21 Simple Ways to Notice Good Moments
Even During Times of Adversity
During these difficult times in our complex interconnected world, do you pause occasionally simply to notice the moments in your day-to-day life?
Without pausing to embrace the present moment – the one we are experiencing right now – we are not as self-aware, interpersonally-aware, or effective as we can be.
When we walk around without awakening to the moments of our lives, it’s as if we’ve switched off our internal cellular phone. There’s lots of data coming in, but we can’t hear the messages. To get access to the information, we need to pause, notice the phone is off, and activate it. Without pausing to pay attention to our internal awareness, we can be deaf and blind to life’s messages. We don’t notice the heartbeat of what’s most meaningful – we don’t notice our own internal reality or realities of the people with whom we’re interconnected, the organizations in which we work or volunteer, and the world in which we live.
What is noticing? Noticing involves simply focusing our attention. Whether we pause just for a moment or for a few moments, mindfulness empowers us to get out of auto-pilot. We can become aware of our internal experience without being blown away as frequently by the winds of life.
Mindfulness is really about paying attention right here, right now – so simple that all we need to do is pause and notice. Mindful leadership expert, Maria Gonzalez (2012) writes that mindfulness principles can be woven into every aspect of our personal and professional lives, helping us build focus and awareness, effectiveness and decision making.
Anyone can notice. Pausing to notice is a skill we can learn and practice.
Noticing can be cultivated step-by-step, moment-by-moment. It is not an all-or-nothing experience. When we forget to pause and pay attention it’s no big deal – we just remind ourselves to come back to noticing whatever the focus might be.
The ability to pay attention is a human capacity – all of us can do it (Kabat-Zinn, 2012). Noticing is not just for the old or the young, or the leader or the worker, or the believers or the non-believers – noticing the present moment is possible for everyone who is willing to practice.
The evidence is clear. Mindfulness and related practices are learnable and support well-being in the mind, the brain, and the body – benefitting us as individuals and fellow travelers in this world in which we all live (Goleman & Davidson, 2017; Siegel, 2011). Even short daily mindful pauses can help us create positive shifts in our lives.
Some weeks ago, I tried a “noticing the moment” experiment. Each day for a week I paused three times during the day for less than a minute to just notice. I set the calendar on my phone to remind me to pause, take a breath, and just notice where I was and what I was experiencing in that moment. When I was distracted, I simply reminded myself of my intention and tried again. The results from my personal experiment were simple yet remarkable. That few seconds several times daily helped me feel just a bit calmer and gain greater clarity. I found that after a few days I began to pause and notice at other points through the day.
21 Simple Ways to Notice the Moment
Even if you have never tried this kind of awareness before, there are many simple ways to be mindful. Just pause briefly and focus your attention on where you are right now. Here are 21 ideas to help you practice this powerful way to transform your life:
Pause between bites of food and savor the taste
Really pay attention to your experience as you wash your face or brush your teeth
Turn off your personal electronic devices for an hour
Stretch and notice the sensations in your body
Listen carefully with no agenda to the person speaking to you
For just a few breaths, observe that you are breathing – the feeling of the in breath and out breath
Focus your attention on what you’re doing right here, right now
Look around and really notice your surroundings
Offer a blessing or a few words of comfort from your heart
Read an inspiring poem
Sing a song in the shower – just for fun, no judgement
Observe the sunrise or sunset
Notice a bird singing
Stop for a moment and just sit or stand quietly
Appreciate someone in your life
Write a personal note of gratitude
Play with a child or a pet
Notice the sounds in your environment without judgement
Clasp your hands together and notice the sensations
Listen to music
What simple ways to notice the moment can you add to your list? Contact me to share your ideas – I’d love to hear from you!
- Goleman D. & Davidson, R.J. (2017). Altered traits: Science reveals how meditation changes your mind, brain, and body. New York, NY: Avery.
- Gonzales, M. (2012). Mindful leadership: The 9 ways to self-awareness, transforming yourself, and inspiring others. Mississauga, Ontario: Jossey
- Bass.Kabat-Zinn, J. (2012). Mindfulness for beginners: Reclaiming the present moment – and your life. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.
- Siegel, D. (2010). Mindsight: The new science of personal transformation. New York, NY: Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks.
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