So much of our lives is spent either looking back on what we’ve done or preparing for the future. Think about it – how much time do you spend a day focusing only on what is happening at that exact moment? Some of us are better about this than others – some people find themselves completely focused on current projects and thoughts of past and future are non-existent. I envy those people.
I have been making a great effort lately not to slow down (I always prefer being busy), but to be aware of what I’m doing at the moment that I’m doing it. Thoughts of what I need to do later can be quite overwhelming and lead to a great deal of stress and anxiety. “I have to remember to do ____.” “Can’t forget to do _____!” all awhile partially (or entirely) tuning out from what I’m currently doing. It’s like when you are reading a book and your mind wanders and you realize 10 minutes later that you have absolutely no idea what you just read. I cannot tell you how many times that happens to me with books, and life. This realization led to my effort to work to change my habits and be present.
Now I realize it is impossible and foolish not to think about the future, not to plan for what is to come. However, I am finding the importance of reminding myself to be present as much as possible. As cheesy as it sounds, I have a sticky note on my computer reminding me, I write it every week in my planner, and even my phone’s wallpaper reads “be present.”
There is so much to be thankful for at (nearly) every moment in life, so take time to realize that and appreciate it. When I am feeling upset, I remind myself that I am upset in that moment. Knowing that I will not be upset forever makes it easier to accept feeling upset presently.
I have by no means mastered being present, but am making a conscience effort that was not there before. I am not stress or anxiety free, but have noticed some major positive differences. (I may go more into this in a later post about meditation, if you guys are interested.) I am really excited to see where this continued practice of being present takes me!
What tools do you use to be present? I would love to hear your suggestions and stories about living in the moment.