Living life in the present sounds pretty crazy, right? We mean how can you live in the present within an environment that moves at the speed of sound. Rushing around like we are living our last days is part of the world we live in and we are embedded in it. It seems like a childish dream to become whisked away somewhere amidst the business of life. If you are being bombarded with the cares of life, and can’t seem to stop spinning, there is help. You can start to reduce unhealthy behaviors and reactions and “build more positive ones to truly see how long-term results have improved our overall quality of life,” Psych Central shared. Let’s be honest, we all can benefit from better decisions. Here are 6 suggestions to help you live in the present.
If you want to build a foundation of living in the present, you need to start with mindfulness. But what is this mindfulness we hear about so much? Mindful.org described it as the act of being “aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” Anyone can practice mindfulness and you can start today. For example, you can practice being mindful breathing even in traffic or when you feel you are going to lose it. Bring awareness to your breath and focus on this. Your thoughts will wonder but bring back the focus on your breath. By bringing awareness to your breath this can reduce the heart rate, calm your nerves and allow you to live in the present. You also do this when you are eating, walking and doing chores.
It is Friday and you’re summoned for another meeting with your colleagues by the boss. You’re already exhausted and can’t seem to fathom having another responsibility to be put on your plate. Instead of rushing around and stressing about getting things done or complaining, you can think about it in another way and tell yourself to focus on acceptance. In general, we are always in a rush with the good and bad. If you have 5 minutes to drink a coffee in the morning, just do that. Enjoy it for what it is, a 5-minute break. In the case of the above, slow down and think of something relaxing.
Enjoy the small things.
Instead of wrestling with your thoughts and focusing on the big picture, harness the smaller moments. Everything in the world marches to a “Think big and bigger” philosophy. What happens in the middle? Between the “Do more” attitude there are blessings that we miss along the way. Pay attention to the warmth of the sun after the rain, the happiness found when a good friend calls you or having a danish with a cup of coffee. Observing nature is so simple but often overlooked and forgotten. Take a look around you: the way the wind turns the leaves, the way the morning dew shimmers or the scent of rain in the summer. When we focus in on these moments, life is not as bad as it may appear.
Author and pastor Joel Osteen said that we will have plenty of opportunities to complain, to become angry or to get upset. “But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness.” When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Your blood pressure rises and blood sugar spikes putting the body in a high alert state. Complaining will keep you stuck in the past and we are all about keeping your mind in the present.
Let go of your control.
You can’t control everything in life and sometimes you have to have an “Oh, well!” attitude about conditions. When you stop trying to control everything, it means you just accept things as they are. A way to stop this pattern is to stop seeing yourself as the victim, author Alex Blackwell shared. “Instead, look forward to who you can be today, master of your own destiny. Many times, the problem with being fixated on yesterday is that you see yourself a certain way, as being a certain way.” Focus on the good, not what is wrong or what could go wrong as you can’t control everything in your life.
When you’re in a bad mood or going through a rough time, the last thing on your mind is wanting to smile and be grateful for the day. Being grateful allows you to live in the moment. Start making a list and count your blessings on what is good in life. Food, shelter, love, friendship and access to clean drinking water are just some things to be thankful for. When we think more of our blessings, we can encounter more joy and satisfaction. If you have to clean the house that you bought, be thankful that you have one to clean. If you didn’t get the promotion, be grateful you have a job.
Living in the present doesn’t have to be mysterious and for only the select few. It means slowing down, learning how to let go and understand that freedom is always within our reach.