Being In the Moment

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I recently had the good fortune to attend the BCS Championship game between the Florida State Seminoles and Auburn Tigers at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Although Florida State winning the game was very exciting, it  was not the most enjoyable part of the trip. 

The parts of the trip I enjoyed the most were when I was able to just ‘be in the moment’ of what was happening.  I think one way of knowing that you are “being in the moment” is that you have multiple sensory inputs being experienced.  On one day of the trip out to the game my son and I had a free day.  So, on a whim, I rented a Mustang convertible and my son and I took the Pacific Coast highway from Huntington Beach down to San Diego.  This is a beautiful, but not fast, drive.  The Pacific Coast highway goes through all these little towns that I’ve always heard of but have never seen- Laguna Beach, Carmel, San Clemente, Encinitas etc.  It was a slow leisurely drive where I had a chance to not only see all of the surroundings, but feel the breeze, smell the ocean and hear everything that was going on around us. I think one way of knowing that I was “being in the moment” is that I can vividly recall almost every moment of that drive. 

It was the same as being at the game.  Because it was such a close game in the end, there was no time to get distracted or daydream.  My focus was on the game, play by play, moment by moment.  Winning the game was great, but “being in the moment” at the game was even better.

Here are 5 tips on how to better “be in the moment”:

1. Quit multi-tasking.  Trying to do two or more things at once results in not focusing on any one single task.

2. Listen instead of talking.  When you actively listen to someone your mind becomes focused on what they are staying in the moment they are saying it.

3. Take a routine task and do it differently.  For example, instead of taking the same way to work every day, find a new way that you have never traveled before.

4. Consciously use as many of your senses when ever possible.  At minimum, every situation usually engages sight, hearing and touch.  When eating add smell and taste.  If one of your senses is impaired, try adapting another to the situation.

5. Find quiet time every day when you can engage mindfulness  meditation.  Mindfulness mediation has been used by the U.S. Army to help soldiers deal with battlefield stress by being focused on the present.

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