Most of us juggle multiple responsibilities. We are constantly shifting from one role to another within our career, family, and community commitments. As we move through our day, we tend to worry about the past, or plan for the future, which leaves us not fully living in the present moment. Additionally, with the popularity of smartphones, we tend to spend our free moments staring at our devices, accessing more information. The chronic avoidance of the present, often results in unfulfilled and stressed lives.
Research indicates that spending more time fully aware in the present moment leads to many health benefits, such as improved mood and less stress, as well as lower levels of anxiety and depression and overall improved well-being. The improvements we experiencing are due not only to the experience of being in the moment, but also to the increase in coping self-efficacy that we develop. Coping self-efficacy is when you start believing you can handle whatever life brings your way. When you learn to be fully present in positive moments, you truly experience the joy, and you feel more capable of handling the stressors that may arise in the future.
One of the easiest ways to shift your attention to the present moment is focusing on your 5 senses. What do you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear? The next time you step outside, stop for a moment. Look around you, and notice the the sky, trees, ground. Notice the smells in the air. What do you hear? Taste? Reach out and touch something nearby and notice the texture. By doing this, you shift your focus to all that is right in front of you.
If you want to begin practicing these mindful moments more often, then link them to certain activities. During your shower, really notice the feel of the water, scent of the soap, sounds that are present. When you eat lunch, connect with each of your 5 senses as you slowly enjoy each bite. At every red light, take inventory of all that you see, hear, and smell around you.
Even brief moments of being fully present will improve your overall wellbeing.