The idea of living in the present moment, also known as mindfulness, is a foreign concept to many. We all get so wrapped up in multi-tasking, worrying about the future, and ruminating on the past that we don’t get to appreciate what is happening right now, in this moment. Not only are you more productive when you are focusing on the present, but you are also more able to live your life to its fullest. Being mindful allows you to capture life as it evolves in front of you and helps you let go of all the thoughts that consume you. Engaging in mindfulness exercises, such as the ones below, will use the power of the present moment to relieve the stress and worry in your life. These techniques can be used when you are feeling pulled in a thousand directions, have thoughts overwhelming your mind, or when you want to do your best. Focusing on the present reboots your mind so you stop responding automatically and begin responding more thoughtfully. Slowly begin to add some of the mindfulness strategies below into your day and continue to practice them so they become tools more accessible to you.
Focus on Your Breath
An easy way to stay in the present moment is to focus on your breath. You can do this anywhere and at any time. It is as simple as focusing on the biggest part of your breath, your chest rising and falling, or the sensation as you breathe in your nose and out your mouth. When you focus on your breathing your mind is less likely to wander off into the past and future. Breathing not only relaxes your body but brings you back to the present as well.
Savor The Moment
Have you ever walked or taken the train to work and don’t remember the commute there? You most likely spent most of that commute worrying about what you had to do at work that day, the bills you have to pay, or the email you never replied to. Rather than going on auto-pilot and letting your thoughts consume you, try savoring the moment. Savoring every moment by using all your senses forces you into the present immediately. On your next commute to work take yourself off auto-pilot and focus on what you see, smell, taste, hear, and feel.
Redirect Your Thoughts When They Wander
It is normal for your thoughts to begin to wander but it is important that you learn to bring them back to the present. As you notice them wander towards the future, past, or to stressors, reroute them. You have the power to bring your mind back to the present moment by focusing on your breathing and your senses. Acknowledge that your mind is wandering without judging yourself for doing so, its normal!
Whether you are talking to someone or working on something, focus on what is in front of you. Simply pay attention and zone into what is happening in your present rather than getting distracted by worries or thoughts. Doing this is an easy way to combine all three previous mindfulness exercises and make sure your mind is in the present. This will help you socialize and work more efficiently as you will be able to think clearly in your daily life.
If you are currently struggling to cope with life stressors, have racing thoughts, or feel overwhelmed, try some of these mindfulness techniques to remain in the present moment. If you would like some more guidance, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!