5 Situations in Your Life Where You Can be More PresentBy Homaira Kabir
It’s not easy being present. Our brains, unlike other animal brains, are made for extensive time travel. We can mentally replay the past so well that we smile with joy, or, as is more often the case, drive ourselves insane with rumination. And our ability to imagine the future to its nth detail—again, often negatively—is a major cause of everyday worry and anxiety.
As a longtime worrier myself, I know how easy it can be to slip into the future and let life slip by. However, in my efforts to be more present, I've found that simple meditation, wonderful as it is to calm my mind, does not allow me to be an active and involved participant in the day-to-day unfolding of life. Identifying situations where I want to be more present, then engaging with them mindfully, has been far more effective because it allows me to make the most of the gift of life.
If you want to live more fully, here are 5 situations where you can aim to be more mindful:
Be Mindful in Your Time with Others
As social animals, we humans are our greatest source of strength and comfort. Yet we can be largely absent from each other's lives and distracted by our own inner and outer worlds, which ultimately harms us as much as it harms those around us. Fortunately, we can reclaim the magic of relationships by becoming more present with each other. One of the best ways to do so is to try to listen more attentively. Listen to the person behind the words, to the joy or the pain in their voice, to their need to be noticed and loved. Because when we listen deeply, we increase the joy and minimize the suffering—not just of others, but of ourselves.
Be Mindful in Moments of Awe
Awe and elevation are positive moral emotions that arise most often by exposure to certain kinds of beauty and perfection that are beyond human comprehension. Jonathan Haidt, who has researched these emotions, has found that they make us stop, they move us deeply, and they open our hearts and minds. Most important, they help us "be here now" and trigger a desire to be a better version of ourselves. Some ways of eliciting these emotions are to step out in nature, be more attentive to the sights and sounds that surround you, and stop and notice the kindness of others more often.
Be Mindful During Routine Tasks
So much of our day is spent in routine tasks like folding clothes or washi