We live in a fast-paced and hectic society. Distractions and neverending stimuli are relentless in their pursuit of our attention. Alerts, notifications, pings, dings and snaps from our electronics demand our immediate reaction and we are quick to oblige. Meanwhile, with our pitless to-do lists, it’s no surprise anxiety and high-level stress are on the rise. For many, the bulk of the day is spent being busy, distracted, worrying about the future, and hashing out the past.
This hamster wheel can leave us feeling exhausted and out of balance. However, conscious awareness of the ‘here and now is one of the ways to combat chaos, overwhelm, and gloom.
Manifest Your Future Without Fear
Pondering the past or uneasiness about the future can cause emotional strain that holds you from cultivating a sense of presence and peace. Think of your life history as a rearview mirror: you need to sneak a glance now and again but you have to focus on the road ahead. Mulling over your previous choices leads to regret and depression. While worrying about what may or may not happen in the future only creates anxiety.
Present Moment Awareness
Living too heavily in the past or future disconnects you from yourself, your relationships, and even nature. One way to become aware of the ‘now’ is Meditation. Meditation requires mindfulness, which is the ability to be fully present. Daily meditation practice teaches you to focus on what’s happening within you and around you right now. Practicing meditation can also have benefits such as patience and compassion toward yourself and others.
Balancing the Past, Present & Future
Looking back to see how far you’ve come or thinking about where you’d like to see yourself in the future is never a bad thing. Doing this periodically allows you to learn from your mistakes and prepare for what’s next. Once you’ve shifted your attention from overthinking about yesterday and fretting about tomorrow, you’ll find yourself with less daily stress and worry. Mindfulness allows you to acknowledge the past and future without dwelling there. It also makes it possible for you to maintain your present moment awareness even when not meditating.
Ways to Live in the Here & Now
Creating time for yourself to work on living in the present should be enjoyable. Find ways to practice slowing down and being present that you find fun, relaxing or peaceful. Here are several suggestions that may help you live in the here and now:
- Connecting with nature – go for a walk in the park, put your bare feet on the ground, go to the beach or lake.
- Check-in with yourself daily, via journaling, gratitude, etc
- Bring yourself back to the present with a single word like “now,” or a phrase “I am here.”
- Practice presence in small acts. For example, be mindful of everything you do for the entire time. Practice active listening. Notice your surroundings. Be aware of sensations.
- Focus on one thing at a time
- Forgive others
- Give thanks
With some practice and dedication, remaining present in your own life is possible for everyone.