Last week I sent out a newsletter that had a spelling error in the title. Oops. I used the word breath instead of breathe (discussing if you can breathe away stress.) It happens.
Honestly- thank you to those of you who mentioned this to me – it’s actually fun to know a few of you are seeing/reading my newsletter 🙂
And thank you to those who didn’t mention the spelling error to me. Perhaps you assumed that I just made a spelling mistake, or maybe you thought I didn’t know the difference between the words but didn’t want to embarass me by calling it out. That is ok too! I appreciate you are out there in my tribe as well. There is no right or wrong way to handle the situation in my opinion, so whatever you did was fine.
The thing is, I do know the difference between breath and breathe, I was just not paying attention.
–Doing too many things at once.
—-Always under the wire, not getting ahead.
——Not being mindful.
——–Not being present.
Sound familiar? I remember when ‘doing too many things at once’ was conveniently dubbed ‘multi-tasking’. It was the buzzword in every job I interviewed for. But can we really do a great job at anything when we aren’t actually focused on it?
Our minds wander, that is natural. Perhaps the present moment isn’t interesting enough and boredom set it. Or maybe you are too busy worrying about your next comments to actually listen to what the other person is saying. Or your mind is still in the last meeting and hasn’t shifted over yet. There’s also a good chance you are overworked and are thinking about a number of looming deadlines. Or you’ve been sucked into social media. Or your kids need attention, the dog is barking, or….. the list goes on.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but we can begin to train our minds to focus on the here and now. It’s been studied that the simple act of being present can bring about calm, peace and even happiness. And you may find, as I do, that I do a much better job at whatever I’m doing when I’m actually present. So it’s worth working on.
Here’s a few steps that you can try at various times of the day to practice being present:
- Eat mindfully. Shut off the t.v., turn away from the computer and set the phone down. Place your full attention on your food. Notice the colors, the aroma, the texture and flavors. Notice if you get fuller sooner.
- Ask yourself at various times of the day what you are immediately focusing on. Notice if you are focused on that task or thinking about another one. Simply bring your awareness back to your present task.
- Take a deep breath. Draw air into and fill the belly, then slowly release out the nose. This creates a relaxation response and can calm the body when you’re in a stressed state. A few simple breaths can be enough to refocus your attention.
- Reduce distractions. Do you have 10 tabs open and constantly checking social media. Close them. Set time for those tasks every few hours rather than every few minutes.
- Take a break. Take a walk around the block, play with your kids or pet for a mental break.
- Ask yourself what really matters right now. Don’t even look at your list, just write down or make a mental note of what comes up. You many need to redefine your to-do list based on this new priority.
- Daily breathing or meditation practice. While it may not feel like it now, these types of self-care tasks really help us to train our brains with focusing on the present. Just remember it’s called a practice for a reason.
I’m the one who made the error and called it out, so I am not present all the time either. It really is a practice. Be kind to yourself when these kinds of errors occur, but do take a look at it- were you fully present in the moment? Being present can even help us be more grateful, which is definately linked to happiness. Just begin by being aware of where you are and what you are focusing on. Then continue to practice it.
If you need a little help in this area, reach out and let’s chat.