This sounds so simple, but it is certainly not easy. How many times have you been brushing your teeth only to realize that you are brushing really hard and not present with the simple task at hand – you’ve drifted away, lost in thought about the past or future?
To practice, simply choose one activity to focus your attention on daily for at least a week, and experiment with being all there (present). Experience really brushing your teeth, drying your hair, making a meal, or doing the dishes. This act of mindfully being with this one task will start to make it (slightly) easier to be present during other tasks. It takes mindfulness: consciously being with each moment without judging oneself.
One helpful hint: Our minds time travel – they are often in the past or the future, but we seem to rarely experience our minds in the present moment. However, our bodies can’t time travel (that would be really cool, but not possible). So whenever you notice that you’re time traveling and zooming back and forth between the past and future, consciously and deliberately bring attention to your body. Notice your breathing or your heart beat/pulse. Focusing on the body can help you stop time traveling and be more in the moment. Experiment with this for yourself. Enjoy!
Kimberly Atwood is a licensed psychotherapist and certified sex therapist in private practice in Princeton, NJ. She specializes in sexual health, intimacy, and anxiety-related relationship issues. For more information, please check out her website at kimatwood.com