Have you ever watched TV while simultaneously checking social media on your phone only to discover that you’ve missed a bunch of important dialogue and now you have to rewind it to figure out what’s going on? You weren’t living in the moment. How about going to the gym and working out but not remembering what you did? Your brain was on autopilot. What about running to the grocery store for that one ingredient you need, only to buy everything but said ingredient? You weren’t focused on the task at hand.
If these scenarios hit home, you’re in good company. It seems mindfulness — being aware of what you’re doing, when you’re doing it — is a lost art in today’s fast-paced, multitasking society. So how do we snap ourselves out of this daily trance, especially when we’re already overextended and strapped for time?
“By being present in your body, aware of your breath and focused on what it is you’ve set out to be doing right now,” says Pedram Shojai, OMD, New York Times best-selling author of The Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace (Rodale Books, 2016) and founder of Well.org. “I recommend doing little bouts of five to 10 minutes of mindfulness practice multiple times throughout the day in order to build a micro-habit. Over time, much like a virus scanner on your computer, mindfulness becomes part of your operating system and is with you all the time.”