“Alysia, do you remember that? …Alysia? Hey. Alysia…do you remember that? Who are you texting?”
I look up from my phone only to realize that everyone sitting at my table is staring at me.
“Remember what?” I respond, trying to act like I haven’t been ignoring the conversation for the past 20 minutes.
“When we went to see that movie and that guy screamed like a girl right in the middle!” My friend responds, expectantly.
“Oh, yeah…that was weird.” I say and quickly return to my phone before my friends can realize that I don’t remember that incident at all.
This is a pretty regular occurrence in my life; people asking me if I remember things and me having no clue what they’re talking about.
Why? Because I’m not paying attention to what I’m doing most of the time. I’m either on my phone, or thinking about something completely different, like what I’m going to do the next day…or next hour.
That’s why I decided recently that I need to focus more on savoring things in life. I want to be able to remember everything I do. I want to be in a moment and only thinking about that moment and how great that moment is.
Sidenote: isn’t it weird that we don’t really remember anything from our childhood? Or even, the fact that we forget things, at all? It happened to me, so why can’t I remember it?
I know I’m not running out of room in my brain. There’s plenty of unnecessary crap in there taking up space. Mostly Backstreet Boys lyrics. Okay, that’s not unnecessary crap.
Anyway, let’s focus more on savoring things in life, shall we? How do we do it?
Mindfulness is the concept of just basically being aware of the present. Living in the moment, that type of stuff. Seems pretty basic, right? If you’re being honest, though…how often are you actually being mindful? Even as I write this, I’m thinking about 20 other things.
In fact, I’m not even sure one of those things I was thinking about included “I am writing an article for my blog right now.” Until I wrote that sentence. Now I’m thinking about it.
The cool thing about mindfulness is that there have actually been some studies done to show that being mindful can really improve your life.
According to studies, being mindful can:
- Reduce Stress
- Help protect your brain against mental illness
- Help you lose weight (seriously, though…how many of us actually pay attention to what we’re eating and only what we’re eating when we eat? I don’t think i’ve ONLY eaten in years.)
- Improve your concentration
- Improve sleep
- And more
To reap all of these benefits, we need to actually be mindful. You can do this by simply paying attention to what you’re doing. Focus on your surroundings and pay attention to all of your senses. Stop looking at your phone.
What do you see around you? What does it smell like? What can you hear? What do you feel? If you’re eating, what do you taste? What flavors can you pick out?
Simply stopping for 30 seconds and taking note of your five senses can help you savor the moment. It seems silly but go ahead and give it a try, it’s not like it takes long and no one will even know you’re doing it!
One thing that I’ve been terrible at creating a habit in, is meditating. Taking five minutes in the morning or at night to just clear your mind and focus on the moment has been shown to give you similar benefits to the ones I’ve listed above.
My reaction to that voice inside my head telling me I should be meditating is similar to my reaction to someone telling me I have to dig 500 holes and then fill them in again. I get whiney and question the effectiveness.
Even when I’m sitting there, mediatating, I’m thinking, “There’s no way this is working. Why am I even doing this? I have so many other things I need to be doing right now. There are important things I need to be thinking about right now. Okay, I can’t do this anymore. It’s dumb.”
IT’S FIVE FREAKING MINUTES!
Needless to say, this is one of the biggest things I’m going to be working on in the next couple weeks.
There’s a fine line when it comes to this one.
Modern technology is great at helping you remember things. I mean, remember back when home videos required giant cameras that recorded on VHS tapes? Now if you want to take a video all you have to do is pull out your phone and the quality is a million times better than any VHS tape.
So here’s what you should do. Take pictures. Always. Take videos. Always. But not too much.
Don’t be that guy who sees every experience through the lens and doesn’t actually experience it.
Snap a photo, take a quick video, and then be done. Put your phone away and enjoy what you’re doing.
Don’t spend an entire concert waiting for that PERFECT opportunity to take a photo only to realize that you barely paid attention to the concert the whole time because you were too busy thinking about photo ops (guilty…)
Basically, take a photo, then don’t.
You can greatly improve your life by simply paying attention more and making more of an effort to remember things. What are some ways you savor the things in life? Is this one aspect you need to improve on? Let me know in the comments!