Are We 'Here' Yet? How to Recognize When You're in the Moment (and How to Get There When You're Not)
With so many things competing for our attention everyday, it's no wonder that we are so easily distracted. From cell phone notifications, 24 hours news, and ads designed to make us look and listen, our fast paced lives often have us going in two directions at once. And in a world filled with distractions, it's hard to focus on the only moment that we really have - the present.
The negative effects of distraction include:
• higher stress levels
• decreased engagement
• increased difficulty in completing complex tasks
• inattentiveness to detail
• slower response times to stimuli
• reduced effectiveness
How distracted are you? Click or tap the image below to take a 1 minute online quiz to find out (desktop or laptop computer).
How'd you do? If you did well, congratulations, you tend to be able to focus on relevant information when potential distractions come up. (Oh yeah, and how many times did you start over? 😮) If you didn't do so hot, you're not alone. Millions of people are right there with you. Don't worry too much about the results. The important thing is to know you have the power to reduce distractions, improve focus, lower stress, and add a little more happiness into your life by staying in the present moment more often.
Here are some tools to help you recognize when you're present and in the moment, and some tips to help get you there when you're not.
The mindful check-in is a simple tool you can use to gauge how present you are by asking yourself these 4 reflective questions:
1.) How are you feeling? (label 1-3 emotions: happy, sad, afraid, stressed, angry, etc.)
2.) What are you thinking about? (just notice your thoughts)
3.) What body sensations are you aware of? (just notice the body)
4.) How is your presence? (low, moderate, high)
• How aware are you of where you're at right now?
• How aware are you of what you're doing right now?
The engagement scale is a tool you can use to give you a sense of how connected you are with the task at hand. Ask yourself the following:
On a scale of 1-10, how emotionally and mentally involved are you in what you’re doing and who you’re with right now?
• 1 = not at all, I’m outta here (low presence, low focus)
• 10 = maxed out, I’m all in (high presence, high focus)
Use these 5 tips to get you back...to the present
1.) Practice doing one thing at a time (single tasking)
2.) Use your 5 senses to connect with your surroundings
3.) Take short breaks every hour to refresh your mind
4.) Mute cell phone notifications whenever possible
5.) Eliminate obvious distractions in your immediate environment
What are you doing to recognize when you're present and in the moment (and how will you get there when you're not)? Share your answers in the comments below!
Charles Gosset is a Certified Professional Life and Leadership Coach (CPC) and founder of Full Integration Coaching, LLC. He helps big-hearted people with huge drive lead exceptional lives. You can find out more about him and the transformational services he offers by visiting: www.fullintegrationcoaching.com.
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