We spend so much time worrying about the future and regretting the past that we miss out on all of life's beautiful moments. To be able to enjoy life truly, we must learn how to be present at the moment. We will help you increase your awareness of what is happening around you and start living now with the following steps.
Living in the moment
The past, present, and future are all parts of our time doing things in our lives. Most of the time, a lot of people think more of the past or future time periods. Nowadays, it's even easier for people to worry about the future due to the lingering uncertainty in our world today. The pandemic, lockdowns, and economic difficulties made many people more worried about their future. It also causes many to ruminate more about the past when things are better and happier. All of these are making people more prone to depression and stress, leading to other ailments.
Amidst all of this, we can still enjoy life, and one way to do this is to practice living in the moment. To live in the moment means choosing to live in the present and stop worrying too much about the future and the past. Whatever happened in the past is done, and we don't know what will happen in the future. There are several things we can do to make a living in the present daily routine.
As simple as this advice is, learning how to "breathe" proves to be an effective way to stymie our worrisome minds. Breathing is an involuntary action, but when we say "breathe," it means practicing the art of mindfulness. We all have busy days. It's easy to get carried away in the rush of things and lose awareness of what just happened a few minutes ago or have trouble thinking of what to do next. So it wouldn't hurt to take a few moments to stop now and then and do some meditation. Focus on your breathing and savor the present moment. This lets us pay attention to what is really happening around us. Breathing reorients our minds, allows for better management of our behaviors, and leads to better decision-making and actions involving others. It's like hitting the refresh button in our computers when things are getting laggy and stuck. So throughout the day, always remember to spend time to "breathe."
2. Learn to move on
All of us experience some bad things in the past. We can always mourn for the past, but we can't stay in funeral mode all the time. If somebody hurt you in the past, try to forgive the person no matter how hard it is to do. If you can't forgive, then just let go of the person who hurt you in your mind and move on. It's not easy, but continuing to hold on to past hurts can affect our minds and prevent us from enjoying the present moment. If a past failure or bad decision is what's chaining us down, move on and formulate an action plan to do better so that when the same circumstance happens again, you will do better.
3. Do something fulfilling
We keep on worrying about the future or thinking about the past because we might not be doing something interesting or fulfilling to us in the present. It could be because our job is so repetitive and boring so we hate it. We then spend our workdays having more thoughts about the future, like when is the next payday, how many more hours before the end of the workday, when's break time, etc. If you notice yourself doing this almost every day, it's time to find a new job or career that will give you happiness and fulfillment.
4. Be willing to change
Restricting ourselves to only one standard way of doing things could be one thing that's making us stick to the past. Techniques and strategies that have worked as yesterday's solutions might not be applicable anymore in the present. This could lead to frustration on why things aren't working because we do not see the current methods and systems we have at present and applying them to solve our problems. Instead, some of us still choose the old way of doing things. With technological advancements today, we can try to do something new to solve our problems. Always remember that what works today might not be in the future. Utilize what you have in the present and take advantage of their benefits.
5. Be engaged
In our daily lives, we're bound to do a lot of things repeatedly. It reaches the point where we become so familiar and knowledgeable about these activities that we don't pay attention to them much anymore. The activities have become routine, and they become like a program in our minds that's automatically executed. As a result, there will be times when you can't remember exactly what just happened a few minutes ago. That's because we are not paying attention to what we are doing. We became mindless in doing so.
A good way to combat this autopilot mentality is to practice the habit of noticing new things in whatever you are doing every day. For example, the next time you wake up in the morning, take some moment to savor what you are eating for breakfast. If you are doing exercises outside, take some time to notice things in your neighborhood. If you are commuting to work, look at the window and see what's going on outside. Every day that passes has something different happening, even if we think things are just the same. The key is to be aware of small details happening around us. Practicing this habit will put us more on what's happening in the present moment and be more mindful of the world around us.
6. Stop staring at the time all the time
Look around you, and there's a lot of things that show you the time. Clocks, your watch on your wrist, your cellphone, your PC, or your laptop also displays time and displays that show time in digital format. Nothing's bad with taking note of the time if we are doing it to ensure deadlines are met, and we are prompt with our meetings. However, it becomes a problem if we keep on checking the time because we worry about what will happen in the future, or we could be checking the time because we are bored.
To become more mindful of the present, try focusing on a challenging task enough that you will have to use all your resources, skills, and knowledge. Also, make sure the task is not too hard or too easy, or you could become bored or frustrated. By spending time on a challenging, fulfilling, and interesting task, we lose our sense of time and thus make us fully present in what we are doing.
7. Stop being a worrywart
Worrying too much about the future is like doing the art of giving yourself headaches and stress and thinking about things that might not necessarily happen and aren't even there. Being grateful is a good thing to practice to learn to be content and happy with what we have right now. Dwelling too much on nostalgia and the future can bring expectations that things should be this way and that way in our life. By being grateful, we appreciate what's going on in our lives right now. Use the past or the future only as guideposts on how we can better adjust our current life.
8. Set goals
If you really can't stop thinking about the future, especially in an uncertain and unstable environment, it's better to direct your mental energy towards creating goals. Set some big goals and plans for the future. Afterward, break down these big goals and plans into smaller objectives you can accomplish in smaller time frames like within a year, month, week, and then day. By doing this, you have that big goal set sometime in the future, but you are focusing more on what you can do at present. By slowly meeting the smaller objectives, they all build-up, leading you eventually to the point where you reach your big goal. Dream big for the future and be productive in the present.
9. Say cheese
Any article about self-growth and personal development will not be complete without the advice of having to think positively. There is no better way of doing this than doing the art of smiling. Find at least one good reason to smile every day. In fact, just waking up the next day is already a good reason to smile. Try to immerse yourself in things that bring pleasure to your senses. Look at the nice sky, listen to some good music, eat some good food, feel the rush of water on your hand, or smell some nice flowers. These are simple things that most of us are taking for granted. By having a positive mind, we better control our feelings, and there's less worry about the future or the past.
Live in the moment
Thinking about the past and the future is not a bad thing. The past serves as a lesson to correct our mistakes and be better in the present, while the future is a template of how we want to see ourselves in a distant time. Our thoughts become something else when our mind and body are too preoccupied with past and future thoughts. However, do remember that we spend most of our time in the present. You can choose to think of the past as a continuously chasing predator and the future as an ever-present invader coming towards you. Alternatively, you can choose to think of the past, present, and future as three different paths, with the past and future paths having points of connection in your present path. What's important is to strike a balance in our thinking to live in the present moment wisely. Set your plans, use the past as a teacher, take actions in the present, and go with the flow.