Our minds are constantly racing. Thoughts buzz through our brains like electricity. One small idea can lead to another that leads to another that leads to another, until our heads are so heavy that they feel like they might explode from all of the ideas and worries dashing around in our skulls. Information is constantly streaming into our senses and this can become overwhelming, especially since it is far too often the wrong information.
Personally, my mind is on constant “to-do list mode”. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to-do lists and would get practically nothing accomplished without them, but sometimes my entire thought process revolves around them. I see something and it automatically reminds me of something that I’m not doing, or should be doing, or should have already done. And this is the kind of information overload that can be extremely stressful.
So let’s turn off the “to-do list mode” in our brains and switch to something a bit more calming and mindful. Mindfulness means that one is able to live in the moment and become more aware of one’s surroundings at that given time. It is taking a second to look at something and to truly see it as it is instead of letting our minds wander to the question, “what’s next?”.
This morning I woke up to watch my first Philadelphia sunrise over the skyline. I came by myself, found a quiet spot, and just sat and watched. My brain automatically wanted to remind of the homework I still had left to do, but I tried to really switch my attention to the scene in front of me. By focusing on the light creeping up along the buildings and the clouds shifting colors from dark blue to pink, I found that homework had worked its way to the back of my mind. For once, I was actually not going over a mental to-do list, but instead really seeing the sunrise as just a sunrise.
Today, try to take a few minutes to simply relax and tell your inner workaholic to shut up for a bit. Sit outside or in a quiet room and really notice your surroundings. Focus on one object like a tree or a leaf and notice all of the details. Be present. Be mindful. And be in the moment.