Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.
This saying will always be 100% true.
The fact is, this exact moment is the only thing we humans have control over. We can't change the past and we can't manipulate the future. But we have the gift of right now and, honestly, right now is more than enough. It has the power to bring us peace through our presence of mind.
Think about it. Of the 60,000-80,000 thoughts we each have every day, the overwhelming majority are focused on what's behind or ahead of us. And a lot of those thoughts are negative. Perhaps you're reliving a rough conversation over and over again- judging what you said, devising a clever response to what they said... This kind of repetitive loop can make you miserable. Or maybe you're overthinking something that's about to happen- wondering if you're prepared if you're good enough, what people are going to think... That's a sure way to work yourself into an anxious tizzy. But as soon as we're able to refocus and say "it's alright, it's over, I'm moving on" or "it hasn't happened yet, I don't need to borrow trouble until it arrives," we feel better.
Break out of the thought loops of the past and the clouds of doubt about the future. Keep your mind in the present using the following five simple habits and you will be able to bring much more happiness to your life.
Breathe With Intention
Your breath is the foundation of all mindfulness work. Breathing is all about right now since it is constantly happening. It is also something you always have as a tool in your everyday life, no matter where you are and no matter what is going on.
Bring yourself deeper into the present moment by focusing on the air going in and out of your lungs, like ocean waves going in and out on the beach. Let the internal tide release the thoughts you're stuck on with every breath out. Then bring your thoughts to right now with every breath in. Adopt a positive mantra to go with this image if it helps your mind to tether to specific words.
For more in-depth techniques, check out this article on mediation breathing.
Tune-In To All Five Senses
Staying in the moment is not necessarily about changing anything. It's not about focusing your mind to repress or ignore what's going on. That's a recipe for making things harder in the long run. It's best to face it, to observe it, and simply bring awareness to it. One of the best ways to do this is to zoom in on what is going on in your body right now using all five of your senses:
- Pay attention to what you can feel. Is the ground hard beneath your feet? Do you have on soft or tight clothing? Does the air feel cool?
- Shift your thoughts to any nearby smells: is there more than one? Is it delicious or completely foul?
- Now listen to the sounds that are around you. What is the closest? What is the farthest away? Are there specific tones or rhythms? Is it a familiar sound?
- Next check in with your taste buds. Are there any lingering tastes in your mouth? Sweet or salty?
- Lastly, bring your mind's eye to your actual eyes. Focus your sight on something close up. Then refocus on something far away. Are there repeating colors and shapes? What is in your periphery?
The less you have to fight against, the easier it will be to enjoy exactly where you are right now. Give yourself a huge leg up by getting this incredible guidebook on living stress-free.
Having mindfulness and being present isn't always easy. We all need help from time to time. Go straight to the source and stop the overwhelm before it begins or eradicate it when it shows up by developing new tactics and coping mechanisms. Explore some of the best-kept secrets of world-class experts from the comfort of your home, Life can be stressful no matter your age, occupation, or geographic location. Learning to live stress-free can help anyone be more present (and stay there).
Shakespeare said, "Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so." In other words, you are the boss of your brain. Not the other way around. Very few things are inherently good or bad - it is our reaction to people or our perception of events that determines whether or not they make us happy.
For example, imagine that it's raining hard. That's only a bad thing if you let your mind wander to all the negatives about it. If you adopt a little curiosity, however, you might be able to look around and see that rain can make a rainbow, can make flowers grow, and make your shy niece prance through puddles gleefully. It's all a matter of perspective. So practice looking for the good. Even the smallest amount of gratitude can blossom into an entire forest of strength and joy in no time.
There is so much that we cannot predict and even more that we cannot control. If you are always waiting until your goals are completed to let yourself be happy, then you'll be missing out on a lot of opportunities for pleasure and ease. The journey can be every bit as much fun as the destination.
So do a silly dance to let off some steam, release some tension by googling funny cartoons related to your job, make up a corny "Dad-Joke" to tell your neighbors this weekend. Finding a way to giggle and smile is a sure way to push the reset button and bring yourself to a place where you can accept where you're at right now, no matter where "right now" is.
Remember, all five of these simple habits can be practiced anywhere, anytime. If you're looking for even more inspiration on how to be mindful and present when it is often the most tempting to escape into our phones or our fantasies, this collection of tips on practicing mindfulness at work can help. Whether you are in the office or at home, you deserve to enjoy exactly where you are and exactly what you're doing. You deserve to be present with your world RIGHT NOW.