Things that I’ve done to be here, now.
I remember when I’d look forward to the songs that I would listen to on my drive to work. A self-proclaimed music connoisseur, this was my favorite part of the morning. Back when cell phones were only used for talking and texting, and maybe the occasional game of solitaire — I’d examine my mood, then select the corresponding tunes that would set the tone for my day.
Once social media stormed into our lives and mobile devices evolved into much more than vehicles for traditional communication, my serene morning car rides were disrupted. As was just about every other place I previously went for peace and the therapeutic activities in which I engaged.
The need for constant virtual connectivity for no other reason than it being available takes us out of the moment. FOMO (fear of missing out) is at an all-time high. Although I still enjoyed playing my music in the mornings, I wasn’t really listening. I was too busy scrolling through Instagram at every stop light, checking emails and notifications, or seeing who said what every chance I got. Because, God forbid I saw a picture of someone’s breakfast more than five minutes after it was posted.
It’s the illusion of importance that allows our digital community to become disruptive. We feel as though we have to reply to comments and messages right away, and be “in the know” regarding what the world is talking about every second of the day. *Spoiler Alert* I am not the President of the United States. There is no message I’ll receive that can’t wait 20 minutes for a response. Yet, I was sucked into this false sense of urgency without even recognizing it.
Until, one day I noticed that one of my favorite songs was ending without me even realizing it had been playing. It dawned on me how little attention I’d been paying to the music, traffic and even things that were happening around me. Then, I remembered something I’d always known — The importance of being present.
There is research to support mindfulness as an attribute that promotes our overall well-being. Among the ways that it does so is by offering a heightened sense of clarity, which can improve our mood, lower stress levels and help us make more sound decisions. Increased awareness is a benefit in and of itself.