Play In The Present

Maybe you are sitting at your workstation with eyes glued to the screen, a brain full of possibilities for this email, but so far all you’ve managed to type out is “Hey Bill.” In the course of those seven letters, your brain has run multiple conversations with Bill, but none went quite right. You click backspace seven times and continue to stare at the screen.

Perhaps you are in a planning meeting. You are piecing together a brilliant idea in your head when you realize Susan has been speaking for several minutes but you have no idea what she was saying. Your face flushes. Scrap your idea, now you need to play catchup to see where the rest of the team is at.

We aren’t always in the here and now. Our brains are remarkably adept at time travel and tend to spend a good deal of time mulling over past mistakes or fretting over future possibilities – and that’s ok! Learning from the past and planning for the future are both vital skills as long as we can control when they happen.

We have to learn how to allow ourselves to remain in the present.

There are plenty of ideas on how to achieve this. Mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises are fantastic to reconnect with the here and now.

Equally valuable is the ability to play. To disconnect from “results” and focus on the activity at hand.

Take some cues from improv.

Say yes, and? – Listen and respond to those you work with. Respond to new ideas as they come up. By accepting the contributions of others and building upon them, you can lift up your entire team and discover new solutions you would never have found on your own.

Desanctify your ideas – Allow ideas to be dropped, you can always go back to get them later. We hamstring ourselves by chaining ourselves to a single idea when a better solution is right around the corner.

Embrace uncertainty – It feels good to be in your comfort zone, but don’t get stuck there. Stepping into uncertain territory automatically puts our brain into the present moment as it learns to keep its footing.

Slow down – Breathe and take things step by step. Great improvisers look like they thinking at a mile a minute. In truth, they are slowing down and paying careful attention to each new offer and responding in the moment.

So the next time you find yourself stuck in your head, breathe and take in the world and people around you. Take charge of when you travel to the past or future and decide when you would prefer to remain in the here and now. At (ix)plore Lab we can provide the tools to help with this. With our upcoming summer Interactor Training, we’ll be reconnecting with our ability to play, and learning how to apply it! Get in touch today. 

It all begins with a conversation. We believe that if we are training our clients to be person-centered, it’s imperative that we do the same. That’s why we always put our clients first.

Ready to begin? Get in touch!   

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