Are you living in the present?
The idea of being mindful—being present and being more conscious of life as it happens in a nonjudgmental, goal-less way—may seem contradictory to those who are used to sacrificing living in pursuit of their goals, but cultivating mindfulness will help you achieve your goals and enjoy life even more. Not only are you more productive when you’re mindful, but you can also reap numerous benefits in all aspects of your life. “Research has shown that people who practice mindfulness have better immune functioning, lower amounts of stress, and improved focus and memory,” says Pooja Lakshmin, MD, a psychiatrist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.
Being present also helps you enjoy life to the fullest. By being mindful, you enjoy your food more, you enjoy friends and family more, you enjoy anything you’re doing more. Anything. You can practice mindfulness while doing something as simple as brushing your teeth or checking the mailbox. “Pay attention to what you notice, whether that’s focusing on the breath going in and out or on the sights and sounds while you’re walking down the street,” says Dr. Lakshmin. “The specific moment of mindfulness is when you notice your mind wandering and you bring your attention back to what you choose to focus on.” Check out these science-backed benefits of meditation.
Do one thing at a time
Single-task, don’t multitask. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks while eating or bathing or whatever else. “Even though multitasking [may make] us feel more productive, studies show that we make more errors when juggling tasks and don’t retain information in working memory,” explains Dr. Lakshmin. “Taking on one task at a time has us go more deeply into the task at hand, allowing us to think creatively and utilize problem-solving skills, which in turn enables us to get more meaning from the task. Though there can be a rush that comes with multitasking, ultimately connecting deeply with one activity leads to greater feelings of fulfillment.”