8 Ways to Wake Up & Pay More Attention

“The world is not cyclical, not eternal or immutable, but endlessly transforms itself, and never goes back, and we can assist in that transformation. Live on, survive, for the earth gives forth wonders. It may swallow your heart, but the wonders keep on coming. You stand before them bareheaded, shriven. What is expected of you is attention.”
~ Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

1. Drop Everything and Breathe.

First thing in the morning, either sitting up or lying down in bed—pause, be still and take 10 deep, full inhalations through the nose coupled with 10 relaxed, complete exhalations through the nose or mouth.

You can also do this practice every hour on the hour, or whenever the mood strikes you. Savor the breath like a cup of delicious tea or coffee. Take this special time to do nothing but luxuriate in the inhale going in and the exhale going out. There is absolutely nothing in your very important day that can’t wait 10 breaths to get started.

2. Drop Everything and Read a New Author.

In the land of elementary school, we have something called D.E.A.R. time, which stands for Drop Everything And Read. For 20 minutes, students clear their desks and minds and pick up a book to read silently and independently. There are no notes to be taken, no worksheets to complete, no comprehension questions to answer.

Grown-ups, too, can benefit greatly from this practice. Are you in a reading rut? Break away from your favorite genre. Browse Amazon or Goodreads for intriguing titles. Discover a new author. (I suggest a few personal recent favorites: K. Renae, Edward Mannix, Salman Rushdie, or Cheryl Strayed.)

3. Detach from Your Device(s).

We’re all guilty of it: aimlessly scrolling down a touchscreen while in the company of our friends and beloveds. Try turning off your dumb phone or iWhatever when in the company of real, live humans. Email, Facebook, Twitter and the news will still be there tomorrow.

As Douglas Rushkoff writes in his book, Present Shock, “Whatever is vibrating on the iPhone just isn’t as valuable as the eye contact you are making right now.”

Extra Bonus Challenge: Turn off or at least silence your device as you idly wait for an appointment. Just sit. It’s going to be okay.

Keep reading 5 more ways

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