Being Present in a Changing World
Being mindful and staying in the present is one of the hardest things for me to do; something I try really hard to work on. My mind is constantly going off in a million directions, brooding over the past and being anxious about the future. Living in the now can be challenging if you have a brain like mine! This is especially true if I can't sleep, as I think of the dumbest things in the wee hours of the morning.
It's strange that for many of us, the present doesn't seem as important as the past or the future. The present is guaranteed, so why give it much thought? It's in the past where we replay mistakes, and in the future where we worry about what might happen. This kind of thinking can lead to more stress, as well as increasing depression and anxiety. Planning for the future is important, but obsessing over it is counterproductive. While it is impossible to be aware of everything in the moment all the time, it is possible to root yourself in the present moment, focus and see things how they really are, not how you believe them to be.
One of the goals of being present and an important part of living a healthy life is balancing your thoughts between the past, present and future. Thinking about any of them too much can have major negative effects on our lives, but keeping all three in balance will help us to be happy and healthy people. When we are present and mindful, we're not ignoring or denying thoughts of the past or future, we're simply choosing not to dwell on them. It’s okay to acknowledge our thoughts on our past and future and to be aware of their significance. The important point is to not allow yourself to get swept up in thinking about the past or future and not living in the now.
So how do we practice being present in an ever changing and busy world? Here are a few tips to start a mindfulness practice and make if part of your everyday life:
* Practice savouring: whether you're having a cup of tea, eating, going for a walk, take the time to be present and notice the flavours, scents and feelings you are experiencing at the moment. Slow down the moment and experience to fully appreciate it.
* Focus on your breath: take a deep breath; notice how it fills your lungs and leaves your body. Imagine that with each breath in, you are bringing in good positive energy and with each exhale, releasing negativity.
* Meditate: take the time to sit, close your eyes and just be. There are many forms of meditation and some will work better for you than others. There are free ones you can follow online, on phone apps, from the library and even on Youtube.
* Yoga: yoga is a great way to be present as part of its focus is on the breath and noticing how you feel at any given moment. You can practice yoga in a studio, gym or at home; there are many free options available online, from beginner to experienced yoga exercises.
Read this article for more tips on how to practice being present and mindful:
As you increase your consciousness, allow whatever thoughts that don't help you to fall away, letting go and releasing thoughts or things that hold you back. Whenever you feel upset about the past or anxious of the future, bring yourself back to the present by focusing on your breath and on your senses: feeling what your hands are touching, noticing the scents around you, listening to the sounds nearby. The more you give yourself permission to live fully in the moment and enjoy it, the better you will feel.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift...that's why they call it the present.”