Wishing my life away

By Jeanne Reynolds

As I write this, the wind is picking up. Every so often a gust blows through, whipping small tree branches and loudly rustling the leaves. And I know this is just the beginning.

But by the time you’re reading this, the storm will have passed — and I can’t help wishing I was already there in next week. “I can’t wait until Monday when the worst is behind us,” I think.

It’s hardly the first time. Last weekend I travelled halfway across the country to attend the memorial service for a favorite uncle. As much as I looked forward to reuniting with cousins I hadn’t seen in many years, the trip was long, stressful and tiring. “I can’t wait to get home Sunday night,” I thought several times before and during the visit.

Now that I’m back, I continue to look at what’s ahead on the calendar — even some really fun events including a family beach trip and several golf tournaments out of town — and find myself looking forward just a bit to having them behind me so life can get back to “normal.”

In fact, I seem to spend a lot of time wishing for some future time when everything will be better/easier/cleaner/organized/done: when I retire, when I move full time to Beaufort, when I get the house power-washed, when the cooler weather gets here. And on and on.

I don’t think this is the ideal way to live, and I know I’m not alone. Witness the plethora of advice online and in books and magazines for “living mindfully,” “living in the moment,” “minimalism” and “essentialism.” I get it: We aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow, and focusing too much on the future robs us of today’s joy.

If awareness is the first step toward change, I’ve got one foot planted out front. If you, too, find yourself falling into the habit of wishing your life away, here are some ideas from PsychCentral that might work for you.

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7 small ways to live more mindfully every day

  1. Connect to your senses. Being mindful is being more aware of the moment. It’s using our senses to pay attention.
  2. Meditate in the morning. Meditation is a powerful way to practice mindfulness.
  3. Savor the sips of morning. As you take your first sip of coffee, tea or another favorite beverage, use it as an opportunity to savor the moment.
  4. Rethink red lights. Instead of letting make you feel stressed or anxious, use the opportunity to practice deep breathing.
  5. Make handwashing mindful. Take that moment when the water hits your hands to breathe and feel the sensation of the water against your skin.
  6. Break patterns. Take a different route on your daily commute or try something different for lunch.
  7. Count blessings at bedtime. Train your brain to look for things that are positive by identifying three things you’re grateful for.

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