Like me, you may spend an inordinate amount of time in your head. Thinking, strategizing, planning, contemplating, unraveling complex issues. Oh yeah, and worrying. All of that can be good, as far as it goes. And, it is also fatiguing and means you miss out on a lot.
A recent Harvard study reports that people spend 47% of their time thinking about what isn't going on and that this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.
If you have your head down, reworking your plan so that it is ready for your team when they start the week, you may not notice the magical ring around the moon or the pink and orange that is streaking across the sky as the sun rises.
If you habitually find yourself strategizing about the upcoming board meeting or worrying about the relationship with the colleague who seems bent and determined to put obstacles in your path, you may be missing the chance to hug your child and hear about the scary dream she had last night.
If your calendar is so full of "have to dos", you may miss out on the important "want to dos" that fill your spirit.
Why does it matter, really? If I don't see the moon this month, maybe I'll catch it next month. And if I don't hear about this dream, I'll hear about another one. Or will I?
Being present pulls us back into right now. It gives us a chance to breathe and appreciate what we have right now, this very moment. And those are the things that tend to make us happy. The soft breeze on your cheek, the smell of the acorns on a warm Fall day, the warmth of the hug that you can't resist.
And, being in the "right now" does some other important things that really, really matter:
It slows down time. Life is moving quickly and is over, for many people, long before they are ready. Slowing down time allows us to savor more of what there is to experience - to make our time here on earth richer and fuller and rounder. Your cat's soft nose, the feel of bread dough in your hands, the cold morning floor as you climb out of bed in the morning. Noticing these things slows down time to pull you into the right now.
It deepens emotional connections. Emotional connections are the critical glue that sustains life. Period. Being fully present for another being (whether it be human, horse or other) connects us like nothing else. There are connections to be had everywhere. Don't miss out.
It amplifies what "is". When we focus on the five senses, we create a resting place for our constant mind chatter. When I am tasting my daughter's shakshuka with its' bright tomato and pepper flavors, my brain become quiet and appreciative. Quieting the chatter creates space for curiosity, openness and acceptance. And who doesn't want more of that?
Creating habits that pull us back into the right now is a practice that can increase our happiness. Right now. While there is time.
As always, it is reassuring to remember that choosing to live at least part of my day in the right now determines my actions, and those, aligned with my values, support my optimal health.