One of the best ways to stay in focus is to be in the moment. By paying attention to what’s happening now, we can diminish the cacophony of thoughts running through our minds. We can reduce stress and fatigue. People make a big deal out of multitasking, but all that usually results in is many things being done poorly rather than one thing completed well with full attention.
Take driving, for example. That is one place where our full attention should be focused. We have seen what happens when people are distracted while driving, and the stakes, as we know, can be pretty high. But we are so used to the constant chatter in our minds, thoughts about the past, the future, what we have to do today, that we aren’t even aware of how distracted we really are.
When our minds are full of chatter, communication with others can break down because we can’t hear then over our own incessant noise. No wonder the statistics for failed marriages is so high. We have lost the ability to tune in to each other.
We can practice being in the moment, however. Take time to really look at what is around you, who you are with and what they are saying. Rather than walk along the beach with your cell phone plastered to your ear, stop and gaze at that beautiful sun setting over the curling white froth of the breaking waves. While at your son’s ballgame, turn off the I-pad and call out encouraging words to him. Rest assured, children know the difference between being there and being there with them.
As a former preschool director, I have seen this scenario play out far too often. Near the end of the school year we would have father/child day. A special time for father and child to be together. But so many times I would see a child, ambling alone on a nature walk, her dad trailing behind the group, talking intently to someone, somewhere else. The message sent and received: The someone, somewhere else matters more to me than you.
The handy devices of our digital age are wonderful tools, but sometimes they can interfere with their own purpose. Take for example an experience I had last Christmas while visiting our family., As we were waiting for a table at a busy restaurant, I looked around at the crowd, adults and children alike, families out to dinner, couples on a date, and more than half of them with an electronic device in their hands, minds far away from where they were and who they were with.. Most of the devices were phones, most likely Christmas gifts, but a device designed for communication was clearly interfering with their interaction..
So, try to still your thoughts once in a while, to be aware of your surroundings, to use your senses to the fullest, and yes, to stop and smell the roses. See nature through the eyes of your child on a walk in early spring . By being in the moment, you’ll keep the precious moments from slipping away. .