attention http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8194/all en-US 8 Little Ways to Become More Present (and Love Your Life More) http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-ways-to-become-more-present-and-love-your-life-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-little-ways-to-become-more-present-and-love-your-life-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/enjoying-nature-179061914-small.jpg" alt="enjoying nature" title="enjoying nature" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you ever pull into the driveway after a long day of work and wonder where the day went? Ever find yourself living for the weekend only to marvel on Sunday night how quickly it passed? Sometimes life demands not only that we multitask, but &quot;hypertask.&quot; And in the process we're skimming above the moments of our lives, exhausted. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/balancing-living-in-the-now-with-planning-for-the-future?ref=seealso">Balancing Living in the Now With Planning for the Future</a>)</p> <p>It's time to take a step back, be present, and be happier. Here are eight ways to get started:</p> <h2>1. Unplug</h2> <p>Did you know that according to a 2014 National Sleep Foundation poll, 72% of kids aged 6-17 <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-2014-sleep-america-poll-finds-children-sleep/page/0,1/">sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom</a>? That's some pretty effective training on how to blur the lines between wake and rest. Who hasn't fallen asleep in front of their smartphone or tablet lately? And even when we're not trying to sleep, electronics compete for our attention. At work, at play &mdash; even while we're driving &mdash; mobile technology beeps, buzzes, and flickers into our consciousness. Live in the moment by learning to go dark when the occasion calls for it. Unplug, unwind, and be present.</p> <h2>2. Sleep Deep</h2> <p>The CDC recently issued a report stating that <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/">lack of sleep is nothing short of a public health epidemic</a>. Once you're thoroughly unplugged, get some shut-eye. Sleep helps us manage stress and avoid negative coping behaviors like overeating or over-medicating. Reserve seven to nine hours for quality sleep each night and <em>defend it vigorously</em>. You'll be more present during your waking hours and better able to bend to the demands of the day without breaking. If your schedule makes seven to nine hours of shut-eye impossible, learn how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours">sleep better in fewer hours</a>.</p> <h2>3. Tap Into All Five Senses</h2> <p>Be more present by experiencing the world using all five senses. Go for a walk and tune into the sights of nature, the sounds all around you, the way the air smells and tastes, and the way the earth feels under your feet. Make mundane moments more interesting by living them through as many senses as possible.</p> <h2>4. Revel in the Small Things</h2> <p>Nothing can get us out of our own heads quite as efficiently as tuning into nature. Take time to watch the clouds change shape, observe the activity of birds, or feel the wind on your cheek. These moments not only reconnect us to the wider world, they help to center us and put our troubles and worries in perspective.</p> <h2>5. Immerse Yourself in a Hobby</h2> <p>Don't let the <em>busy-ness</em> of life steal away your natural curiosity. Cultivate a hobby that you can immerse yourself in. Pursuing a relaxing passion is a form of meditation and restoration. Maybe you've felt it: You get absolutely lost in an activity you love and before you know it, hours have passed. A pleasant exhaustion lulls you into a satisfied sleep because you've been entirely present, focused, and happy. There are few better feelings; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-find-your-passion">find your passion</a> or reclaim a long lost passion today.</p> <h2>6. Move Toward Your Worries, Instead of Away From Them</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~gongsu/desiderata_textonly.html"><em>Desiderata</em></a> is one of my favorite poems. Composed by Max Ehrmann in 1927, it contains some profound yet simple truths about living in the moment. Here's one of the best: &quot;Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.&quot; How true.</p> <p>Many of our worries amass such power simply because we turn away from them &mdash; or turn away from real solutions. Live in the moment by learning <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-worrying">how to stop worrying</a>, or at least stop worrying about what you can't control. Shine a light on all the other &quot;dark imaginings&quot; until you can see there's really little left to fear or until solutions become clear.</p> <h2>7. Find Power in Releasing Control</h2> <p>We live in a culture that idolizes control. We're encouraged to be tireless masters of all areas of our lives; to control our emotions, our career, our kids, and our eating. And while there's certainly nothing wrong with a healthy level of control, there are moments when we're simply not at the wheel. Usually the situations involve family, work, health, or even weather-related dynamics. Find power and peace in understanding what you can reasonably control and what you can't. It can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-stop-being-impatient-and-live-a-more-satisfied-life">stop feeling so impatient</a> and improve your quality of life.</p> <h2>8. Accept the Nature of Things</h2> <p>Much of our stress can be laid squarely at the feet of being unable to accept the true nature of things. We try to change the person we love, we constantly bump heads with &quot;challenging&quot; personalities at work, or we get caught up in family drama. But beyond a certain point, people are guided by their natures and any campaign to change that fact is a fruitless (and stressful!) pursuit. Accepting people as they are and moving on to those areas of our life where can exert real and constructive influence is liberating.</p> <p>Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all live authentically in the moment? If you know someone who achieves this each and every day, share my email address; I'd love to learn his or her secret. As for the rest of us, we can try to keep the competing expectancies at bay and begin to appreciate the quiet subtleties of our lives. So often that's where the beauty and joys are hidden. Unplug and give it a try &mdash; but first, get some good sleep.</p> <p><em>What helps you live in the moment? Was there ever a situation where not being present led to comical or frightening consequences? Please share in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-ways-to-become-more-present-and-love-your-life-more">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task">6 Tools That Stop Computer Distractions and Help You Stay on Task</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/let-things-go">Let things go</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips attention flow focus in the moment present Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Kentin Waits 1167641 at http://www.wisebread.com Let things go http://www.wisebread.com/let-things-go <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/let-things-go" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/edinburgh-monument.jpg" alt="Unfinished monument above Edinburgh" title="Unfinished Monument Above Edinburgh" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="191" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Two of the unhappiest people I ever knew lived in the apartment below mine when I lived for two years in Salt Lake City. They acted as on-site managers--collected rent checks in exchange for a break on their own rent. I didn&#39;t have any real visibility into their financial situation; they seemed to be getting by, but at a pretty low standard of living. Like many unhappy people, though, they had a well-worn story of woe. They told it to me the very first time we met.</p> <p>There&#39;s nothing wrong with a story of woe. We all have one. Most of us have more than one. But their story wasn&#39;t about their current problems. Their story was that some two decades earlier, they had sold a few acres of land in central Florida, land that later became part of Walt Disney World. They figured they&#39;d probably been cheated, or at best were terrible unlucky. </p> <p>That experience seemed to have colored their whole life. Every day was a day that they could have been--would have been, if not for bad people and bad luck--rich.</p> <p>I&#39;ve known other people like that. They viewed everything through the prism of something gone wrong. In some cases, the bad thing was a real trauma--a crippling accident, growing up without a parent, the loss of a lover or sibling or child--but often, as in the case with my neighbors, it seemed to be less than that. All that had really happened to them was that an opportunity for great good fortune had come close, but had missed them. It was like standing next to the guy who bought the winning lottery ticket. But in their eyes, not being super-lucky was somehow the same as having been very unlucky.</p> <p>My experience is that you can&#39;t really be happy until you can let these things go.</p> <p>In many cases the people in question may be clinically depressed and need to get proper medical attention, after which issues like these that seem to cloud their lives will just clear up on their own. If that&#39;s your situation, by all means, get the care you need. Great strides have been made in treating depression in the past twenty years or so, in the form of modern antidepressants and various kinds of therapy.</p> <p>Looking in from the outside, though, it seems that a lot of these cases aren&#39;t that. They&#39;re just people getting stuck on what might have been and finding it hard to accept that things are as they are.</p> <p>When this isn&#39;t a medical issue, I think there&#39;s a spiritual component to getting past such things--what you&#39;re looking for here is grace, and offering forgiveness to those around you is going to help as much as anything. Personally, I find that Buddhist practice is of help here. The way not to live in the past is to practice <strong>mindfulness</strong>--put your attention on where you are now. The first step to forgiving others is to feel <strong>compassion</strong> for them. Rather than feeling bitter over missed opportunities and past ill-use, chose to feel <strong>gratitude</strong> for the opportunities that weren&#39;t missed and the times that people and fate treated you kindly.</p> <p>Those are the tools that I use when I need to let things go.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/let-things-go">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you">When poor folks have better crap than you</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-hair-for-cash">How to Sell Your Hair for Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free">These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Health and Beauty attention compassion gratitude how to mindfulness Tue, 05 Feb 2008 20:54:26 +0000 Philip Brewer 1749 at http://www.wisebread.com When poor folks have better crap than you http://www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guitar-camera-game-ipod-krishna_0.jpg" alt="Some stuff I&#039;ve got" title="Cool Stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="305" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every notice how upset people get, when someone poorer than them has better crap? I&#39;m talking about the guy agonizing over whether to spring for a 32-inch flat screen who finds out that his poorer neighbor has come home with a 42-inch one. It&#39;s bad enough trying to keep up with the Jones; when you have trouble keeping up with the guy living on the wrong side of the tracks, it&#39;s a source of constant aggravation.</p> <p>I think this is a really natural emotion, but it&#39;s also a harmful one. I&#39;ve seen it from more than one side.</p> <p>I wrote a post a while back arguing that the fact that many families now have two people in the workforce was because standards of living had risen; if you were willing to live at a 1950s standard of living, you could still get by with a single income. (I also pointed out that there&#39;s a name for that--it&#39;s called &quot;<a href="/our-high-high-standard-of-living-1">living in poverty</a>.&quot;)</p> <p>A lot of people didn&#39;t like that post. Some people disputed it on factual grounds, doing a back-of-envelope budget for a poor person to show that it was impossible (but without considering the sort of extreme solutions that were common in the 1950s, such as moving in with your wife&#39;s parents; most didn&#39;t even consider carpooling). Other people seemed to think that I was trying to claim that poverty wasn&#39;t poverty (even though I&#39;d used that very word).</p> <p>Other people did like the post, but some of them liked it in the unsavory way that I&#39;m talking about--suggesting that living in poverty isn&#39;t so bad, as long a you&#39;ve got good crap.</p> <p>(On that topic, I saw a great cartoon recently, where a <a href="http://www.salon.com/comics/boll/2007/09/13/boll/">rich guy disputes the poverty of a poor guy</a>, pointing out all the stuff he&#39;s got. In 1800: &quot;You can&#39;t be poor! You&#39;ve got a shirt!&quot; In 1975: &quot;You can&#39;t be poor! You&#39;ve got a TV!&quot; In 1990: &quot;You can&#39;t be poor! You&#39;ve got a VCR!&quot; Let me just say, as I&#39;ve said before, living in poverty is bad, <a href="/voluntary-simplicity-versus-poverty">even if the poor person spends as much as a frugal person</a>.)</p> <p>Still, I&#39;ve felt that ire myself. I&#39;m somewhat prone to be in that situation, because of where I live.</p> <p>My apartment complex has an odd mix of tenants. Rents are at the lower end of the range for the area, so there are a good number of working-class folks along with graduate students, senior citizens, single folks, couples, new families, and so on. The place has quite a cosmopolitan air, actually, due to the number of foreigners who live here. It&#39;s a milieu that I rather like--I get to mix with a lot of different kinds of people. A good number of my neighbors have modest incomes, which is yet another aspect of the diversity that I enjoy.</p> <p>There are also other upsides to this. One is is that it gives me a valuable perspective, as far as the &quot;keeping up with the Joneses&quot; thing goes. If you live or work where the Joneses make as much as (or more than) you, it&#39;s easy for that perspective to work against you. For example, whenever my former employer was hiring in a hot job market, new software engineers would start showing up with expensive new cars for which a signing bonus had provided the down payment. Looking at the parking lot quite easily gave one a skewed notion of what was normal. Living here helped me avoid that.</p> <p>Still, inevitably, some neighbors have better crap than me. Some of them may not be poorer than me. Maybe, as I used to be, they are well-paid professionals who chose to live here because it suits them. Maybe they&#39;re students from affluent families willing to subsidize their lifestyle. Maybe they&#39;re just young singles who can comfortably afford nice crap because they have no debts and no one else to support. </p> <p>In many cases, though, they&#39;re people who are making poor decisions about their spending--and that&#39;s aggravating to watch. It makes me feel bad for them, and it also makes me feel bad for myself, because I don&#39;t have everything I want.</p> <p>Both these feelings are pernicious. One of the reasons I write for Wise Bread is to deal with the first. (Far better for me to advocate for living within your means here, where there&#39;s an interested audience, than to buttonhole my neighbors and criticize their lifestyle choices.) One of the reasons I read Wise Bread is to deal with the second. (It helps to be part of a supportive community of people trying to avoid the harmful effects of our consumer culture.)</p> <p>I think this is one of those situations where a Buddhist attitude provides the best results. When people around you make unwise choices the appropriate emotion to feel is <strong>compassion</strong>, not ire. When you find yourself wishing for better crap the appropriate emotion to feel is <strong>gratitude</strong> for the crap you&#39;ve got, not envy for someone else&#39;s.</p> <p>It&#39;s not always easy to choose how to feel about things. It takes practice, and it takes paying attention to what you&#39;re doing and how you&#39;re feeling. But it&#39;s practice that worth doing. And what you&#39;re doing and how you&#39;re feeling are worth paying attention to.</p> <p>And, if you simply must have more and better crap, check out Myscha&#39;s post: <a href="/stash-your-cash-how-to-have-cool-crap-for-less-money">Stash Your Cash: How to Have Cool Crap for Less Money</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/let-things-go">Let things go</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far">6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money (So Far)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-saying-thanks-more-make-you-rich">Can Saying Thanks More Make You Rich?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle attention compassion gratitude practice zen Tue, 20 Nov 2007 13:26:24 +0000 Philip Brewer 1411 at http://www.wisebread.com