Most of us have a pretty standard daily routine: 9 to 5, wake up, brush teeth, drive to work, etc. After a while it doesn’t even require a lot of conscious effort to do all these tasks, they simply become mindless habits. We multitask as much as possible to check off our full list of assignments before the end of the day, we eat our dinner while driving, we wash the dishes while on the phone and we watch TV while exercising.
You might accomplish a lot of tasks this way but you’re most likely not fully present while doing many of them. Our minds are constantly behind or ahead, rarely on the task at hand. So here’s a challenge: tomorrow morning, put your pants on with the opposite leg first. When you’re in the shower, stop running through the huge list of stuff you need to do; instead focus on the hot water flowing along your body, the soothing sound of the water from the spout and the fresh steamy air going into your lungs. Take a few deep breaths.
When you’re eating your fried egg, make a conscious effort to notice how delicious your food is and the comforting aroma of coffee. When your sister calls, stop anything else you’re doing. Avoid trying to read a news article while she’s telling you about the concert she went to last night. Focus all your interest and attention and be the best listener you can be. It might not seem like it, but it might be the most important thing you do in your day: listen with compassion to those close to you.
I read an article about the art of Zen Driving (here’s the full article). It stresses the idea of making your daily commute or any potentially stressful drive into a relaxing time by yourself. Many become anxious and even angry while driving. It can easily happen when someone leaves their house late for an appointment and try to speed as quickly as possible to save precious seconds. Always leave earlier than necessary, put on your favorite music, breathe deep and sync with the speed of traffic. Allow these moments to be stress relieving rather than stress-inducing!
When you focus on one task, i.e. when you really taste that sandwich and notice the beauty of the sunrise that morning- you gain an appreciation for the little miracles found in daily life. Building happiness comes from enjoying and experiencing every little detail.
Pic from here.