Hey you, focus! Right here, right now.

Written by Yanina B.
Last updated: April 10th, 2018.

Life’s big beautiful moments are sometimes so subtle we are often too disconnected to even notice the magic. I recall the morning of March 8th, I felt a bit rushed to get to the office and begin finishing up some of my projects. I threw on my winter coat, gloves, and began listening to music on my headphones. While walking through my building, I was scrolling through my emails on my phone trying to answer them, removing any distractions from completing my to-do list. Looking down at my phone, I began to open the front door when suddenly I was struck by ice-cold wind. My body tensed up and I forced to look up, away from my phone. I found myself in another world and I was in awe. It took me a few minutes to process where I was. Over 8 inches of snow had fallen last night and the town looked like a winter wonderland.

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Harvard Square, after the winter storm

This is the same setting I walk through every day, but it looked so foreign and magical! At this moment, nothing existed except me, the snow, the trees, and the wind caressing my face. I was fully immersed in this moment and suddenly, felt a sense of inner peace in my body. At that moment, I realized that if one can’t slow down to focus one task or process information at one time, then we can’t truly savor life’s precious moments. On March 8th, it took a storm to open my eyes, to be fully present and reflect on life. I realized that less is more and that perhaps we are contributing to our anxiety, from sensory overload that comes from trying to do too many things or process too much information at the wrong place and time. Plus, I was only saving a few minutes answering emails and definitely not enjoying the music while multitasking.

What if we are missing out on the important messages that life has to share with us, because we are too busy trying to control the outcome of our days?

Luckily, the practice of mindfulness teaches us to be fully immersed in the present moment, without judgement. A sense of calmness should follow from being present because right now, you are focused and fully aware of yourself, your goals and aspirations, or your emotions. Practicing mindfulness through meditation should also improve your workflow and interpersonal skills in your everyday life. However, if being fully present requires the act of focusing and letting go of any judgements, can we accomplish this in today’s world and advancing technology?

Yes, our generation, the Millennials, spend a significant amount of our time on our smartphones and social media outlets. But with so many people feeling the pressure to remain connected more than ever before, I wonder if it’s possible to remain mindfully present while remaining active on social media and using technology to manage our daily activities. In the next few articles, I will tackle this challenge and provide you with a strategy to help create peace and balance in your life.

Have a productive week!

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Harvard University’s Memorial Church, after the winter storm

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold” ~A

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