Learning to Live in the Present Moment
How often do we truly live in the present moment? When we're not thinking about which restaurant to go to with our friends tonight, or what our plans look like for the weekend, or counting down how many hours left we have in the workday?
For many of us, it's not as often as we'd like to think. We're constantly planning and thinking ahead towards what's coming rather than stopping to look around at what already is. And, for us planners, this tendency is even worse! So, how do we curb this? How do we focus our vision back to the present moment? I'm so glad you asked.
First off, learning to live in the present doesn't mean we have to ban all thoughts of the future - it just means we need to spend more time focusing on what we have currently rather than what may happen down the road. And for all the daydreamers out there, this may take a bit more practice! But, there are some easy steps you can take to start living in the present moment right now.
1. Look Around the Space You're in
You heard me! Drop what you're doing and look around. Even if you're in your office, bedroom, or commuting on the train like you do every single day, take a moment and notice what's around you. What objects do you see? Are there people around? New people? What do you hear? Any certain smells? Take a few minutes to tap into your senses - this immediately grounds you in where you are right now. Identify things you maybe didn't notice before, and take some deep breaths to allow yourself to truly feel the moment and the space you are in.
2. Time to Focus
So many of us are guilty of gazing at our computer or phone screens, haphazardly imagining the delicious meal we made last night, or remembering the concert we forgot to buy tickets to last week. Our minds are constantly on-the-go, so fast in fact, that we can't even keep up with most of our train of thought. But, what we can do is limit our distractions. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb, turn off the TV that is creating unnecessary background noise, and focus on what you should be accomplishing right now. This doesn't have to just be at work, either! This goes for social settings, relaxation and self care time, exercising and everything in between - focus on your present moment and kick the clutter to the side.
3. Take Note of Your Thoughts
We all have distractions, and it's completely normal to get sidetracked every now and then. A key component to reeling your thoughts back in is simply noticing that your mind has wandered. When we start to recognize these patterns, it's easier for us to come back down to earth and re-focus on what we were previously doing.
4. Slow TF Down!
Oftentimes, we are in a full-sprint towards our next goal - then the next, then the next. When was the last time you looked around at what you've already accomplished? Make a list of what you accomplished today, this week, this month, and you'll realize you have probably accomplished a lot more than you realize. Not to mention, a little pat on the back never hurts.
5. Don't Get Ahead of Yourself
Try to take things for whatever they are right here, right now. Your job, your relationship status, your friendships - let everything be what it is instead of how your mind is painting them to be. Basically, get real with yourself! Don't jump to conclusions of how things will go tomorrow or next week, focus on the facts of what happened today, and that alone.
Are you in the present moment yet? I hope these tips help you focus on the here and now and I'll catch you in my next post!