How Present Are You?

Zoe Samuel

Image: Anton Petrus/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Back in the days before railways came along and connected up the world, it was very easy for people to spend their entire lives in a ten-mile radius of the village in which they were born. There were no distractions because there was no electricity. Good quality candles were expensive, and firewood could run out. When the sun went down, you really were stuck where you were: in the dark. Reading, playing an instrument, traveling, listening to music, and so on were all non-options. Thus, being present wasn't really optional. You had to be present wherever you were because there was absolutely no way around it. Even if you had a good imagination since you'd never seen anywhere that wasn't just like the place you came from, you really were up against it if you wanted to build a different sort of place in your mind and drift off.

These days, we have the opposite problem. There are constant distractions. We live in noisy cities full of beeping, roaring, humming machines, and devices. Our phones are rarely silent and hardly ever more than a few feet away. Our workplaces demand our attention constantly. Staying present is a great way to counter the insanity. Do you know how to do it?

Do you make eye contact when you talk to people?

Do you keep a journal?

How many apps are on your phone?

Do you get anxious if you can't check email for a while?

How often do you finish a whole book cover to cover?

How much do you exercise without headphones in?

Do you look after any small children as a matter of course?

Can you tune out loud noise?

Have you ever played a videogame for so long that you were a little disoriented when you stopped?

Have you ever been so into a book that you forgot a meal?

How often are you late to appointments etc?

How many go-to daydreams do you keep in circulation at any one time?

How many tabs are open in your browser right now?

Do you carry a phone charger, just in case?

How much "me time" do you take?

Do you feel guilty if you spend time or money just on yourself?

Do you count your blessings?

How do you like to stay in touch with friends who do not live locally?

Do you meditate?

Can you appreciate your body even if it's not considered perfect according to cultural standards?

Have you ever gone to therapy?

Do you keep hydrated?

How much time per day do you spend in a green space?

Do you spend any time with animals?

Is there anything that you write out by hand?

When was the last time you looked at the stars?

Do you find simple tasks like cleaning the kitchen overwhelming?

Do you ever listen to music without doing something else at the same time?

Do you worry constantly about things you cannot change?

Do you ever take just 30 seconds to focus on your breathing?

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