If depression is sadness about the past, and anxiety is worry about the future, then there is a a huge benefit to being in the present moment. We have been talking about uncertainty a lot recently but the truth is, there is uncertainty in every day, we just feel it much more right now. The practice of Mindfulness can be extremely helpful for finding joy in the present moment and remembering to just put one foot in front of the other. Here are some basic practices that you can do, no matter what you are balancing!
1. Practice Awareness - There are beautiful moments to experience that we often miss - the silly things our kids say, the breeze as the weather shifts, the smells surrounding the parks, the pleasure of doing a task and completing it. When possible, find opportunities to notice, be present, and be grateful in these moments. Bring awareness to your family members and share in the moments together!
2. Do One Thing At A Time - We are all doing a LOT of juggling right now, especially if you have kids at home while working. But if you can, choose even a few things to try just doing. If you are brushing your teeth, just do that. If you are cooking, just do that. If you are playing, just do that - even for a few minutes before you go back to doing everything. You may find great pleasure in the task that otherwise seemed like a chore.
3. Practice Deep Listening - One of the greatest gifts you can give another person is to really listen to them. But often we spend listening time thinking of what we want to say next. As we are in close quarters with some and on the phone with others, deep listening can be a way for us to learn from each other and continue to feel seen and connected.
4. Practice Curiosity - We have been taught over and over again to prove that we are right and we often spend much of our time devoted to reinforcing our point of view. With information changing multiple times a day, we are learning that we don't always know and we are sometimes wrong. But that's always the case. This is a great opportunity to be curious and open to learning. Once we start building this muscle, we may learn that there are other places where we can challenge our understandings or assumptions and learn. When we model this to our children, admitting when we are wrong, we show that we value learning, understanding, and humility.
5. Notice Thoughts and Practice Non-judgment - Many of us have recently experienced spinning out. Being in the present moment can help but the thoughts still come back. Those thoughts are our way of processing all of the new information we are taking in and projecting, and they are valuable up until a point. Learn what you can from those thoughts but notice if they are causing you more harm than necessary. Remember, they are just thoughts. You can do an easy meditation where you picture the thought as a cloud. Watch it come into the clear blue sky of your mind and let it pass through. You don't need to judge those thoughts, or judge yourself for having them. You don't need to judge yourself for failing to be present, multi-tasking, forgetting to listen, or not being curious in every moment. Go easy on yourself and when ready, come back to the present moment with a deep breath. And know that a whole world of people are breathing with you.