“Give yourself permission to be the real you – the toddler in you.” ~ Dr. Howard Murad
Has this ever happened to you? You get into your car to drive somewhere, arrive at your destination, and have no idea how you got there. Your mind was zoning out, thinking about who knows what, rather than being present and aware in the current moment. Or maybe you were talking with a friend but weren’t hearing a word she was saying because you were worrying about something that happened earlier (the past) or stressing about something coming up (the future). When you’re not present, you can miss out on what’s happening right in front of you. Your “monkey mind” is stealing your joy.
Children, especially toddlers, live their lives 100% in the moment. Whether they’re chasing a dog, jumping in puddles or finger painting, they are having the time of their lives right now. Dr. Murad talks about this in his most recent book “Conquering Cultural Stress.” Chapter 1 is titled, “How the Toddler in You Can Save Your Life.” When was the last time the “toddler in you” had an unbridled blast?
Being more present in your day-to-day life makes everything less stressful and more fulfilling. Being present in your everyday life doesn’t even require you to carve out any extra time. Continue your daily routine, but be mindful of your intention behind each and every activity. Here are our 7 simple steps to help you get started.
- STOP WORRYING. You can’t fully appreciate today if you’re worrying about tomorrow. Realize that tomorrow is going to happen whether you worry about it or not.
- WRITE A GRATITUDE LIST. Recognizing how lucky you are to have family, friends, good health, a job, and a roof over your head helps bring you back to the present moment. Sometimes it helps to make a list of all the things you’re grateful for.
- BREATHE. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, stop what you’re doing and take a few deep breaths. Focus on the sensation of your breath entering and exiting your body. Something this simple will calm you down instantly and help you reconnect with the present moment.
- SHOWER LIKE YOU MEAN IT. Most people rush through their showers so they can get out the door as quickly as possible, but it’s actually a perfect opportunity to enjoy a calming, rejuvenating experience. Pay attention to how the hot water feels, completely shut off your mind, and breathe in the steam and the scent of the soap.
- UNPLUG. We are part of a society that is now tethered to our mobile devices 24/7. By stepping away from this habit whenever possible, we can instantly become more present. For example, go for a walk and leave your phone at home, shut your devices off one hour before bedtime, and never bring your cell phone to the dinner table.
- PLAY LIKE A TODDLER. Toddlers are spontaneous and carefree. They don’t calculate the risks before leaping forward into an unfamiliar adventure. As Dr. Murad says, “Toddlers are daring, creative and inquisitive. They don’t doubt or worry. They take things as they come and try something new every day.”
- SPREAD THE LOVE. Do something nice for someone every day. Smile at strangers. Hold the door open for people. Buy someone coffee. Give to the needy. Call a loved one or pay a compliment.
These ideas may sound pretty simple, but try them and see how you feel. What have you got to lose? Dwelling on the past or stressing about the future chips away at your health and happiness. We hope our 7 tips will help you embrace the present moment so you can look, live and feel #BetterEveryDay.