1) Put your cellphone away
LOOK UP! Its true to say that today’s generation revolves around technology and social media. There is an app for everything and the more the online world grows, the more we find ourselves getting ‘swooped’ up in it. If you are one of these people who can’t go anywhere without your cellphone, try limiting the time you spend on it. Put it away when you’re out for dinner or with your friends. Leave it behind on your next adventure. Embrace the ‘now’.
2) Be personable
Take time to notice the small things. Give compliments. Lend a helping hand. Call people by the name on their nametag. Instead of texting or emailing someone, dial their number or better yet, pay them a visit. By doing this you can avoid drawn out conversations and potential misunderstandings. Planning a party or event? Personalize the invitations and mail them out. People will appreciate the thoughtfulness.
3) Be genuine
We often find it difficult to be present in conversation, because we have our own issues to deal with. We are either replaying past events or worrying about the future. We have our own opinions and ways of viewing the world and it can be easy to get caught up in our own minds. When socializing, be sure you are listening to respond, not listening to reply. If you agree to do something, do it. Practice what you preach. Though don’t be afraid to say no. Think before responding. If we take on too much we can wear ourselves out.
4) Spend time in nature
It is much easier to be ‘present’ when spending time outdoors. Being away from all the commotion in the city, at work, or in your home, leaves us with fewer distractions. If going out for a walk, run, or a cycle, try leaving the iPod behind, and tune into nature’s sounds. The smell, the fresh air, and the physical beauty, all play various roles in helping us to relax, find peace and rejuvenate.
5) Spark a conversation with a stranger
When in line at the grocery store, sitting on the bus, out at a community event, at the park, wherever it may be, make a connection. Smile. Say hi. Introduce yourself. Ask questions. Give them a compliment. You never know what could come from it. They could be your future soul mate, best friend, employer, sponsor or mentor. Or you may simply learn something new. Conversations open doors to potential opportunity.
6) Turn off the TV
When at home spend time interacting with your family and friends. Turn off the television, video games and music. If we give to much time to the TV we could lose out on potential opportunity elsewhere. Play a board game, go outside, and eat dinner without the background noise and interruptions. Also be mindful of what you chose to watch and play. Whether it be the news, reality TV shows, movies and other programs and video games, as you could be left feeling angry, anxious, sad, or doubting your own self.
7) Take up yoga/practice mindfulness
Those who practice yoga on a regular basis demonstrate greater health benefits. It encourages you to relax, slow your breathing, release tension and focus on the present. Studies show ‘yogis’ are better at acquiring and recalling information, as well as solving problems. They also sleep better at night, probably because they are able to quiet their mind and are less distracted by their thoughts.
8) Slow down
We are living in a fast paced world. Breathe, plan ahead, wake up early and take your time getting to where you got to go. When we are in a hurry we often miss out on, forget or lose things. Majority of accidents occur, whether it be on the road or elsewhere, when we are not paying full attention.
9) Stay organized
When were organized we don’t spend hours looking for things we may have lost or ‘misplaced’. Keep a day planner, write a list of your ‘to dos’, file your documents and receipts, keep your room and house in order. There is nothing worse then losing hours retracing your steps, or having to spend money on items that went missing. We often create our own anxieties.
10) Start journaling
Journaling can help with keeping our thoughts and feelings in order. It is a creative outlet, for self-expression. Write about your day. What you saw. Who you met. What you learnt. Were you living for today, yesterday or tomorrow? Write down your goals, both short term and long term. Research shows that those who write down their goals are more likely to accomplish them. It allows us to see things visually and we can go back and review them.
11) Try something new
Are you living on autopilot? In a daily routine? Do you know exactly what your hours, days and weeks are going to look like? If so it may be time to switch things up. ‘Routine is thy enemy’. Enroll in a new course. Take up a new hobby. Join a club or community group. Or maybe its even time to change jobs. Spice things up a little. When doing things for the first time we are forced to focus and concentrate on the present moment. You may be shocked at the things you learn, potentially discovering new skills or talents you didn’t know you had.
Book a trip somewhere. Take that leap of faith. By submersing ourselves in new landscapes, economy, food, religion, language, transportation systems, etc. we are challenging ourselves to adapt and learn the culture. We are forced to open our eyes and to be present, to communicate and build new relationships. We become more aware of our surroundings. ‘Once the travel bug bites, there is no antidote, and you shall be happily infected until the end of your life’ – Michael Palin