Do you find yourself constantly multi-tasking? Do you ever blame your current situation, mood, or frustration on what might happen or could happen? Do you assume that you’ll be happier in the future?
We have all heard that practices like “being present” and “living in the now” can increase our happiness. But how can we do that when we have so much to do, so much to plan for, so much uncertainty? There is no quick-fix to living presently; it is something that requires awareness, reflection, and constant work to develop behaviors and mental processes. However, it can be done.
A mindfulness expert wrote an amazing article detailing how to live more in the present moment. We’ve summarized his awesome tips below.
1. Look to yourself for reinforcement.
It’s easy to look for acknowledgment, help, and support from external sources like your siblings, friends, or significant other. However, whatever support you get is temporary. You will need more of it later, or when another challenge arises, or when you feel unappreciated. Another way of getting external reinforcement is by checking social media, email, and working too much. In order to stop looking to these places for back-up, look inside. Congratulate yourself for achievements, give yourself positive self-talk when you fail, and just spend time alone every now and then getting to know your own needs, wants, and feelings.
2. Limit your stream of information.
While it may be great to have the world’s information at our fingertips using our smartphones, by constantly engaging with our apps, news, and social media, we aren’t engaging with what’s actually in front of us.
3. Make a list of your goals, then throw it in the garbage.
It’s important to have goals and to know where you want to go. However, when you’re constantly thinking in the future, you’re not thinking about the smaller things you’re doing right now to achieve those goals.
4. Be grateful.
There are many ways to take time out of every day to feel grateful. You can make a list, you can give verbal appreciation, you can volunteer, or you can just connect with those you care about. Gratitude has been shown to fight anxiety and stress and can be a powerful way for us to boost compassion and kindness to share in the present.
5. Be mindful.
Being mindful can happen in many ways like meditation, sitting in silence, or taking a walk outside. Focusing on your body and breath, whether it’s during exercise or during a meditation practice, can bring you into the present. Being present keeps you grounded, and can also give you something to compare those overwhelmingly busy parts of your day to.
Living presently isn’t always easy, but it offers great rewards. You can be realistic about what you expect and grateful for what you have. You can enhance relationships by being more connected and engaged with those around you and even with your surroundings or nature. Even while it takes practice, the benefits of practicing these strategies to remain present are worth it.
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