You may have heard it said one time or another that people should live in the present. In actuality, this is easier said than done. Everyone agrees it’s important to live in the moment, but the problem is how can this be accomplished. In reality, far too many people either ruminate about perceived mistakes from their past or obsessively worrying about the possibility of things going wrong in their future. With a multitude of thoughts bombarding their mind at the same time, it becomes next to impossible for them to be mindful in the here and now.
Whenever you find your mind stuck in your past or in some unknown future, begin by focus on slowly breathing in and breathing out. Focusing on your breathing, even briefly, brings you squarely in the here and now. By focusing on your breathing, it allows you to become aware of how life is unfolding in the present. It results in an openness and intentional attention to the present. Mindfulness will not stop your being bombarded by a cascade of thoughts. The importance lies in not allowing those thoughts to control you but rather become aware of those thoughts unjudgementally. Understand that your thoughts do not define who you as a person.
Relish the moment. It may never happen again. How often do people frantically go through the moments of the day. They whisk through the present and it quickly becomes the past. Instead, be aware of the good things around you and savor the moment. Savoring forces you into the present, so you can’t worry about things that aren’t there. Also, ruminating about the past or worrying about the future can be replaced by the memories of pleasant experiences you had while living in the present.
Paying attention to your breathing makes you more aware as a person. Surprisingly, this helps when relating to those close to you. As in any relationship, there will occasionally be irritants or flareups that come to the surface. During such times, it is easy to get in a defensive mode, losing sight of what’s going on.in the here and now. In order to bring yourself into the present moment focus on your breathing. By placing your awareness on what’s happening right now, you have more control over yourself in that present moment.
This may all sound great but who has the time and energy to fit this in with all the demands of job, home, kids, extended family as well as thoughts about the past and present.. However, making a concerted effort to make time for living in the present would lessen your anxiety and worry and feel more in control of yourself.
Attempting to live an inordinate amount of time in the present can be counterproductive. Therefore, a key factor in living a healthy life is to balance your thoughts of the past, the present, and the future. It is healthy to think about past successes and mistakes and learn from them. This is very different from minimizing past successes or ruminating about or regretting past mistakes.
In the same way, thinking about the future an help in planning for the future and develop goals we can work toward. This would be very different from obsessing about some unknown possible future calamity.
Balancing past present and future will help us to be happy and healthy people. It’s hard to say what the exact right balance between the three is. However, you’ll know you’ve hit it when you worry less, experience less stress on a regular basis, and find yourself more often than not, living your life in the present.
Know that there are a number of workshops, classes, apps, YouTube sources, books, to mention just a few of resources available to you. Merely do some research as to what would work best for you in learning techniques to utilize living more in the present..
Readers are encouraged to share any issues you are grappling with in your life. You can e-mail me your thoughts or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org or write anonymously, if you wish, to Life Source Center, 710 Main Street, Plantsville, CT 06479.