focus on it. Just that noise. Try to experience the sounds of the water, background music, some other obscure sound that catches your attention. The key here is to not try to relax but to let it happen naturally. Let the body settle into the relaxed state, don’t force.
Visually we are able to turn the voice in our heads off as well but this often times is a little more difficult than focusing on a background sound. We use our visual sense to label our surroundings, read, etc. We do this instinctively. They key here is to break that instinct and focus on other things. A good way to start is to look at an object and look for patterns. Do you see a box or several rectangles making that box? Does a certain surface have a distinct texture, can you visualize that texture like stucco or velvet ? Do you see a pattern that repeats? Focus on those patterns and textiles. Seeing the world differently at times often brings a different perspective as well as a sense of calmness as you focus on the visual of the moment. You can often times use the sense of touch with the visual to create a conscious task that resets the brain’s Default Mode Network. Basically you’re turning the brain on auto-pilot as you switch off the inner commotion of the mind. Your mind will start to blur the conscious and sub-conscious task into one.
Finally and often times by far the easiest way to live in the moment is through the sense of smell. Close your eyes and smell the roasting coffee; smell the bacon being cooked in the kitchen; the smell of the gym… which is often times not a settling smell (but I’m sure some people enjoy it) but the point is first focus on the smell that you enjoy and let the thoughts that smell evokes take over without effort. Secondly if you don’t enjoy the smell of wherever you are you might do better to leave than to stay in a stinky stressful environment.
Now, unlike my dog, we can’t always live in the moment. Even if I were the most carefree person in the world I think to completely live in the moment and fail to plan would bring on a whole new slew of stresses. Sometimes the best place for you is where you are, but you’d never know that if you can’t enjoy that moment you’re there. Give your mind a break and enjoy the moment you’re there.