Last week, while walking quickly on my lunch break, I became distracted by a noise and ran into a lamppost. It was fairly large, didn’t have a whole lot of give to it, and left me for a brief moment stunned, certain I had given myself some sort of brain hematoma. After the dazed sense wore off, I immediately found myself becoming angry at the shopping center for putting a steel lamppost in the middle of the sidewalk. While throwing a silent tantrum, I stopped myself and told myself to observe my thoughts without judgement. My entire emotional state immediately calmed. The irrational thoughts stopped, allowing me to recognize my misdirected anger was actually embarrassment with a headache.
It is really easy to be distracted during our everyday lives, especially if we are tired or stressed. Instead of enjoying the moment, we are frequently on to the next thing. The here and now is merely an afterthought, a by-product of our to-do list. Mindful exercise, whether it is yoga, MovNat, parkour, Feldenkrais, or some other focused form of movement, forces a sense of here and now. Gardening, playing an instrument, and art also tap into this idea of being present and focused. This can have a positive impact on our overall sense of health and well-being, improve our response to stress, and maybe even help us avoid running into things like lampposts.