What were you thinking about just now? I would bet that it didn’t have anything to do with what is going on with you right at this moment. I would also bet that it was probably about what you have to do or get done for the day, planning or figuring out something for the future, or thinking about something that happened in the past, replaying it over and over in your head and thinking about how it could have gone differently. For many of us it is very difficult to stay in the present moment and just experience what is going on in that specific time and place. We are constantly living in the past or future and missing out in the present. But all we have is now, all we have is the present moment, and we need to stay in the here and now more often to fully enjoy life and all of our experiences.
By learning mindfulness techniques and incorporating them into your daily life, you will be able to be more present in the moment, truly enjoy what is happening as it is happening, better engage with the people around you, improve your well-being, and have a more positive outlook on life. You may also notice a decrease in the amount of stress and anxiety you feel. With a few tips and techniques, you can start on your journey to becoming more mindful and living in the present moment.
- Bring Yourself Back to the Present Moment- If you notice that you are thinking about something other than what is going on in that exact moment, just acknowledge it, refocus, and come back to whatever you are currently engaged in. Everyone gets distracted, loses focus, or thinks about something unrelated to the current moment now and again, and that’s okay. The important part is to not get angry with or judge yourself, but just notice when it is happening and bring yourself back to the present.
- Connect with Your Breath- Focusing on your breath going in and out is a great way to be present in the moment. Feel the breath going in, filling your lungs, and expanding your chest. Feel the breath going out, softening and relaxing your body. Keep doing this until you are back in the here and now.
- Listen to the Sounds- Sometimes it can be difficult to stop our minds from thinking about the future or past and trying to focus on what is going on around us. Try closing your eyes and just listening to the sounds that are happening around you. If it helps to calm your mind more, identify each sound in your head and focus on what you are hearing.
- Notice Sensations and Feelings- Sometimes the thoughts we are having about the past or future are a result of a sensation or feeling we are having or even the cause of them. By identifying what you are feeling, either physically or emotionally, you can identify the thoughts and feelings associated with the past or future and bring it back to the current moment. For example, if you notice you are suddenly very anxious and your body is tense, it may be because you were thinking about a future deadline at work, afraid you are not going make it in time, and considering all the negative outcomes you think could happen. If you can identify the physical and emotional sensations related to the thoughts, you can refocus on the task at hand, relax, reframe the situation, and focus on what you are doing to better meet that deadline.
- Mindfulness Walking- How often do you walk somewhere and realize that you were so caught up in your thoughts that you didn’t even notice the people you were passing or what was going on around you? When you are walking, wherever it may be, really focus on what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling at that specific moment. Really engage with your journey and what you are experiencing.
Being mindful and in the present moment can be difficult and it takes a lot of effort and attention, especially in the beginning when it may be a new experience or technique. But with time and practice, you can become more mindful and more engaged in the present moment, which will have a very positive impact on your life and well-being.
If you are interested in learning mindfulness techniques and how to incorporate them into your daily life, please contact Symmetry Counseling to set up an appointment with a therapist who can help.