It’s strange how sometimes we just look around and think, ‘I’ve been sitting here for the last few hours, without even knowing it’.
Sometimes it’s because we’re watching TV or at the computer, but other times we might just be strolling around the house, and it’s in these situations that we don’t really take in what’s going on around us.
We’re not aware of what’s going on. For example, can you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday? Maybe that was too easy. Okay, what about your lunch 4 days ago? not even a week back and yet the majority of people can’t even remember that far back.
The main reason for this is because most of the time we’re simply not living ‘in the moment’ and we’re not paying attention and we’re not looking at what’s going on around us. It’s so easy to fall into a routine and just let yourself drift by on autopilot.
You know what a bowl of cereal tastes and looks like, so you don’t bother to focus on it, you just stumble out of bed when the alarm goes off pour it and eat, without even thinking twice.
It’s a bad habit and it can be easy to fall into, you just do what you’ve always done every day and don’t think about what you’re doing. The brain gets ‘numb’ to stimuli when you don’t pay attention to them enough, it assumes that because you’ve already done it a thousand times, this time won’t be any different, so it almost turns off your senses and awareness for it.
Think about when you make breakfast, or walk/drive to work.. do you really pay attention to your surroundings, or do you use drift in on autopilot still half asleep? So, maybe now you can see how sometimes you go into autopilot, don’t really take in the world around you.
How to be a little bit more aware each day
Here’s what you can do about it. 4 Easy Ways to be More aware. Starting to become more aware means you need to sort out your information and what’s coming into your brain firstly. This is done by training your senses and focusing on the information you wouldn’t normally.
1. Focus on detailed background information
For example, right now, look somewhere in the distance.
But don’t just look there, really examine the details of the things you’re seeing, If you are looking out of a window, focus on the details of the tree in the background, the wind moving the leaves around, the light reflecting off the car bonnets. Try to get a feel for how the temperature might be out there, hear the birds in the background that you normally ignore, the distant hum of cars on a road, the ticking of the clock behind you maybe?
2. Try and practice being more aware of lots of information at the same time
Try and increase the amount of information you take in at any one time. Normally, about 80% of the time, you’re focused on one or two things, maybe the thing you’re watching, TV or radio if that’s on, and a conversation, or maybe someone in the room with you moving around.
But you can experience so much more than that. Take in their movements through the corner of your eye, how the react to certain things on the TV, can you hear them breathing? With a little practice you can learn to lip read conversations by watching TV on mute.
What other sounds are actually present, the oven in the other room? people moving around next door? You’ll be surprised how much information you ignore.
3. Spend 10 minutes a day meditating
This helps you to gather your thoughts and become ready for the day ahead. You can do this either first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
This helps you because it;
- Gathers your thoughts and focuses you.
- Calms your mind so you can be aware of things more easily.
- Gets you used to controlling your mind and what you focus on.
Do this just for 10 minutes every day and within a week or so you’ll be more aware.
Just sit down or lay down and close your eyes, focus on your breathing. Then on the sounds in the background, practice tuning into specific sounds and then tuning them out so you can’t hear them. Focus on the temperature, which parts of you feel the cold the most? Are you comfortable? are your muscles relaxed? learn to become more aware of these little details.
4. Play the picture awareness game
This is to do with how much information you are aware of at any one time.
Find a random picture on the internet, maybe something like a picture of a street with all of the people on it. Look at it for 10 seconds, then turn it over and write down as many details as you can about that picture. Colors, people, buildings, car types, everything you can remember.
Then, turn the picture over, look for another 10 seconds, and repeat. You’ll find that as you do this more, you take in more information each time.