Now that school is winding down for the year – students are finishing up with their finals – and the holidays grow nearer, it is important to remember to stay present during the holidays and to not focus on all of the other things that are not currently going on. This past Tuesday was the end of my finals and my first semester of Graduate School. And as I look back at my semester, I can see that the lack of sleep during the semester, has impacted me in a way I never expect it to – my attention to details at work has been suffering a bit.
Of course as humans, we all make mistakes, but we tend to avoid them (especially at work) by doing something such as double and triple checking to make sure any little mistakes in details do not go unnoticed and are corrected. For example, I sent an email to a group of clients that are attending a group Cindy is running next year. In the title of the article I put the name of the workshop (Vision Board) that we are running next January and not the name of the group (Self-Care Group). Luckily, everyone was able to figure out what I meant based off the email itself, and not the subject, but it was still the little things.
As I looked back on the situations and analyzed why it happened, I began to think of something my teacher told me – mindfulness: living in the here and now and being fully present in your work. That was it – with all of these exams and school work I needed to finish up, I was not being fully present at work or mindful. It almost feels like a fog was over my head and I was just going through the motions. So, in order to stop this from happening, I decided to bring more mindfulness into my life and focused on trying to stay present.
Now what exactly is mindfulness or staying present? In the first article –“Why Being Present Is So Difficult (And What You Can Do About It)” – I found the author, Dr. Rajeev Kurapati, defined mindfulness is “the mental state of being engaged in the now without emotionally reacting to our thoughts.” Typically, as humans we are constantly focusing on our past and our future, basing what will happen in the future on our previous experiences. Dr. Kurapati reminds us that being mindful is not an easy task, but with practice can create amazing changes in our lives.
So how can one stay mindful, or what are ways to bring more mindfulness to your life? Kristina Beck wrote an article outlining “4 Steps To Bring More Mindfulness Into Your Life,” and the 4 steps are as follows –
- Bring yourself to the present moment: Rather than scheduling a time when you feel you need to practice being present, it is best to do it during your day when you experience any negative emotion. Do this at least once a day.
- Pick an activity: After you have brought yourself to the present moment, pick an activity to practice mindfulness doing – this should be whatever comes to mind and comes naturally.
- Immerse yourself in the activity: Simply get lost in whatever it is you are doing.
- When thoughts come to mind, recognize them and let them go: Never dwell – Bring yourself back to the present and immerse yourself again; if the activity is not working, try something else.
Remember, one must remember to make these 4 steps a part of their routine to become more mindful in their everyday lives!
How can we use this information about being present and being mindful to help improve our work and personal lives and relationships? In his article, “The Simple Practice That Can Improve Your Career & Relationships,” Travis Eliot, explains how our thoughts and mindset are what influence how we work and part of changing this is keeping positive and focusing on the the here and now. He explains the Pratipaksha Bhavana, which is a tool used in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali technique. Summing up this tool with the phrase: “Our thoughts trigger our actions, our actions trigger our habits, our habits trigger our personality, and our personality triggers our present reality,” Travis how keeping a positive and present mindset can change our lives. He challenges the readers to putting this practice into action for seven days… so my challenge for you is to try to stay present in everything that you do – this is the holiday season, and some of the most precious and meaningful memories will be made during this time. Don’t worry about the huge project in school or work due next week, or that you have an ongoing list of errands to run. Stay focused on what is happening NOW; focus on enjoying every minute of what you’re doing and you will see changes in all aspects of your life. Yes, even work!
“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh
Are you finding yourself or know someone who is having a hard time staying present in life and/or work ? If you would like some help getting started please visit us at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando or call us at 407.355.7378 to schedule a free phone consultation. Our Orlando Licensed Mental Health Counselors for Individual Counseling in Orlando, our Orlando Life Coach or our Orlando Child Counselors, Orlando Adolescent Therapists, and Orlando Teen Counselors would be more than happy to help you figure out where you are in your life and ways to make it the life you want!