1 Minute Makeover: Change your day with one minute.
I want to talk about “being aware” or how to “live in the moment”. All too often we get caught up in the machine and our days suck us in during the morning and spit us out before its time to go to bed with very little “awareness” throughout the day. We work, we eat (if we can find the time), and hustle to get home for chores, kids, or more work. When the weekend comes, we’re often so exhausted from the week that it takes until Sunday for us to fully unwind, and then its time to get sucked back up in the machine. But what if we could slow down the machine and squeeze out some additional enjoyment each day, wouldn’t life be more enjoyable? Of course!, but how?
We all know that priorities take over and we’re often left with little choice in the matter. The truth is, we actually do have a lot of choices, but all too often we don’t speak up load enough to let that subconscious part of our brain hear us and take a break.
With good intentions, we can plan to take 5 minutes and smell the roses, or to take it easy, but we seldom follow through with it. The solution? Redefine what it means to take a break, be aware or live in the moment. If you think living in the moment is what you do on a beach vacation, you’re partially correct. But that isn’t the complete mindset.
Living in the moment, and being aware is as much about your breathing, patience and tempo you carry throughout your day as it is where you physically are located, or what activities you are involved in.
It starts with getting in your car. We do it autonomously in the morning and before we know it we’re grinding down the highway, and maneuvering the obstacles of the day ahead.
Next time you get in your car, before you put your car in reverse, close your eyes, take 5 deep breaths and remind yourself how blessed you are to have a job to go to.
Sometimes we lose sight of what we have in favor of what we don’t, or what we want. If you can take an extra 20 seconds in the morning to remind yourself right before you get going, you’ll have a less stressed commute and likely have a better outlook during the day.
If you’re like me, by lunch you’ve lost that peace of mind, lost that appreciation and feeling of gratitude and likely need another reminder. Lunch offers another great opportunity to reel it back into the now and present.
Without changing your routines, when you’re eating your lunch, try to describe to yourself the texture or taste of what you are eating. Take a bite and pretend you’re on FoodTv critiquing your lunch. It can be quite comical criticizing a frozen entrée, I’m sure “this is bland, or this needs salt”, can work hand in hand. It doesn’t matter what the feedback, because what you’re doing is slowing it down, taking note.
This same methodology follows throughout the day, when its time to leave the office, eat dinner and go to bed.
Once you’re in bed and the lights are out, and you’ve finally gotten into your comfortable sleeping position, take 5 deep breaths and find 1 good thing about the day. Find that one that sticks out to you, maybe it was a complement, or someone let you over into the lane on the highway. It can be anything big or small, but find that one thing and say to yourself, it was a good day and set your sight on tomorrow and tell yourself, it will be a good day tomorrow.
I promise you this. If you can do these simple things every day for a week, you’ll find that you start paying attention to the leaves on the tree’s, or the clouds in the sky. You start hearing the sound of your wife’s voice, or kids laugh and appreciate that they are in your life today. Before you know it your stress will be down, and the machine will be start to slow.
The sights, smells, tastes and air you breathe are all things that your body experiences without you having to pay much attention to them. We can eat when we’re in a hurry and not taste a thing, or breathe without filling our lungs, or smell without thinking about what the source is.
If we can take a total of 1 minute throughout our normal lives to acknowledge those things, we could set a course for a new sense of awareness.
I have practiced this art and for the most part of my days, I have gained a sense of appreciation for each hour that passes. I have started incorporating things in my life that stop me in my tracks. Such as a cup of coffee, when you stop to think about it, it’s a truly remarkable sensory experience. The process of growing coffee beans in an exotic locale, then smell of the beans opening up and being ground down, or aroma of a freshly brewed cup, are enough to stimulate all of the senses in your body. The same goes for wine, or other foods and drinks. We all have to eat, and we do so every day of our lives, so why not use what you already do to enhance your life and awareness.
Whatever it is, find something you like, and learn to appreciate it on the most basic levels. Don’t think of its utility or function, think of the component pieces and parts and how gratifying it is to have today, to experience it.
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