How to remember to be present
I have a list on my whiteboard in front of the desk in my room, and it seems to love taunting me. My problem? It’s never blank. I’ve begun to lose the enjoyment of wiping off the words Statistics Exam, because I know in the back of my head I’ll be replacing it with laundry dishes and a good sprinkle of “Get your life together...please”. However, my biggest problem with my never-ending list is not the buzzing anxiety it causes in the back of my head, but the lack of mindfulness it causes. I forget about what’s happening in the moment. Am I living my college experience to the fullest of my abilities right at this second? Am I being cognizant and validating of my thoughts, emotions, and ideas in the present? What can I do to make sure I don’t forget about these things during a hectic day?
The first word everyone associates with mindfulness is meditation. But I understand, this is a very daunting word. What are we supposed to really feel while meditating? And how do I know I’m doing it right? I’ve found that meditation comes in all different forms reflecting an even broader term-peace of mind. For me, I sit criss-cross on the floor and open up my Calm app from time to time, allowing the responsibilities and fast-paced days slowly melt away into an open void. For you, it may be closing your eyes in a brightly striped hammock, basking in the sun for a healthy ten minutes and just focusing on your breath. When you begin to feel your arms and legs becoming heavier and your face lighter, you allow yourself a time of peace that not everyone remembers to feel.
Another less daunting and quite easy thing to incorporate in your mindfulness journey is the idea of an outlet. Give yourself one self-indulgent, stimulating activity that provides you a time meant only for and by yourself. Painting, journaling, and working out are all things that might not cross your mind as being mindful, but is the perfect time to indulge yourself in self-reflecting on your present emotions and mental status. In such an all-work-no-play society, we often think that these self-indulgences and outlets are procrastination's or a form of laziness. In actuality, being mindful during moments of personal comfort and relaxation can be key moments that help us enjoy and appreciate our current actions and emotions.
Mindfulness isn’t just another word to add to our never-ending whiteboard lists. Instead, it’s something to incorporate into our daily actions. Feel the wind through your fingers while walking to class instead of scrolling through Instagram, or look up from your calculus notes every now and then to listen to your breath. These small allowances tell your body that you not only care but you’re committed-to being in-the-now, and to accepting all the emotions and thoughts that we often push aside for future responsibilities or past grievances. The most important thing to remember is that we can complete all our to-do lists, career goals, and academic responsibilities while still remembering and celebrating who we are at the present moment of our lives.