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Three ways to feel more in the moment
The modern world is full of distractions, some of which are expertly engineered for just this: distracting us, and keeping our attention.
Whether it’s social media, pinging us notifications and rewarding us with dopamine hits, or we’ve found ourselves binge watching another series on our favourite streaming service, our minds may struggle to focus on the here and now.
Do you ever find yourself losing track of conversations, or being unable to concentrate on a particular task? Do you often struggle to connect with a specific moment in time, instead thinking ahead to the weekend or perhaps an upcoming holiday? Maybe you play sports and are still fixated on last weekend’s fixture. Whatever the distraction, here we present our three ways to feel ‘more in the moment’.
1) Learn and perform breathing exercises
There are many breathing exercises out there and different ones work better for different people; if you’ve tried one and it didn’t work out, try another! The idea is that by focusing on your breathing, you’re very much drawing yourself back to the present. You may notice things you haven’t noticed before, such as the sensation of air passing through your nostrils, down towards your diaphragm as you engage your belly muscles. With any luck, you’ll also feel very calm and ready to take on whatever your day holds.
We’re going to present the details of one particular breathing exercise, which is focused on the waves of the ocean.
Filter out any distractions, such as the TV, or a noisy pet
Get yourself comfortable, whether that’s seated on the sofa or laying down. Really allow your body to sink in and be supported by whatever you’re resting on. Close your eyes
Gently begin breathing in, in a controlled manner, through your nose. Exhale slowly but strongly through your mouth
As you breathe in, notice the air moving in, over the back of your throat. As your exhale, try to make a slight ‘ah’ sound; you may notice your throat constrict
Once comfortable, continue breathing in and out through your nose, trying to maintain the slightly constricted sensation in your throat
As you inhale, visualise a wave rolling in as the air fills your belly. Count to 4
As you exhale, visualise the wave rolling back out to sea, as you notice your rib cage moving
If you’re feeling particularly creative, imagine you’re down in the sand. How does it feel? What do you notice?
Continue this for as long as you’d like to – perhaps 3-5 minutes. When you’re ready, slowly start to wiggle your toes and fingers and gradually open your eyes
Make a note of how you feel and remember, the more you do this, the easier and less strange it will feel
If it’s for you, repeat this as much as you feel comfortable. If it’s not, research further breathing exercises and try one that sounds more suitable for you
2) Cuddle a pet* or loved one
This one may seem a little obvious if you’re a cuddly person. If you’re not so cuddly, you’re potentially missing out on the benefits of cuddling.
What are the benefits of cuddling you ask! Here are some:
Helps you to feel more connected with others
Releases oxytocin, which is calming and can help deal with stress
Can boost your immune system
Helps you to sleep
Please bear in mind that not all pets love a cuddle* – you know your pet better than most so you need to make an informed decision around this.
3) Silence your phone and put it away
Phones in general aren’t a huge distraction, however, smartphones and their various applications are. If it was just phone calls and text messages, arguably you wouldn’t be utilising your mobile device as much as you perhaps do.
Emails; messenger apps; social media; sports scores. The natural inclination for some is to grab our phone any time there is a silence or gap. We’re not very good at doing nothing these days. If your notifications are silenced and your phone is out of reach, you’ll be amazed at what happens to your thoughts and behaviours. You’ll probably be more likely to talk and to listen properly to conversations. You will pay attention to the TV show perhaps.
If you are struggling to connect with the moment and do find yourself reaching for your phone often, give this one a try. It might just change your life.
We hope you’ve found our tips useful. Let us know on social media if they’ve helped!
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