Whilst planning for my holiday to South of France I decided to purchase a baseball cap – it was chavvy, too big and as a cheapskate, too expensive but none the less, practical! For anyone that has been to South of France, you’ll know what I mean when I talk about the villages…beautiful. But as I walked the windy alleys and adored the shops and fronts of people’s homes, I realised my vision was narrowed due to my stupid oversized hat. I looked up (with more effort than normal due to the hat) and was taken aback by the beauty above me; flowers, colour and beautiful building tops met with the sky. Although I realise a hat is sometimes practical, I couldn’t believe what I was missing and realised the importance of not forgetting to look up.
What stops you from really noticing your surroundings?
Taking in our surroundings is simple but sometimes it just doesn’t happen – why is that? Is it a hat or the distraction of our phones or stress after a bad day? Or for the majority of us it’s simply autopilot as we strut through our day to day lives and pay little attention to the world around us. How many times have you driven to a destination and questioned how you got there? Crazy right but scary.
So why is taking notice and being in the present moment important for our wellbeing. It’s pretty obvious that stress and negative thinking are not good for us but this is proven by research that encourages us to take a break and be aware of what is going on within the moment. By doing this we are aiming to develop a sense of calmness as we work towards forming a better connection to ourselves and the ability to regulate our behaviours. Afterall if we can take more control of our thoughts and behaviours, we’ll be calmer and happier right?
Practice makes perfect
Well that’s that done, that was easy. But of course it isn’t! It takes practice to find what works for you. Have you got a place that stops all that mind chatter? For me I love being on a mountain with no sound but the breeze, birds, water running down the stream….and my dogs occasionally disrupting things. But whatever works for you, needs to be decided by you! Maybe you don’t know what it is yet – it may take some trial and error to find that thing that allows your mind to calm to start your journey to enjoying the very present moment.
Explore and be curious
So let’s get exploring some ideas – how best to experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes around us?
Pop away that phone and look out the window or just enjoy sitting or standing in whatever space it may be. Feel what is holding you – are you sitting on a chair? What can you see? Are the trees blowing? Are your neighbours being weird? Maybe you can practice being in the moment whilst having coffee with a friend – hear what they are saying and how you feel and respond.
What about some ‘in the moment breakfast’ – the process of preparing food and the sound of the toaster popping. Relax and taste the food – this is another area we often do not REALLY experience and oh my, why would we ever rush food and not really taste every gorgeous mouthful (sorry, getting carried away). How’s about going for a walk – when was the last time you aimlessly walked around your neighbourhood? What can you hear? I love the sound of stepping on old leaves as they crunch under my shoe (this isn’t as aggressive as it sounds honest).
The point is the options are endless and this is your journey to create. Blinkin enjoy it.
“It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.” – Professor Mark Williams.