Why Your Ability To Be Present Will Always Affect Your Happiness
For me, living in the moment in today's world is extremely difficult.
I miss the days when I would play alone for hours while my older sisters watched “MTV Spring Break,” fawning over “TRL” VJ Tyrese.
I miss the days when I'd pretend my playset was a ship and the grass was the ocean full of shrieking eels. I'd stage the same near-death experience for hours on end, slowly skidding down the slide, only to have a fellow imaginary shipmate throw me a jump rope so I could climb back up before the eels got to me.
I was completely present. Back then, the only thing that distracted me were naps.
When we got our first Macintosh computer instead of a trampoline (because our mom was afraid we'd break our necks), the mindless distraction began.
Instead of playing outside and creating fictional worlds for myself, I'd design birthday cards for no one on Kid Pix, write nonsensical lists on Stickies or fight over the mouse with my sister to play Power Pete.
As a child of the internet, new technological advancements were quickly affecting my capacity to focus. They were as fun as they were unproductive.
After school, I'd sit for hours on AIM. I wasn't even chatting with friends or flirting with boys. I was just changing my away message back and forth from Avril Lavigne “Complicated” lyrics to Nelly Furtado's “I'm Like A Bird” lyrics.
I'd opt out of hanging with friends because I was more interested in getting my Sims couple to go in the hot tub together and consummate their love. (They were always more into showering and sleeping.)
I spent a lot of time on the computer, not really learning anything.
Even as a tween, I knew I was wasting my brain away. I was addicted to being distracted, and I couldn't stop myself.
Honestly, I feel like I haven't looked up from a screen since 1997, when we got that first Macintosh computer.
And it's only gotten worse. All the technological advancements, apps, tablets and iWatches have completely clouded my brain. It's much easier to let my mind float on autopilot than to unplug from my iPhone and just be content with where I am.
Because of this, I've been trying to make a conscious effort to break myself from these distractions. Instead of waking up and scrolling through my Instagram feed, I'll sit with coffee and simply enjoy the quietness of the morning.
Instead of thinking of what I'm going to say next, I'm trying to just listen to what someone has to say.
It's definitely not easy, but the benefits of being present are life-changing.
To learn more about the advantages of being present, watch the video above. After that, put down whatever device you're reading this on and go enjoy the moment.