In today’s fast-paced society, it’s easy to let ourselves go on autopilot and never allow time to savor the moment.
After all, if you’re rushing from one thing to the next with no time in between and barely enough time to scarf down some lunch, it’s nearly impossible to savor anything.
The ability to actually be in the moment is much more important than you might realize. Getting into the habit of using mindfulness helps reduce anxiety, improve overall health, decrease stress, and improve happiness.
My clients with anxiety find this to be very helpful. You can get into full-blown mindfulness meditation (which many people love) but I would argue that even being more intentional and mindful in small moments throughout the day has big payoffs. Here are 5 ways to slow down and really savor the moment:
- When eating or drinking, actually taste it. How many times do you finish a meal in 5 minutes only to realize you didn’t actually stop and taste your food? Mindfulness can be practiced while sipping coffee or eating a meal by simply allowing yourself to taste each flavor, feel the texture of the meal, and appreciate the warmth of the mug or the sight of the colors in the food. This is also helpful when trying to lose weight, because you eat less food when you let the entire experience be satisfying.
- Take a mindfulness walk. Go on a walk without letting your mind wander. This can be very difficult, but with practice it can become very fulfilling. Instead of thinking about what you need to do tomorrow or what you should have done last week, listen to the sounds of the birds, feel the trail beneath your feet, and notice the smells that you sense. Bringing your thoughts into the present moment can help you quit ruminating on something that’s stressing you out. When it’s time to go back to that thing, your mind will be more clear and more able to handle it.
- Be fully present in conversations. Your relationships will improve. When you’re in a conversation, be there physically and mentally. Avoid distractions so you can give the other person your undivided attention. This extends to other things as well. Whatever you’re doing, do that thing, not allowing yourself to be elsewhere in your thoughts.
- Don’t turn straight to distractions. We don’t know how to be bored anymore. Waiting in line? Play a game on your phone. At home alone? Straight to the TV. We can’t even drive without texting anymore. I may do an entire post dedicated to this idea (let me know if you’d like that), but we are pioneers in this new world of instant satisfaction. How can we expect to be calm or inspired if we don’t allow ourselves any downtime to calm down or to think of our inspiring ideas? Train your brain to quit craving more stimulation at the first hint of boredom. It’s good for you.
- Practice a new skill. You have to slow down in order to learn a new skill. Whether that’s how to play the guitar, paint with watercolor, write poetry, or do a handstand, you have to be mindful in order to learn something new. This practice can really enrich your life.
With these five ways to slow down, you can work towards living a life on purpose that’s intentional and satisfying.
Give one or all of them a try and let me know how it goes for you!
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