I’ve been reflecting lately on the busy lives we live and how most of us are constantly moving from one thing to the next. We rarely take time to pause, reflect or be conscious of our breath, our bodies or how we are feeling. We easily miss what’s actually happening in our surroundings and in our day to day lives, because we are either thinking, planning, worrying, regretting, rushing or giving our minds and our thoughts more power than they need to have. This often leads to missing out on the joys of life, as well as increasing stress, depression and anxiety. One of the benefits of therapy and exercise is having a built in ritual of pausing, reflecting, noticing, and attending to one’s life. It often times involves getting outside our heads, into our bodies and present to our lives and relationships.
Here are a few tips to get into the present moment:
1. Take two minutes at the end of each hour to notice your breath – you could count each breath or simply notice your stomach moving as your breathe
2. Notice and label five different sounds you hear
3. Light a candle or smell something pleasant
4. Hold someone you love for a few minutes, paying attention to how that feels
5. Notice and name the colors you see around you
6. When running, walking, or exercising, pay attention to the birds, animals, sounds and other objects you see outside
7. Notice the wind, rain or sun on your skin
8. Laugh every day – hang out with people who bring humor to your life, watch something funny, or use your imagination and silliness
9. Eat your meals without media distractions. Pack away your phone, books, TV or computer so you can taste and savor what nourishes you. Calm background music and conversation with loved ones is okay.
10. If you exercise outdoors – do it without music, podcasts, or other distractions. This is important time to see what your mind and body do and to engage with the outside world or your exercise partner. So much comes from this time!
Dr. Cory Nyamora is a licensed psychologist, an endurance sports coach with certifications from USAT and the founder of Endurance – A Sports & Psychology Center, Inc. He provides endurance coaching for beginner and experienced athletes, as well as psychological services to children, adults, and families. He provides trainings for organizations on topics related to the intersections of sports and mental health and overall wellness.