Staying in the present is a foundational aspect of mindfulness as it involves focusing on the current moment. It can help us get through difficult moments on our pre-med journeys–whether they involve taking an orgo exam, the MCAT, or the feelings of overwhelm that so often seem to consume us. Not only this, but it can help us enjoy and be more grounded in our daily lives. There are many ways to practice being more present and grounded–including being in nature, improving one’s posture, and decreasing the amount of times we check our emails and notifications. Being in nature has been shown to not only decrease stress levels, but to also help us recover from fatigue and burnout by helping to recharge our attention spans (Ackerman, 2022). Simply going outside for a walk without headphones can have a great positive impact on our mental states. Similarly, correcting our posture while doing things like driving or sitting at our desks studying can help us feel more energized and comfortable. While we may often be hunched over while sitting, good posture allows us to breathe more easily and can decrease feelings of anxiety as well. Finally, the act of checking our emails has been shown to increase stress levels tremendously (Kushlev, 2015). Doing things such as minimizing the amount of times that we open our emails or silencing email alerts may make us feel less stressed and better able to stay in the present. In addition, constantly checking social media notifications is something that may detract from our ability to live in the present. These notifications are exciting since they trigger the release of dopamine in our brains, but they linger in our minds even after we switch back to what we were doing beforehand. It has been found that “easy access to social media on multiple devices leads to multi-tasking, which inhibits our ability to focus completely on one task at a time” (Barnes, 2022). Taking the time to incorporate small habits such as these can greatly increase our ability to stay mindful in every part of our lives.
Ackerman, C. (2022, May 4). How to live in the moment: 35+ tools to be more present. PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved May 15, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/present-moment/
Barnes, K. (2022, April 7). How social media affects attention span. Baptist Health Blog. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from https://share.baptisthealth.com/social-media-and-attention-span/
Written By: Mariam Trichas
Edited by: Dhwani Bharvad