Let’s be honest – life is busy! There’s always a to-do list, new additions to your routine and sometimes even setbacks. We are often focused on future tasks and plans, BUT, it is also incredibly important to be in the present. To ‘stop and smell the roses’ more often than we do and just be mindful of the moment.
Life is full of moments, many of which pass us by because we are not present in those moments – we are lost in thought or distracted by life’s evolving timeline. It is very easy to distract yourself with thoughts of things to come, to do, to say, etc. It is much more difficult (but also much more rewarding) to really focus on what is happening in the now and to really be in the moment, whether alone or with someone else. Being in the present is key for self-reflection and de-stressing.
Take for example the busy, working parent scenario: getting the kids ready and to school on time, working a full work day, then coming home to feed and bathe the kids before bed (plus all of the other adult to-do tasks, like taking out the garbage, paying bills, taking the car in for an oil change, etc.). There is a lot going on in that brain! It’s just trying to keep up and stay one step ahead, anxiously pushing towards the next move or task. BUT, it is so key for that parent to take moments out of their day to be present, especially with loved ones and also by themselves. To read a book with their kids and really just focus on that moment – being aware of how their child is reacting to the story, their expressions and questions, what they physically look like and even smell like in that exact moment. Or to have a quiet 10-minute bath to just be at ease and not have to think or worry about tomorrow – to refresh and reset.
When you take the time to really reflect and pay attention to the things that are important to you, those things become much more obvious and clear. Even time just doing ‘nothing’ can help to calm your body and mind. Sometimes we need to step back from our busy and often stressful lives and look at the big picture. Do activities that help to de-activate those lost-in-thought moments and really be present – meditation, sports, crafts with the kids, whatever it is that helps you to relax and focus without distractions.
One thing that I especially enjoy doing is going for a walk outside and just being aware of my surroundings – taking in the smells, the colours I see, the temperature and atmosphere, and just thinking about how I feel in that exact moment while pushing away all distracting thoughts. Not thinking about what I need to do when I get home or what to cook for dinner. Simply acknowledging the now and my perceptions about my surroundings and how I feel within them.
One of my favourite quotes (heard via a TED talk podcast) is by Andy Puddicombe: “The present moment is so underrated”. When I first heard that, I felt so strongly agreeable with that statement because we spend our whole lives planning for the rest of our lives that we forget to appreciate and really live the present moment. So, do remember to stop and smell the roses once in a while, and take a moment to enjoy the little moments that make up your unique story.
You can view Andy Puddicombe’s TED talk here, as well as a few other talks to inspire the best version of yourself.
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.