Having such a close call with a pandemic has changed us and our mindsets in so many ways. It has also made us realise how important it is to take advantage of this beautiful life and live it to the fullest. In these trying times of uncertainty, having a flare-up in your anxiety every time you think about the future is inevitable. Not just that, what we don't realise is that all the time we spend thinking about the future is the time we forget to live in the present or even truly cherish it. Chasing the "it" lives - be it in love, career, or just our own experiences, we oftentimes forget to take a moment and breathe in the present.
If you're familiar with yoga or meditation, you will be familiar with the importance that is placed on just breathing in that moment. It is often said, "Do not dwell in the past or dream of the future; concentrate on today." There are many more instances that place a lot of significance on living truly in the moment you're in. You must have come across those in so many places, and you probably understand the importance of living in the present moment. But it's not easy to do. Here are 3 simple ways to bring yourself into the here and now.
- Practice Mindfulness
Having tons of work to do on a daily basis can test our ability to be mindful. Do you often zone out when doing menial tasks at home? Do you find yourself miles away mentally when you're present in one place at a time?
The solution is to practice mindfulness.
The simplest definition of this is perhaps to be keenly aware of whatever you are doing at the time. It is impossible to be aware of something we are doing or experiencing unless we are right there, in that moment.
Mindfulness is perhaps the portal to living in the present. Practicing mindfulness has been studied for centuries, and there have been studies that support its claims, such as:
- Reduction in anxiety and depression levels
- Decrease in emotional sensitivity
- Reduction in stress
- Improvement in attention span
If you struggle with practising mindfulness, start by asking yourself: I am present here physically, but am I present here mentally?
If the answer is no, then you can follow it up by asking, "What is the present?"
This is perhaps the most effective technique to ensure that you don't find yourself "lost in thought," and find yourself in the moment where you are.
- Avoid multitasking
Being a multitasker is a great skill, no doubt. However, our brains are actually not designed for practising two significant tasks at the same time.
You must be wondering, how can that be true? Of course, we practice the art of binge-watching while eating or scrolling through social media while travelling. However, our attention usually gets split in a manner that is not favourable to either of the tasks.
So, next time, you can always try watching the scenery outside while travelling or focus on the food you are eating. Paying more attention to one task at hand might not make us more productive, which is the ultimate aim of multitasking. However, it will also stop you from being in the midst of two things at the same time, allowing you to live in the present moment with the present task at hand.
Having too many tabs open on your computer is not good for its memory, and nor is it good for yours!
- Take a deep breath
If you practice meditation, you know exactly what this exercise is all about. Nothing brings us back to the present moment at hand by taking a deep breath and focusing on just your breathing.
Yoga and meditation place immense importance on being in the present moment - the reason why it's so important that the guides will tell you to switch off all the thoughts in your mind while practising it. Take a deep breath, and focus on just the movement of the air moving in and out of your body. See if you can focus on an entire breathing cycle without being distracted by a train of thoughts.
This will truly make you cognizant of your own life and how essential it is to keep breathing and to cherish the same. As long as we're here, in the present and breathing, there is truly nothing standing between us and our wills.
In this era of distractions, it isn't easy to bring ourselves back into the present moment. Just think about the time you must have taken to read this article and how many times you might have been distracted while doing so, from checking those messages, dropping those emails, or even scrolling through social media.
The fast pace of our lifestyles does not make it habitable to practice healthy living in the moment. The constant worrying about the future or regret over our pasts may be the reasons we feel so anxious all the time. In such tumultuous times, we often forget to take note of all the beautiful moments that might very well pass us by. You might look back at yourself in 20 years and regret why you didn't live in the present, and so on and so forth. The vicious cycle never ends.
Practising the art of being present in the moment will help you remember them. Instead of constantly worrying about the future or planning for it, be here as you are. Focus your energies on what you have right now. Happiness is a choice, and you have the power to make that one.
Start making it today!