Lately, I have been struggling to look up and around. I look at my feet A LOT. I think this is partially because I am insecure, but mostly because I find my day is a lot easier when I speak to a minimum amount of people. Unfortunately, easier is not always best. I can’t tell you how many things I have missed out on due to the fact I was looking at my shoes instead of looking up and around. I missed a guy doing a backflip in the middle of the mall. I missed three dogs being walked that I could have pet, but I was looking at my shoes and didn’t notice them until it was too late. Most importantly, I missed out on lots of friendships I could have had, simply because I was not attentive to those around me.
Word of advice: STOP LOOKING AT YOUR SHOES. You never know what you might see when you look up and pay attention.
I have made a point to stop looking at my feet when I am in public. I even wrote on a pair of old shoes to “look up.” I am working on being present, but it takes a lot more work to be in the moment than just not looking at your shoes.
1. Put your phone down.
For crying out loud, put your phone away every once in a while, especially when eating! I was eating dinner with my parents a few weeks ago and noticed a couple on a date next to me. They were on their phones the WHOLE time and hardly spoke to each other. Don’t be that couple. Put down your phone.
2. Pay closer attention to your friends.
I have a note folder on my phone dedicated to my friends. I write down their birthdays, favorites (color, food, candy, etc.), Subway order, and a bunch of random stuff about them, so I don’t forget. It is nice to know someone remembered something you told them. Make an effort to remember, even if that means writing it down somewhere.
3. Schedule times to call someone important to you.
Not text, call. FaceTime or Skype is even better. Hearing someone’s voice is important to stay connected, especially if you live far away from the person you are talking to on the phone. Call your mom or dad; trust me, they will appreciate it.
4. Keep up with the news.
In order to be present, you HAVE to know what is currently going on in the world. Even if you just read the local newspaper, KNOW what is happening around you.
5. Smile more.
Nobody likes a grump. When you stop looking at your shoes and start paying attention to the world around you, you’ll notice there are thousands of reasons to smile. Smiling improves your mood, and can improve the moods of those around you.
6. Take time for yourself.
Watch your favorite movie. Read your favorite book. Take a warm bath. Draw. Spend time in nature. Whatever makes you feel good, do that every once in a while. It is important to take care of yourself so you can better focus on other aspects of your life.
7. Be more intentional about what you eat.
Cook your meals if you’re able to. Don’t mindlessly eat chips on your couch every afternoon. By paying attention to what you put in your body, you will have more control over your health, which will help you have less stress.
8. Let go of the drama in your life.
That girl you have a grudge against, let it go. That boy that did you wrong, forgive him. By holding onto your drama, you create an unhealthy mindset that holds you in the past. The only way to be in the moment is to let go of your past.
9. Use a daily planner.
By creating a schedule for your day, you are setting yourself up for success. Knowing when and where to be will help you manage your time effectively and keep you in the now.
10. Be more active.
Working out helps clear your head and makes you feel better. By living an active lifestyle, you will not only be healthier, but happier, and happiness makes it easier to focus on the present.
Overall, practice being with other people and taking care of yourself. Pay attention to the little things. Focus on your life as it is right now, and although it is good to make plans for the future, don’t make your plans so rigid that when things don’t go the way you wanted them to you can't adjust.
P.S. Look up!