Melissa and I just returned from a trip to Colorado where the landscapes are vast and the mountains are enormous. As I drove around the streets of Colorado Springs, I was amazed at the majestic scenery around me.
“I wonder if you get used to the backdrop-like views if you live around here,” Melissa said.
“I can’t imagine getting used to this,” I said. “It’s so grand that it’s actually distracting. I wonder how many car wrecks out-of-towners have caused by oohing and aahing.”
But then I think about friends we have hosted here in New England and comments they’ve made about the architecture or historic feel that I don’t give a second thought to anymore.
It’s easy to get so used to your surroundings, your routines, and the daily comings and goings that you run on autopilot, almost skating on the surface of your life, rarely picking your head up to notice what’s new.
To plug into life and be aware of your surroundings, you’ve gotta shake things up a bit and see your world with new eyes. Going through the motions prevents you from being present, and when you’re not present, you won’t see the options and opportunities that are all around.
To break up your routine and be more present, try the following:
- Look around the room and identify five things you’ve never noticed before. It might be a crack in the ceiling, a picture on the wall, or a burnt out lightbulb.
- Do your grocery shopping backwards. Start at the opposite end of the store from where you usually begin.
- Be a tourist in your own town. Imagine you have friends coming to visit for the first time. What local landmarks or attractions would you consider taking them to? Have you ever been there before? Or has it been a while? Might be time for a visit.
- Practice combat breathing. Used by the military and first responders, combat breathing is a way to reset your nervous system, but you needn’t be under extreme stress to benefit from it. Simply breathe in for a count of four, hold for four, and exhale for a count of four. Focusing on your breathing is a proven method of grounding and reconnecting with self.
- Consider a different way of doing something you typically do the same each day. Ask yourself, “What is another way I could do this?” This opens your mind to options, of which there are always many, and when you’re conditioned to see options, you’ll rarely feel stuck.
Pay attention to signs of autopilot being engaged and use the techniques above to switch it off, and prepare to be astounded by how much easier and exciting life can be!
Here’s to Living Out Loud!