By Katy Duncan, Contributing Blogger
How many times have you heard someone say this common phrase and complaint, or said this yourself? "There are not enough hours in the day." Work gets stressful sometimes, home life becomes chaotic and you may feel like you barely have more than a moment to yourself on any given day.
You may not always have time to dive into a deep meditation practice or fight stress at the source through diet and workout routines. In-depth mindfulness techniques are a great way to ground yourself back to the present moment and grab hold of your awareness again, but it's not always practical in the heat of the moment. Finding moments throughout the day to practice mindfulness and bring yourself back to the present moment can make all the difference when things get overwhelming.
I'm a busy, on the go type of person who has made a point in my life to find ways to increase my sense of presence throughout the day, one moment at a time. That's all it takes. One moment, 2-5 minutes, the equivalent of a moderately timed song.
Here are some ways I've found to create a pocket of presence in your own day and bring your awareness back to the present moment. When you live fully in the moment you can appreciate what you have and the people and things that surround you in life, and really, who doesn't want that?
Play Mind Games
I'm not talking about the shady way your ex used to get inside your head here. I'm talking about harmless ways you can invite your mind to play a game and become present in the moment. There are a couple of easy games to play with yourself in your head, that can take as much or as little time as you want, and no one will be any wiser that you're doing it.
Play a version of I Spy with yourself wherever you are. Starting to spiral in your work cubicle and can't snap out of it? Find all of the things within your line of sight that are a certain color; green, blue, purple, red, orange, or yellow. You can vary this activity by subbing in searching for things that make noise, or things that make you smile, or by spying all of the things in a room or space that start with a certain letter.
Another way to invite your mind to a game and snap back to reality and the present moment is to use each sense that you have to become aware of what's around you. What do you smell? See? Hear? Touch or Taste? Try to find 3-5 things for each sense to ground yourself back into the present moment.
By engaging your mind in some kind of activity that makes it concentrate on what's around you, you're actively becoming aware of your surroundings and the present moment. This awareness can make it easier for you to enjoy where you're at in that moment.
Look for the Silver Lining
This is easier said than done. When life gives you lemons, what do you do with them? Make lemonade or throw them at innocent bystanders? Hopefully the former, but it can be hard to find something sweet in a sour situation.
If work has you stressed to the core and you find yourself checking out of the present moment regularly when you're there, put this thought into your head, “I may not love this moment, but I have a job to complain about and for that, I am grateful."
Say you're home life is especially chaotic and you find yourself juggling too many tasks for what you can actually handle, remind yourself, “I have people, places, and things to worry about, and for that, I'm grateful."
It can be hard to find the silver lining in a storm, but try to focus on the upside of anything that's pulling your attention away from being present. Oftentimes, if you shift your perspective and mindset, you can place yourself back in the present moment and be happy about it, or at the very least, you'll have some lemonade.
Accept Things as They Are
Regardless of the present moment you find yourself in, being able to recognize what is and is not in your control can help you stay focused on the moments that matter. There's no use worrying about things you can't control; all it does is pull your mind away from enjoying where you are.
When you catch yourself starting to become removed from your surroundings and the present moment, stop yourself from spiraling before it's too late. Remind yourself what about the current
situation is within your control. News flash: You are in control of your emotions, perspectives, mindset, and awareness. You get to decide how you respond to a situation.
Choose to accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can and have the wisdom to know the difference.Being present and recognizing when you're not is an amazing sense of awareness to have. Life doesn't happen in huge waves and chunks of time, it happens in moments. It happens in small bite-size pieces that fit in your pocket. Find a pocket of presence in your day-to-day life and start being aware of your surroundings and just how great life really is. Your mind, body, and heart will thank you for it!