Of all the things that can draw our attention, we pay relatively little attention to the now. Rather, our attention is directed towards the past or the future. As we are taking a shower in the morning, we rarely pay attention to showering itself and the sensations that it entails. Instead, we are focusing on the things that need to be done that day or the things that we did day before
In my last blog, I wrote about how music can become a tool for coping and becoming more present to ourselves, our relationships with others and whatever it is we are doing that is important or essential to our happiness. The song “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley is a great addition to a coping playlist. He demonstrates mindfulness as he talks about waking up and hearing the birds sing a beautiful song on his doorstep. In that moment he says, “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
This song really is about mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, without feeling emotionally sabotaged by the past or anxious about the future. Mindfulness is also about how we bring our attention to every moment. Attention focuses our awareness on a specific experience. This process can be compared to the operation of a flashlight. Attention is like the light from the flashlight that illuminates a specific area, making it visible to the one who is holding the light. Thus, attention allows us to make things “visible”. In other words, by paying attention, we can become aware of things in the present moment.
A useful technique to help bring your mind back to the present moment is to involve all 5 senses. Here’s an example that many have found helpful:
- Look around you and name 5 things you can see
- Notice your body and name 4 things you can feel
- Listen closely and name 3 things you can hear
- Find 2 things you can smell
- Name 1 thing you can taste
Take time for yourself today and remember to be in the moment.