How do we live in the moment? Very often, modern living leaves us worn out, exhausted from daily tasks and unexpected burdens. We find ourselves living in a mixture of the past or the future, but rarely in the now. When we live like that, we deplete our energy and leave ourselves vulnerable to unhelpful self-talk and overwhelming questions of what if? To stop this pattern of behaviour, we can learn to love more in the moment and learn to enjoy life more.
By employing a little or all of these powerful means of thinking, we change our way of behaving; we free up energy that we didn’t think we had!
(1) Become aware of yourself and your surroundings. Take a minute or a few seconds to look at the things around you. Use the times between television programmes, the adverts or give yourself the space to stop: just for 30 seconds. You might only be at the traffic lights or waiting in a queue, but take stock. Think about your breathing, can you slow it down and relax a little? Are you tense in any part of your body? Can you circle your shoulders or rib your neck to alleviate it? Notice what’s around you, is it light or dark, what do you prefer? Are the colours attractive, what would make them more so? And the sounds, are they resonant or do they grate on you? How could you change these things in your mind?
(2) Your attention (and energy) goes wherever and to whatever you’re focusing on. So let’s focus on something worthwhile! Stop whenever you find yourself focusing on something negative, stop yourself from gossiping, even in your own head. Pay attention to the good things. Savour your meal, even if it’s only a quick lunch, don’t wolf it down, enjoy it. Listen to someone as they speak, really pay attention to their words, give them your time. Give your focus to whatever you’re doing in your now moment. Enjoy the luxury of giving it your all. Real life can be suspended for the now; you can always go back to real life, but for the now, concentrate on something that makes you feel good. Dedicate that time to the now.
(3) If you find yourself running movies of past hurtful, embarrassing or guilt-ridden events, consciously stop them, they’re harming you! The same goes for running disaster movies of future events, particularly the negative ‘what if’ type movies. Our unconscious minds cannot distinguish between real and imagined events. If you run those negative replays over and over, the mind begins to feel rather inadequate: you start to feel inadequate, then worse, you behave like an inadequate person. Be mindful of stopping these movies as soon as they begin. Even hear yourself shout, “STOP!” when you feel them coming on.
If you practise these techniques, a little everyday, what initially required a conscious effort to do, will become second nature. Leaving your mind less cluttered with negativity and less daunted by the past and future. You’ll know how to live in the moment. Remember you started reading this article in the past and you won’t finish until the future and the space in between wasn’t so bad, was it?
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