How much time do you spend trying to make other people happy? Most of us spend a lot of time working to fulfill a need or being responsive to the requirements of our various roles. This can be good, healthy, and normal, but it can also be very unhealthy if we do it to the […]
When was the last time you had some free time?
By free time, I don’t mean time to mow the lawn or a chance to finally clean the garage. I mean time that’s completely yours to do whatever you want—to do what you feel like doing in the moment.
Free time is such a foreign concept to most of us—we generally don’t make time for it and don’t even recognize it when we have it. Fitting in free time—unstructured time—can be extremely rewarding and can help us learn about ourselves and how we fit into our world.
You know those people you always have a good time with? People you can always pick up where you left off with, no matter what the circumstances? People you are completely at ease with? Think about how comfortable you feel when you’re with these people.
Do you ever feel this comfortable when you’re by yourself?
There are a lot of elements that go into the very best relationships. There has to be respect, honesty, appreciation, and a welcoming attitude. These elements happen automatically with people who make us happy.
Are these elements present when we’re alone? Do we show ourselves the same respect, honesty, and appreciation? Do we welcome our time alone?
Smell is often the most undervalued sense.
For many of us, unless a scent is extremely strong, extremely pleasant, or extremely unpleasant, we don’t pay much attention to it. Even with our limited sense of smell (compared to many animals), there is a wide range of smells in the world that we can enjoy, that can provide information, and that can become another universe for us to explore.
There are many variants out there of the Five Senses Mindfulness exercise, in which the participant focuses on each of their five senses in turn. It’s a great exercise in mindfulness and a good starting point for being more mindful of our senses, but if we can expand this idea into our regular moment-to-moment mindfulness, it will result in whole new worlds opening up to us.
Pay attention to one thing at a time.
It’s easy to say, but there is so much we have to keep track of. It’s also hard to stay focused—to keep our minds on what we are doing without getting distracted or letting our minds wander.
It’s important to remember that we are only capable of doing one thing at a time. At any single moment, our brains can only think about one thing. We may be under the illusion that we’re able to work on several things at once, but what is really happening is that we’re focusing on one thing for a very short time then moving on to something else. We may even be cycling through several tasks, causing us to think we’re focusing on all of them at the same time, but the bottom line is we can only focus on one at any given moment.