Summer holidays are just around the corner. And if you are like me this month is packed solids with both work and social events. I can feel myself longing for the relative peace of my summer holidays already. Which although is perfectly natural, is also really sad. Just think about how many people are sitting around you at this moment who are wishing they were a month ahead in time and were not where they are right here and now. Thousands of us daydreaming a month of our lives away, every year. A month of the year where the majority of the collective consciousness of humanity (at least in the western world) does not want to be where they are. Dreaming of the future not living in the present. What kind of unconscious impact does that create in our lives?
By living in the future not the now we create a negative experience for ourselves in the here and now. Tolstoy said “ There is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time that we have any power.” And he was right. The only moment we can affect and be in control of is the here and now. When we wish for the future to be now we give all of our power away. ANd our happiness.
Psychologist Matt Killingsworth—a happiness researcher has shown through his work that people who allow themselves to not be present actually report being 10% less happy than they were when they focused on the present—regardless of what they happened to be doing. And happiness begets all sorts of benefits—like improved health, productivity, creativity, and innovation. Who knew that wishing for that summer holiday to be right now was actually so damaging to you!
Not that I am saying don’t look forward to your holiday. Of course, you should. You deserve it. It is simply by keeping your thoughts on longings there you are missing out on the benefits of enjoying the here and now. Such as stronger emotional connections, powerful memories and personal satisfaction. When we are present we can influence our experience. Life amplifies and strangely enough instead of having less we actually have a sense of having more time as time slows down.
A happier life with more time, peace and satisfaction – sign me up! I mean who doesn’t want that. And who of you reading just thought sounds great. Only I will have to start working on it next week/month/year because I have X, Y and Z to get through first. And that my friends, is the trap. That’s the thought path that will lead you an hour from now to wishing yourself away to July. Again. Being present takes a lot less energy than you would think. Small actions make big differences to your satisfaction.
And I have found two simple tricks to bring you into the present immediately.
Use your senses
The first is learning to work with your natural ally. Your Senses. When you pay attention to your five senses, you can’t listen to your internal reel. Our senses are so powerful that if we ally with them we become instantly focused on the moment we are in. They close down mental chatter by allowing your neurons to connect with what is in front of you rather than what is in your head. I found that by taking time to connect with my senses t gave me a moment of calm. A feeling of being rooted and strong in myself and gave me the chance to check in with myself and my needs.
Try it yourself with these simple steps:
- Designate a specific time in your day to focus on what’s in front of you.
- Bring your mind back each time it tries to sneak off. Just say, “No, I’m doing that right now. I’ll get back to worrying later.”
- Ask yourself throughout the phase, “What do I hear, see, taste, feel, and smell?”
Anytime you feel disconnected from yourself and/or your family, or find yourself wishing a month of your life away simply unplug and tune into what’s surrounds you. You’ll notice a huge difference in your mental energy and happiness.
Do one thing at a time
I was a multitasking junkie. I used to pride myself on my ability to do at least 6 things at once until I realised that multitasking is the real-life soul splitting experience of creating a Horcrux (See Harry Potter). As we divide our attention into so many small pieces we make a shadow copy of ourselves. A weaker and more vulnerable version. We get stretched too thinly. By doing one task well. By focusing on that task alone we gain time. You see time really is just a concept. If we are rushing around like a headless chicken trying to do everything we run ragged always playing catch up. The fact is if you fill your time too much, trying to do it all at once you feel rushed. Your sense of time distorts and becomes limited. Doing just one thing at a time allows you to use the time that is there without panic thus creating the illusion of having more time and at the same time life flows more easily.
The ground-breaking research by Harvard Psychologist Matt Killingsworth (2010)found that 47% of the time we are not present in our lives. That’s almost half of our lives! Look forward to your holidays yes. But don’t waste your time wishing away your here and now. We all slip out of the moment occasionally. But by connecting with our senses we bring ourselves back to our root and by doing one thing at a time we give ourselves the gift of freeing our minds to enjoy the time that we have, influencing our experiences and empowering our lives.
HAve a beautiful week <3