“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” - Buddha
To be present in day-to-day life is a skill that I constantly work on not only with myself, but with my clients. In this modern age of technology, we are continously caught up in social media apps, where an outlet is to charge our phones, running to work, family members that need our care, studying for tests, stressing about yesterday, fearing tomorrow…. are we even truly living? Do we ever simply act without being attached to our phones, staring at the clock to see if time has passed or hoping this week is already over without really getting to live it? Can any of you relate?
I believe most of us, me included, get stuck in the past or in the future. We don’t realize the time we have is 'here and now' [I bring up ‘here and now’ in at least every blog post]. If you take some time to be aware of yourself and what you’re actually doing, you will begin to realize we rarely appreciate the present moment. It takes a lot of effort to stay in the present because our minds tendency to wonder about that comment someone made that still bothers us or the trip we planned is coming up in the next month. When we live like this day after day we don't appreciate all the in-between moments which are just as important.
Nowadays, many individuals have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder [characterized by persistent and excessive worry about numerous thoughts and ideas] with the stresses of everyday life. Anxiety disorders and experiencing anxiety are different and should not be grouped together. When I encounter clients' with anxiety issues I deal with it in a more holistic manner. I believe and teach that the mind is a very powerful thing. Adjusting your state of mind while being anxious, angry, or upset can be extremely helpful as it is difficult. It is harder for some, but here are a few suggestions;
-Breathe. You don’t understand how many people forget about the most important thing we can do which is breathe. Breathing is the center of our being and if we stop breathing, we stop existing. However, when’s the last time you cared to think of your breath with the other hundred things that need your attention, bet it wasn’t today, was it? Try to concentrate on your breath when you start to get too caught up in the past or the anxiety that comes with the future. Start using the foundation of our being. A simple breath takes no brain power, no struggles, and no thought processes….take a moment to concentrate on your breath each day.
-Stop trying to do everything all at once [also known as multitasking]. I mean listen, I love to tell my husband that I multitask way better than him, but there is no such thing as being a great multitasker [oops! sorry Rick, guess neither of us are!]. Humans can only put all their attention into one task at a time. When we can focus 100% on one task, the task can be finished with all the effort put into it. It is when more things are added to the list, more things are done, yes, but each isn’t done 100%, maybe it's only 30% or 40% instead. The idea of multitasking is technically stopping and starting tasks at the same time, not necessarily doing them at the same time with the same attention as if you did only one task. Therefore, start taking one task at a time. Stop rushing through things, regardless if they’re fun or not, find a way to enjoy them and be present. One way to do this is to remove the ‘label’ you’ve given it. For instance, you have a doctor appointment. Stop dreading it and just go through it and take away the meaning behind the label [also known as connotation].
-We all need to get to the present, but how you allow yourself to come to the present is something you’ll have to learn. Personally, I just say ‘be,’ or ‘just be,’ and find my breath when I start getting sidetracked in thoughts and problems. Some people need a breathing technique, some people need to walk….
In the end, we all could work on being more present, but the way you get there is something that you will have to learn on your own. Becoming present is a technique, a meditation if you will. This takes hard work and time to attain. Hence why it’s understandable some people choose to stay in the worry, the regret, and the negativity because becoming more positive and more present takes practice.
You must want to look at yourself and want the best for yourself. This will require you to make time and work to be your best self.
Don’t think I don’t get why we lose track of the present. As we get older, the responsibilities tack on, relationships are building, and some are breaking, we start to have children [taking up 95% of our time], we have bills to pay, we have to pack the fridge with food, we gossip, we regret things we’ve done, we mourn people we’ve lost, we look forward to occasions...I mean is it any wonder why we forget about the present moment? We become bystanders of our lives. Stop letting yourself just view your life as a series of special moments. Make each moment special and ‘be’ in them.
I always like to say, ‘treat yourself kindly.’ If you are trying, that’s all you can ask of yourself.
The world is full of violence, natural disasters, sickness, famine, and even more unfortunate events. Life can be short and growing old is a privilege some aren't lucky enough to experience, so stop wasting time complaining about negligible topics or feeding a negative attitude. Take charge of your life, turn things around, and be more positive.