zen stones

One of the things I hear frequently from my clients is that they feel as though their life is “passing them by”.  That is, they spend so much time operating on “autopilot” that they are not focusing on what is happening in the here and now.

In our modern, busy lives, we are constantly forced to multi-task.  Between focusing on past events and planning for future ones, it is easy for us to lose sight of what is happening in the present moment.  When we are not present in our daily lives we fail to listen to our bodies and notice the good things that are happening in our lives, and worst of all, we fall victim to toxic self-criticism.

Taking the time to be more aware of ourselves – our thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc – may not sound very helpful, but, plenty of emerging neuroscience research shows us that practicing mindfulness can actually help our brains to become more fully “integrated” – which can have a significant positive impact on our daily lives.

Mindfulness is about paying attention to our daily lives, and seeing clearly, what is happening.  It helps us to respond more calmly and to let go of the habitual, unconscious emotional and physical reactions that we have to everyday life events.

If you wish to add mindfulness to your daily life, try doing these three simple steps.

1. When you first wake up in the morning – stay in bed: Take a minute to focus on your breathing.  Feel the flow of air in and out – feel your belly rise and fall with each breath.  Tune into your body and focus on how it’s feeling right here, in this moment.  Try not to let your mind drift somewhere else.

2. Stay in the moment: We all have a tendency to let our minds wander, but try to resist that urge. Instead, stay grounded in the moment by accessing all 5 of your senses; What do you smell? Hear? See? Feel? Taste? Focusing on sensory information helps to ground us in this moment by forcing our minds to stay in the here and now – and not wander off.

3. Look for the times your mind tends to wander: We all have times throughout the day where we “zone out”.  Maybe you’re on social media, or watching TV, or going to work – whatever it is, see if you can find these times and bring more awareness to them.

If you feel your life is passing you by and you would like to learn how to be more mindful and live in the present, please feel free to contact me.

Professional Seal for Lindsay Simmons
Lindsay Simmons, MSW, RSW
Therapist in Oakville, ON