I had an amazing coaching call today where we discussed the power of being here now. It’s amazing how easy it is to not be living fully in the present moment.
Many of us are either living in the past or, more commonly, living in the future. It makes sense that we want to plan and take actions today to ensure we get to where we want to be in the future but we can do this while living firmly in the present moment.
You can usually tell when you’re not living fully in the present moment if you’re either feeling depressed (living in the past) or feeling anxious (living in the future.) Of course for some people brain chemistry and other issues can cause either of these things so be sure to check with a health care professional for additional help (something I’m not) however for most people, starting to live in the present moment can create significant positive changes in their lives.
For my client (expressed here with her permission), she was struggling with feeling like she’s running out of time due to her desire to leave a legacy. After discussing it with her, I pointed out that while it’s normal to want to leave a legacy, it was also robbing her of joy in the present moment. What seemed like an issue to do with her legacy really was an issue about not living in the present moment. I asked her if this was worth sacrificing her ability to feel at peace now and she said no.
It’s sad how many of us sacrifice our present moments with fears of the future. Definitely plan for the future but do it while being fully here now, in the present moment. This often means releasing our death grip (control) on the outcome, on the future, and instead focus on what it is we can do today to get to where we want to be. It’s a delicate balance but one that will greatly reduce stress.
It’s one thing to want to leave a legacy from a place of joy and happiness (which happens when you’re living in the present moment) but it’s another to want to leave one from a place of anxiety and angst (living in the future). Which one do you think will provide the legacy you’d want to leave? The interesting thing is the only way to leave a legacy from a place of joy and happiness is to be fully present in the now moment when doing it.
Another interesting thing happened with my client while discussing her desires to leave a legacy: I felt like she wasn’t living fully inside her body. I felt strange telling her this (who wants to hear they’re not fully in their body) but she totally got it. She said she had always felt like she wasn’t fully in her life but instead observing it. The more we talked about living fully from the present moment, the more we realized that this would also help her to live fully inside herself and from herself.
From a spiritual perspective, the greatest thing we can do is express through ourselves. (I’ll get into this more in future blog posts since it’s very involved.)
All we ever have is the now moment. The more we live in the present moment, the happier and less stressed we are (according to a bunch of psychologists and my own experience). This is why activities such as sports, knitting, crafting and anything extreme (like jumping out of an airplane) are super popular. They all get people into the present moment. Anything that requires focus will help bring you back to now.
Taking in a deep breathe, preferably three or more, is the quickest way to get yourself into the present moment. While taking in these deep breaths, focus on your breathing. Feel the air come all the way in, pause, then feel the air go all the way out. Do this a few times and not only will you be brought right back to the present moment but you’ll also physically calm your body down. This is a great technique to use whenever you’re feeling anxious and/or overwhelmed. It’s like a two for one.
You’ve heard it all before however meditation is a wonderful way to not only bring yourself into the present moment but also to train yourself to be in the present moment. Think of it like exercise but for your mind. Sit quietly for even a few minutes a day (I suggest starting with five) and focus on being in the present moment. That’s it. Some people like to focus on their breathing while others like to have a word or mantra to focus on. Do whatever works for you. Your mind will wander—that’s the nature of the mind—but when it does, bring it back to the present. That is the practice. You’re practicing being here now.
Practicing mindfulness is a wonderful way to be in the present moment as well as to calm the mind (and reduce anxiety). Practice mindfulness whenever you’re doing a mundane task such as washing dishes, showering, going for a walk, etc. Turn a time when you’d otherwise let your mind wander and bring it back into the present moment. Similar to meditation, this is a practice. Your mind will wander and that’s OK. The key is to bring it back into the present moment. The more you practice this, the easier it will be.
Anytime we’re being truly creative, I believe we’re tapping into the truest parts of ourselves. Creatives such as artists, musicians and writers often talk about being in the zone and letting creativity flow when they’re truly in the creative process. It also allows them to be fully present, in the now, as ideas and art tumble out. You don’t need to be a highly creative person to be creative. Some easy ways to do this is through free writing (write anything for a set amount of time, like 15 minutes), journaling and/or doing anything crafty (knitting, sewing, coloring). Don’t worry about the outcome (that’s living in the future) but instead focus on the process. Be in the moment.
Do anything that you consider fun. Chances are it will bring you right into the present moment. Some ideas include chasing your kids around (in a fun playful way), playing a game with someone (or by yourself), playing with your pet, dancing around the house or flying a kite. Get creative. Do something you used to do as a kid that you’d still enjoy today. One fun idea is to brainstorm and/or create a list of all the fun things you’d like to do and post it somewhere visible (like your fridge) as a reminder to have fun. This is another two for one because it’ll bring you into the present moment while making you happy.
This only scratches the surface of ways to get in the present moment. Find ways that work for you and start practicing them. Ideally you’d do at least one a day to start. Once you start living in the present moment, you’ll never want to go back to living in the past or future.
Please share with me ways that you get into the present moment. I’d love to hear.
Sign up for a free no obligation coaching call with me to discuss how I can help you to live more fully in the present moment (and bust through any blocks you may be having in your life). I’d love to hear from you.