Oh, how easy it is for me to get lost in a day dream… Today I literally spent 2 hours looking up Ford Econoline vans. Why, you may ask? Oh, well I plan on selling everything I own so I can move into the van and travel the country for a year after I graduate… yep, because I obviously know what I am going to want a year from now… and I obviously need to start looking at van prices right now… and design what the inside of my van is going to look like. Maybe, this is an extreme example of day dreaming (or maybe its nothing compared to yours), but either way, I can safely assume we all spend way too much time day dreaming about the future instead of just living in the present moment. Then we reflect on our past year and realize we didn’t accomplish anything we wanted to and we get no where closer to reaching our dreams. It’s a terrible cycle that is so easy to fall into. I am so guilty of this. The thing is, I am mindful of the effects my day dreaming causes not only for myself, but for others around me. My day dreaming tends to be very selfish and can cause certain relationships to suffer because I start to think my day dream should be a reality and I will start to ignore people who don’t like my day dream or who I think just don’t fit in with it. Getting caught up in the day dreaming trap also tends to send me into a state of depression because I start comparing my “day dream life” to my life right now and feel like it isn’t good enough (COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY! yes, even if the comparison is with yourself). Because I am mindful of the effects that my day dreaming ruts cause for me I found a simple exercise to help me get out of it before the depression gets unmanageable and before I cut ties with everyone in my life. If you ever feel like you are in that day dreaming rut, why don’t you try it too?
What you will need:
- A journal
- A pen or pencil
- A comfortable chair or blanket to sit on
- 1. In your journal, write down all of your day dreams. This way they are no longer floating around in your mind. You want to write an entry before meditating just to make sure your mind is clear, but you can add to the journal anytime a day dream comes into your head (the best part is looking back on your journals and seeing all of your ideas). You can also start to pick out certain themes in your journal entries. For example maybe all of your day dreams involve traveling, or down sizing, or maybe it involves saving for a big purchase, or moving somewhere, (the list could go on and on), but once you find that theme you can start to do things that are in alignment with that overarching theme and that will help make all your day dreams come together into you living your dream.
- After you write the day dream journal entry, write a journal entry on everything you are grateful for in your current life. This helps you come back to the present moment and helps you notice all the amazing things in your life right now.
- Close the journal and come to a comfortable seated position. You can do this sitting in a chair or sitting on the ground. If you are sitting in a chair make sure your back in up nice and straight and that your feet are firmly planted on the ground. If you are sitting on the floor make sure that your weight is evenly dispersed between your two sitting bones and that they are nice and grounded.
- Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. The main goal of meditation is to be able to clear your mind (way easier said than done). However, even just being able to clear your mind for a split second or to concentrate solely on your breath for a hot second is heading in the right direction. Our goal is to become mindful of where our mind is wandering so we can bring it back to the present quicker and stop getting lost in our day dreams. If you have a day dream come up during your meditation, allow your self to notice it, but then let it go (sometimes it helps, if I just say to myself “these are great ideas, but not yet.” The “not yet” isn’t as harsh as a “no” and it makes it easier to let go). Practice meditating for just 5 minutes and then everyday just try to sit for a little longer.
- When you finish meditating feel free to journal anything you discovered during your practice. If nothing came to you, no worries, just spending that time in stillness is so beneficial and will start to help you break that day dreaming cycle and help you start living and appreciating the present moment.
Did this help? Let me know in the comments below!