I made the decision to eat my lunch without glancing at my phone and to take in the very present moment that I was in. I noticed the taste and texture of my food, rather than it being something that I just did while I was on my phone. I thought about what had gone into the food that I was eating and I felt very grateful that I had a choice to buy that food and fuel my body with nutrition. I noticed the pretty little birds flittering around the vine outside and the amazing cloud formation in the sky. I felt good. I would have missed all of this if I had kept my face in my phone. What are you missing while being seduced by technology? There is a lot of great research around that proves the benefits of remaining in the present moment; being mindful (Brown, K. W. and R. M. Ryan (2003). "The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84(4): 822-848).
The long term benefits can include:
- help relieve stress
- treat heart disease
- lower blood pressure
- reduce chronic pain
- improve sleep
- improved ability to disengage from unhealthy behaviour patterns
- increased happiness and fulfilment
- better behaviour regulation
What I experienced by remaining in the present moment in the café was immediate stress reduction, more energised, and more peaceful and fulfilled. All that from just pausing over lunch!
I encourage you to practice receiving the present moment as a gift and treasuring it. In the words of Thich Naht Hanh, "Life is available only in the present moment". If we spend all our time thinking about what we did in the past (and often with regret or angst) and/or what we have coming up in the future (often with fear or anxiety), we don't ever actually live in the present moment. What is going on around you right now? Stop for a moment and look around you, feel it, take it in....what are you feeling in this very moment? If our minds are tied up in technology that is pulling us away from the 'now', what are we missing?
Here's five quick tips to help you become present and enjoy the benefits:
1. Turn off your phone. Yes, turn it off, the world won't end. Maybe it's only for 30 minutes but don't allow its power to seduce you.
2. Take a stroll outside and look at your neighbourhood with fresh eyes. Notice the clouds, the different birds, the breeze on your face, the muscles working in your legs.
3. Eat slowly and take in the textures and goodness - be thankful for your food.
4. Shower slowly and don't just go through the motions. Stay present and notice the water running down your back - warmer at the top and cooling as it falls, hear the water gurgling down the drain, feel the soap like you've never touched soap before.
5. Talk with your partner or children like they are the centre of your universe in that moment and be curious about what else you might learn about them.
Try not being a slave to this wonderful technology that we now have, and savour the very moment that you're in because you'll never get that moment back again. Enjoy.