Today, rather unexpectedly I found myself with an hour to spare sitting in a park. For me this wasn’t just any old park but Queen’s Park in Loughborough. A place I often frequented as a child for family picnics or a break from the monotony of shopping.
I sat and observed. I noticed the families with young children sitting on blankets, children on the swings and slides running around laughing, not a care in the world. I noticed people hurrying through the park using it as a short cut to the other side of town and I noticed how peaceful I felt.
The peaceful, relaxed sensation came about because I was living in the moment and only that moment. My thoughts were only focused on the goings on of here and now. There were no interludes of what I would be doing later or of what had come before, and that for me was a place of calm.
I often encourage my clients to be present focused and not be obsessing about the past or worrying about the future. The reason for this is whatever your present is, whether it is good or bad, it is only that. Whenever we are faced with an uncomfortable situation it’s our tendency to compare it to previous situations or think about how these things may arise in the future. These thoughts then lead the uncomfortable situation to become a lot bigger. Also when we are in a pleasant situation by not being focused on the present we miss much of the richness of the situation.
That being said, we don’t have to be present all of the time, it’s nice to day dream and to sometimes think of the past as it can be a place of happy memories and learning. Ideally we should try to incorporate small mindful exercises into our daily lives, here’s some tips to help you to be more present focused:
When you wake each morning, before you do anything stop and notice how you feel. Are you relaxed? Does the duvet feel comforting?
When you take a shower notice the sensation of the warm water and the soap suds.
When out walking take note of your surroundings. It doesn’t matter if they are beautiful or not just take note.
When in conversation with someone really focus on what they are saying. Stop thinking about how you should respond and just listen.
Adding a few moments of mindfulness into our daily lives has huge physical and psychological benefits. It doesn’t have to be a huge task so why not give it a try?